I have tried to write this post for the past three days. I started it two times , thought about what to write a number of times and even changed the title at least three times. Why is this so difficult? How do you write about an Uncle, 95 years old, who passed away? Should be easy but it is not. Uncle Bruno was the only surviving sibling of my mother. He was one of a kind and I want to be sure I catch the essence of a man who I love and was such an integral part of my life.
Uncle Bruno was tall. I have always had to look up to my Uncle. Sometimes climbing on a chair to give him a hug. When I was little, he and my Aunt Lillian ( in the photo above) would invite me to stay at their house in Totowa. Patty, their daughter, and I are almost the same age. Since Uncle Bruno was so tall that translated into having big shoes. I think they were wing-tip shoes and size 13 or 14. They sure were heavy.
Uncle Bruno was handsome with a thick head of wavy hair that was dark brown and slowly turned gray. I remember in high school studying the early Roman empire and thinking to myself as I looked at drawings, images of gold coins and statues that my Uncle Bruno could be a Roman. Well really no surprise here since his family was from Italy.
Uncle Bruno made me feel safe. When we would go to Green Pond I never hesitated going in the deeper part of the water by the dock because I knew he would be able to just reach in and pull me to safety.
Uncle Bruno had a deep voice . I would think to myself that if he wasn't a banker his voice could surely get him a job on the radio or as a TV announcer.
Uncle Bruno was a gentleman and always dressed like one. Suits and ties and khakis and polo shirts.
Uncle Bruno enjoyed playing golf. He and Aunt Lillian spent winters in Florida. He golfed multiple times a week. And won a tournament at his club when he was over 70. He was a great example on how to stay fit and active when you retire.
Uncle Bruno played the ukelele and sang. There is that voice again. Our families would get together and sing. I love to sing too and learned how to play the piano. Maybe those are the Mancuso family genes .
Uncle Bruno made me feel special. I would love how he would call out "Dee, Dee" . When he was talking to me I knew I was the center of his attention. When I was in the hospital he always called or sent flowers.
Uncle Bruno loved Italian food. We took many a trip up the Garden State Parkway for Sunday dinner with Aunt Lillian, Uncle Bruno , Patty and Matthew. I would never know what caciocavallo cheese was if it wasn't for Uncle Bruno.
Uncle Bruno made my kids feel special. He developed this special handshake and taught all the kids in the family how to do it. So when Uncle Bruno entered the room it was never an ordinary handshake but this special pinkie handshake with words only the kids knew.
Uncle Bruno had a great smile. In the photos I have of my mother they are exactly the same smiles. So looking at him was like looking at my mother smile.
I'll miss my Uncle that is for sure and I thank God for giving me such a special man in my life.
Every Day is a Blessing!