Last night the Wife, who is looking for a different nickname by the way, was perusing the blog and commented that it was very book and story heavy. This is true but books and stories are very important to our family so it only makes sense. However, up until now there is one important source of stories that I haven’t touched on. The Uncle Roy stories.
Uncle Roy is Pookie Bear’s (the Wife’s) brother. Their father (Grandad) was in the US Air Force and their mother (Granny) is Scottish so they spent a lot of time moving around Europe and the US when they were growing up. As is often the case in military families the kids are forced by circumstance to be each other’s best friends because they don’t really have a lot of time to establish long-term friendships.
As with so many literary younger brothers (Tristan in James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small for example) Uncle Roy was a precocious handful, and as a result was a wellspring of stories. So much so that Snuggle Bunny and I have talked several times about collecting all of them into a book. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Sugar Honey is a great storyteller keeping alive the time-honored tradition of oral history. It also seems to have a suspicious parallel to all the audiobooks I’ve spent so much time talking about here.
Sharing stories, particularly sitting down together at meals, is a good way to build family bonds. You don’t have to take my word for it; the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has a surprising amount of data on the benefits of spending time together at meals. Although the telling of Uncle Roy stories wasn’t part of some greater parenting master plan, it was just a way to pass the time and is something that Sweetie Pie’s family has always done. More so than my family. Not to say we didn’t have fun but we didn’t actively and frequently share stories about our family history as much as Honey Bunny’s. As far as I remember we spent more time in the moment with current events. Because we weren’t revisiting the stories as frequently they haven’t made as much of an impression on my memory so when the kids ask for stories from my side of the family I have less to share. It could also have to do with the fact that my sister and I were six years apart while Snuggle Buggle and her brother were only two years apart so they were together more consistently.
This brings up another aspect of the Uncle Roy stories. When you retell a tale you often modify details, sometimes to appeal to a certain audience, sometimes because of what exactly you remember but over time these varying details get fixed and the story might not be entirely recognizable to other participants who have their own impression of events. Often Uncle Roy himself doesn’t remember the stories unfolding the way Goobie Bear tells them.
Anyway, so beloved are the Uncle Roy stories with the kids that they can be used as a reward for finishing homework or eating their vegetables, or whatever. We’re frequently assailed with requests to, “tell an Uncle Roy story!” And no matter how many times we tell them, favorite stories are always met with enthusiasm and joy.
So stay tuned, the Uncle Roy stories are on their way.