Really excited about this piece in 5×5 Literary Magazine – a creative jewel!
It means so much to share this piece about my beautiful mother’s life on Valentine’s Day❤️
Please click image to arrive.
He was a beautiful man.
He was my mom’s brother.
He visited every year. We kids counted down the days for months.
He sang, Puff the Magic Dragon, and made us believe we could fly.
He brought us matching shirts from Mexico.
He was the only person in the world who could convince six children to wear them.
He was intelligent and creative.
He wrote a book about St. Vincent de Paul.
He played monsters with us.
He carried us on his back every year, until our shoulders surpassed his in size.
He visited us one summer then returned to San Francisco.
We didn’t know it was his last visit.
He died from complications associated with AIDS.
He was a beautiful man.
He was our beloved Uncle Robert.
Uncle Robert is modeling the jacket I painted for him. Being the hip uncle, he wanted to strike a cool pose for his photo op.
AIDS has caused more than 36 million deaths.
Today, 35.3 million people are living with HIV.
AIDS was first recognized in the US in 1981.
Uncle Robert died in 1985.
He was 45 years old.
Elementary school parents will understand when I say, Field Day is not fun for anyone taller than four feet. I subbed for Field Day and it was rough and rainy. I was at Minion Frisbee Station #2 and was preparing to reprimand misbehaving kiddies. Music was blaring from a stereo. It was a mix of tunes from hippish hoppish to nostalgic. Puff the Magic Dragon began playing. The profound words and sweet tune hit me right between the foggy glasses. My eyes began misting. Uncle Robert, my mother’s only sibling used to sing about Puff the most magical of dragons. For my brothers, sisters and me, Uncle Robert’s voice was like beautiful caramel.
A dragon lives forever but not so little boys-
We lost my beautiful and talented Uncle Robert to Aids over 40 years ago.
One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar-
After Puff the Magic Dragon, nearly reduced me to tears in front of giddy students, my man Freddie saved me with, “we will, we will rock you, yeah…”
Uncle Robert and Freddie Mercury are probably besties now
Thank you and goodnight. May your dreams be filled with the sweet breath of friendly dragons…
(all of the above illustrations are mixed media – I rendered them in Prisma pencil and acrylic)