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Dec. 11th, 2016

01:03 am - Carl

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Halloweens remind me of Carl who was married to my grandmother's sister, which would make him my great uncle, though, I don't remember anyone ever refering to him other than by his first name, never Uncle Carl or certainly not Great Uncle Carl, just Carl. The mental picture I have of Carl from my childhood is of a good looking guy who looked a lot like the 40's and 50's actor Victor Mature, with an ever present cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth and a beer bottle close at hand.  In this mind's eye picture he has his shirt unbuttoned and his white tee shirt showing.  However, this could be because I almost always saw Carl when I was a child while visiting Florida on summer vacations.
When I was about six on one of those summer trips to Florida, Carl gave to me some Japanese currency, a fifty yen note.  When I asked him what the browish stain on it was he replied, "Dried blood from the dead Jap I took it off of during the war."
Seeing me recoil from it, he laughed and told me it was just rust from his money clip.  After all these years, I still have that money in a drawer somewhere  and I still don't know which version is true.
The one time that I can remember seeing him not during summer vacations he came to visit my family in Georgia right before Halloween.  He had bought me a costume.  I was horrified.  It was Mighty Mouse the cartoon character who fought dastardly cats.  The costume was yellow with red trunks and a short red cape with a Mighty Mouse mask.  I was ten years old and mortified least any of my friends or school mates saw me in a kiddie costume.  I cried to my mother that I wanted to be a monster.  In no uncertain terms, my mother informed me that not wearing  the mouse costume wasn't an option.  After all, Carl had bought it for me and it would be impolite not to wear it. So it was settled.  I would go as Mighty Mouse and that was that, period.  Except it wasn't because there was no way I was going as Mighty Mouse.  I would rather not go trick or treating than suffer the indignity of going as that cartoon mouse.
My mother told me to go and get in the car.  She drove me, probably inwardly fuming, to a store where I picked out and bought a monster mask.  It was a  green vaguely reptilian monster, sort of a generic Creature from the Black Lagoon type. Back at the house, my mother ordered me into the Mighty Mouse costume and mask but once out on the sidewalk in front of the house and out of Carl's sight, off came the Mighty mouse mask to be replaced by the creature mask.  There was no getting out of wearing the actual Mighty Mouse costume though, so that Halloween I was the evil monsterous mutated space alien version of Mighty Mouse, thank you very much, Carl.