Skip to main content

Vance’sAcousticPajamaParty #173 - A FEW STRONG WOMEN SONGS AND STUFF



When: Monday nite 9/4 7:30pm ET


WHO GETS 10%- Casa Myrna delivers solutions to end domestic and dating violence through intervention, awareness, and prevention.

Order the CD or pay for this web groovery via: or or
VanceFunder P.O. Box 17,
Arlington, MA 02476.

Pay what you like, above $10 appreciated

HEY PHILLY - City Winery Birthday Show is 10/8 help me “sellitout"
HEY NORTHAMPTON - Parlor Room Birthday Show is 10/15 let’s sell that out too



I’ll see you at your funeral in a couple days.

I really didn’t know you that well, and to be honest, I don’t know any of my father’s side of the family well at all. I’ve always been the little nephew, most communication about any of them coming through my brother, who’s 10 years older. I’ve always been “the baby", I suppose, even as I look at these Medicare forms on the corner of my desk due in a month. Always once removed and the last to know. But I am thinking of you tonite.

No offense to uncles David and Richard, who seem to be pretty decent men, but of your four brothers that made it to adulthood I wish I’d gotten to meet and talk to Foster, aka Junior, your fraternal twin. I sometimes imagine querying him about the Korean War, where he was killed in 1950 during the meat grinder that was known as the Pusan Offensive. I always wondered whether he’d say he was just faithfully doing his patriotic duty for his troubled country alongside his brethren, or whether he’d shake his head, cutting his 92 year old eyes this way and that, whispering the view of many Black men about being fodder in America's battles.

I knew his oldest brother, my dad, best. He turned out to be a handsome, brilliant, despotic, angry, violent, abusive alcoholic. A man that wasn’t violent to everybody in the house all the time, but often enough to remind you that you were never safe. So when this brother destroyed the kitchen in the middle of the night in a rage about a lost-to-time anything my mother hadn’t been attentive to - turning over the refrigerator, breaking most of the dishes and lights and kitchen table and stools and everything breakable in the fridge smashed on the walls - I got carried shoeless out of the house by a neighbor in the middle of the night to my godmother’s up the street. I recall whoever carried me whispering nothing, remembering only the sound of glass crunching beneath their feet.

After an overnight where no one would answer my questions, I was handed off, with a small bag of my clothes, to you. You were legally blind even then, but you took me in with the promise of a good time. TV, cards, nice eats, and then, the second day, the plastic model car. I’m sure it was the Monogram Forty-Nine Dragster. You got it for me when we walked to the corner store. We brought it home, and you made me a newsprint covered place at your little kitchen table to assemble it. You were impressed that I knew what all the parts did - how a supercharger rammed the air in and made the motor go faster, how the big wheels in the back made for better traction when racing - and for a moment I felt like I knew about everything as you listened intently, as I carefully pulled the parts off of the plastic security.

You didn’t know there’d be no glue in the box.

There you were, mixing flour and water in a little teacup. There I was, using your toothpicks to apply this auntie slurry to a plastic model. I got it all assembled and I was so proud, lifting the model off of the newspaper-covered table. As you marveled at my work, I’ll never forget the wheels starting to sag. The left exhaust manifold dropped onto the carpet. The supercharger lolled to one side, it and it’s scoop flopped over like a tired shoe.

You thought I would cry as this miniature vehicle defenestrated right before our eyes like some sad Wiley E. Coyote contraption. Oh I cried alright, laughing so hard right along with you as this model racer re-kitted itself.

No one ever spoke of the previous day's event, and I knew better than to ask about the new dishes and painted walls. There were no words for the 1965 damage in and to me and my memory. But I know this today - trauma is not always the prime ruler of a recollection. When I come across a box of disparate model parts ready to be assembled, I think of you, your determination, your humor, your subtle caring, and quiet love. Even if for just that 72 hours.

See you Thursday, dear Auntie. And thank you.