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Uncle LR

#52Ancestors – week 12 Loss

Altar Flowers in Memory of LR Crawford

Is there a family event from your childhood that left a mark on your life, but one that happened when you were too young to really remember the impact?

For me, that would be the death of my uncle, Leon Russel Crawford II, or uncle LR. LR was my dad’s brother.

I have very few memories of uncle LR. I remember that his place at my grandparents table was at the end opposite my grandmother. Another memory I have is of his room and his radio equipment. At a young age, my uncle received his ham radio license and had quite the setup in his room off of the kitchen.

Evidently, LR spent a lot of time with myself and my two brothers. My mom commented once that he was a life saver the summer we (as in all three of us) had the measles and then the chicken pox. My dad was away for ‘summer school’ and mom was overwhelmed with three sick kids (ages 7, 5 1/2 and 2) for most of the summer. She told me that LR sat with us on the 4th of July as we watched the fireworks from the living room window.

However, I do remember being awakened from sleep when I was almost 9 to be told that my uncle was very sick. My dad and his parents were leaving that night to go to Wisconsin where he was a graduate student. I remember crying because I wanted to go with them. Later, I vaguely remember my mother telling me that my uncle had died and that dad and my grandparents were on their way home.

I’m not sure whether it was standard procedure at the time, but I and my brothers did not attend his funeral. Instead, we spent the day, along with other kids with parents attending the funeral, in the care of a neighbor. I was allowed to attend the ‘flower’ ceremony where they read off the names of everyone who donated flowers.

My grandmother’s devestation at the death of her son is evident in the picture of her and her siblings on the day of the funeral.

Mary Walters, Myrtle Jones, Earnest Currey, my grandmother Winnie Crawford, and Alma Taylor