My great-uncle Lewis Leo passed away a few hours ago. Poppy's taking it as well as can be expected, and it looks like he'll be over in Wroughton next week-end for the funeral.
Lewis was my grandmother's youngest brother. He was in the RAF in Burma when my grandmother died in an air raid in 1940, when Poppy was just 3. When Lewis got out of the service, he worked at the BBC as a carpenter, only retiring in the mid 1980s. He was a bit wacky. I stayed with him for a fortnight when I was 11 years old, and drove him absolutely mad, cos I'd stay up all night reading (I went through all my cousin Dorothy's books by the end of the first week, and ended up getting a library card in the village and reading a few dozen of their books as well) and never really lifting my head out of a book no matter where we were--even when he'd take me to some ancient abbey or historical site. Also, I may have drank the cream off the top of the milk bottles. I was an evil little girl.
He'd always ring us up from odd corners of the world. Even in his 70s, he was dashing off to India as a tourist, and the like. I can see where my Poppy got a lot of his most infuriating traits, but also where he got his sense of adventure. His daughter, Dorothy, was quite the little punk girl, and came to Chicago to stay with my folks when I was just a kid. I believe she had multicoloured hair, which goes to show where I get my habit from. I never really knew her brothers as well--every time we'd be in London, or she'd be in the States, we'd get together for drinks or dinner. The Leos were all a lot older than I was, and once I got out of my early teens, we just didn't make it over to the UK as often as when I was younger.
The last time I saw Lewis was his 80th birthday party two and a half years ago. He was surrounded by family and grandchildren and it was a good last memory to have, I think. I mean, I'd certainly like my family to have that sort of memory, when I finally go. Though, preferably, great-grandchildren.
And now, I'm off to make a pot of tea.
i still wonder if lewis had any missing Doctor Who episodes in his attic.