Uncle Andy

Last Saturday I got a call from my mother. She needed her younger (I’m constantly amazed at how relative age becomes as you get older. For my mom these days younger means 56) brother’s email address in order to send him a happy birthday message. My dad had swapped out her computer in July and managed to delete her address book in the process. Sunday morning I was sitting on the slippery brown leather couch at Mugshots with my computer in my lap, a travel mug full of very hot coffee precariously wedged between my thigh and the arm of the couch, when I remembered her request. I quickly shot off an email to her, with the two email addresses I had for my Uncle Andy in the text of the message.

Only somehow I inadvertently cc-ed him in the email as well. I didn’t realize it until I got an email back from him. It was chatty and friendly, almost picking up as if we had been interrupted in the middle of some previous conversation. After correcting a typo in one of the email addresses I had listed for him, he asked me if I was writing because somehow I had found out that he had discovered my blogging (!) on Friday night. He said that he had been telling a friend our family story of the Divine Tracy Hotel and how it had been sold to Father Divine. He went to google “Father Divine Tracy” and what came up was the blog entry I wrote about that back in August over at the Philly Metroblog. As he read the story over the phone to his friend, he started feeling embarrassed. Was this actually just an urban legend, a story that has entertained scores of children over the years? (Once upon a time, my daddy sold a hotel to Father Divine and was paid in cash…). Who was this person, passing off this story as if it were their own? Then he looked down at the name, and it all made sense.

The email continued to tell me about his birthday, and how basically it had been as shitty as they come. Of course, since he makes his living as a writer, he did so with flair and style. Hopefully, Andy, it can only go up from here. Happy Birthday!

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