My name was Uncle Itch. I believe that it came about from the fact that my nieces and nephews at a very young age preferred to call me that rather than Uncle H. The name stuck with me and even though they have grown up and now call me Uncle Harvey, I still refer to myself as Uncle Itch to them. As they grew up from infancy to teenage, I was in my 20’s and early 30’s. As far as they were concerned I hadn’t grown up. Whenever I visited them, I was silly. I used strange voices, which I still use in my storytelling, tripped, accidentally on purpose, on numerous objects to make them laugh. I always made up silly stories and sang songs with my guitar. They enjoyed having me around. I was just another kid in the family.
Then I grew up. I met my wife. I had a son. Now I had a lot more responsibilities than I had before. I wasn’t the lone person with no one to look after that I was when I was single. For me, I didn’t notice the change. I still felt like the fun, goofy kind of person that I was. It certainly didn’t change the way I acted in my teaching life, personality-wise. However, when I went and visited my sister’s family, they could see a difference. I still interacted with everyone, but I wasn’t as crazy. As I said, I became Uncle Harvey.
This is not to say that I’m sad about growing up or at least being perceived as growing up, but it is different. My nieces now are married and have kids of their own. And like me, they have changed a bit too. However their kids can see in me pieces of the person I was, a little more sedate, but still one full of stories and games. Since their kids refer to me the way their parents do, I haven’t had any success in getting them to call me Grunkle Itch.
Inside of me, I still am Uncle Itch. No one said that being in your 60’s means that you must be grown up. In fact, my rule is be who you want to be. If that means having fun and being a little crazy, then so be it.