Not only do I have fond memories from my grandparent’s house, but the Lewandowski Aunts and Uncles also supplied a million happy memories. My Uncle Gil used to take some of us out with his daughter Sammy for the most epic day trips. We would go bowling, skating, to arcades, fairs, the zoo, and theme parks. It was amazing and I am so grateful that he took such a vested interest in us. I remember one time especially: we wanted to go bowling, but when we got to the alley the wait time was like thirty minutes. I think Uncle Gil had like five of us and his daughter. There was no way he was going to wait thirty minutes. After consulting with us, we left and went to Grandslam (a local arcade). The funny part, for me, was this was the first time I realized Uncle Gil was a prankster. When asked for his name at the bowling alley, my Uncle Gil went “hmmm… let’s go with Steve.” I thought it was hilarious. And then I thought he was such a badass because we left without telling the counter guy we were leaving. He would never know what happened!
My Aunt Vickie also took special interest in us. She would pick us up (I think there was like four of us: Kendrick, Emily, Theresa, and Me) and bring us to her house in Minneapolis. I thought she was so cool because she had this house all to herself and I was so impressed that she lived in the city. We would go sledding and rent movies. I remember one of the first times I met my Uncle Rob was on one of these sleep overs. We had rented “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and Uncle Rob called it “Shitty Shitty Bang Bang” which is how I think of it to this day. I could not tell you what that movie was about but I remember a lot of laughing and teasing and general fun had by all.
My Uncle Rock also provided endless amounts of memories. He is my Godfather and my mom is Danni’s (his daughter) Godmother. Danni and I (and our cousin Sammy) are all the same age. Not only are we the same age, but our birthdays are in April (Sammy), May(Maria) and June(Danni). So Spring meant a lot of time going between houses for the three of us. My Uncle Rock is a huge goofball and always managed to pull a prank on us during birthday parties. His laughter is a staple of my childhood.
While these are the three I highlighted, I have such fond memories of all my Aunts and Uncles. Patric was a fixture in my childhood at every single family event and he still is (yesterday was my nieces baptism and he was there). He is very family oriented and the driving reason we had a reunion last summer. I remember being intimidated by my Uncle Mark when I saw him because he was a military man and mom used to tell stories about his temper. I think I related to my Aunt Julie better; she was funny but always in a self-deprecating way never taking cheap shots at other people. My Uncle Gary was always very cerebral for me and I guess I was intimidated by his brain. I actually remember his wedding at Xavier University which is huge for me since my memory is terrible. Even though he married a Packers Fan, I think Aunt Margaret is fabulous. My Aunt Gail was a whirlwind of fun when she was around– just one of the kids! In a huge contrast, my Uncle John is probably one of the most calming presences I have ever been in. My Uncle Rory and Aunt Marcia were probably the most enigmatic of my aunts and uncles: they spent much of my childhood in Bolivia (I think). In their own ways, they did influence me. My Aunt Marcia sent a Christmas Stocking for each of us that she made herself and, to this day, when I look at the stocking I think about her.
Whether or not we care to admit it, our families shape us and make us who we are. I am so lucky that my family, at its core, loves and cares for all of its members.