Wednesday, August 31, 2011


"Dennis" in pastels

Dennis always a child, loved little kids, until they maybe teased him too much; including us-his siblings. After Dad died, there was 10 of us kids, 3 of which were in the Navy; regardless, Mom had her hands full. Dennis, we were told, was mentally retarded resulting from brain damage from a high fever in infancy. 
Looking through Mom's magazines, he would find a photo of a child and smile and happily stroke the face for hours, so much, the paper would begin to fray.  
Many people could not always understand his stammering jabbering, but we of his family knew what he was saying. One of his favorite sayings was: "I'm w-working t-too hard! I'm t-too-too busy all the time!"
It amazed me when he learned to print his name and that he always knew what day it was.   And when I held up a crucifix asking who was on it, he simply answered, "God". No question about the deity of Christ here. 
Denny had an awkward gate, quite often walking on his toes.  Outside he was compulsed to pick up or kick away any stones, twigs, trash in his path. 
Every Saturday was clean the house-time. Denny would sweep out his bedroom, leaving the dirt in the hallway next to the wastebasket.  
Once I happen to go in there looking for something; when I looked under the bed I was astonished.  Way back beneath the bed against the wall was maybe ten or so round boxes from oatmeal & such filled with various things. Each one had a different variety of objects he scavenged from the street edge or the waterfront (we lived on Lake St Clair; debris occasionally washed up onshore).  It was his private collection of stuff he had saved & neatly sorted according to shape, material & size, etc.  I discovered my brother had a sense of order, neatness & cleanness.
When Mom died, Dennis went to live in a small group home in Genoa OH.  After a number of years he died from complications due to congestive heart failure. 


  1. Uncle Denny! Always so much fun when we were little and sweet. I love your painting.

  2. This is a beautiful capture of Uncle Dennis, it brought a tear to my eye. I remember him in constant motion, I also thought he enjoyed puzzles. It is a wonderful remembrance to him.