Eccentricity

Maurice Webster was my father’s mother’s brother. An achitect who played chess at the open-air chess boards in Chicago. He rolled his own cigarettes from a pouch of Bull Durham, a process that fascinated small children. Once, when he was visiting Beloit to look after a building project on the college campus, I saw him drive by in his Henry-J sedan. I hopped on my bike and pedaled madly after him, arriving out-of-breath at the garage where he was going to have it looked at. “Hello, Uncle Morris,” I said. He said nothing to me and walked past me to talk with the mechanic.

Later in the day he made a special trip to the house to tell my parents that he was sorry that he had not recognized me.

At the family Christmas party, we knew it was time for the party to break up when Uncle Morris laid down on the floor, took up a lighted candle and held it with crossed hands on his chest and closed his eyes.

If ever there was an example that allowed each of us to be exactly what he wanted to be, Uncle Morris was it. This video clip shows his contribution to his sister’s 75th birthday celebration.

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