Every so often, a memory comes out of the blue and illuminates a bit of the past that I had thought gone forever.
I have certain memories from my infancy. I remember my first birthday, and the toy blue rubber motorcycle cop that my Aunt Josie gave me. I have some indistinct memories of standing in the crib in my parents' room, and of being around visiting relatives. I don't remember my first Christmas, because I was only two months old, but I remember my second, because the tree fell down and nearly conked me.
One of the distinct memories I had was of a young, good-looking guy in rimless glasses, sitting at our house and talking. I figured this was my Uncle Al, who moved to Alaska before I was born, but who visited when I was very young. And then, in my teen years, I met my Uncle Al, and realized that he wasn't the man in rimless glasses at all.
But now, as I look through the photo albums my mom left behind, I find the memory looking back at me. That's my mother on the left, and her sister Mardy on the right. Who is the guy in the middle, and why did I have such a vivid memory of him?
A little checking with one of the relatives tells me that this is Bill Marholic, Mardy's husband. He and Mardy lived with my parents in their little two-bedroom house, and continued to do so after I was born, but he developed an incurable disease. My overprotective father asked them to move out, because he didn't want me exposed to a dying man at a tender age. (And, in his defense, it was a very small house for five people.)
My Uncle Bill died, and Mardy eventually married Bill Mattson, who I knew as Monty, because he was from Montana.
But it left me with a very strong memory of someone I couldn't place. And here he is.
Maybe my father was right to ask the Marholics to move out. Because my memory really is better than I think it is.