a man so kind…
like that of what my late wonderfully dear-hearted uncle chuck bloxsom was is far too often a rarity in this day and age – yet so exceptionally kind is indeed just the way he was with everyone anywhere he ever went all of the time – when it came right down to it he was truly a golden soul who really never had it in him to be anying other than very nice – he was a child of the fifties who then so suddenly lost his father right at the start of the sixties as did his brother, my beloved uncle jerry, and their sister, my most lovingly kindhearted mother charlotte – for them all it must have been simply so tragic in such an upsetting fashion that i imagine none of them could initially see how life would ever be good again – you see their father was a very sweet soul himself and when he left this life at only 48 from a sudden heart attack their mother, my nana, was already also facing her oldest, my mother, leaving the house very soon to be married to my father – so there she was facing so much loss with the two young boys just about to become teenagers and i could only wonder at the frightening thoughts nana must have had as to what would become of both chucky and jerry – yet by the grace of God my father at the ripe old age of 21 further came in to their lives in a way that of course hadn’t been planned beforehand yet in he came nonetheless – and for them dad did everything as best as he could to be an older guiding brother and a father-figure as well – and he did this all the while as he was just beginning his life with his lovely wife and my sister whom arrived in the summer of ’62 just one year after they were married in the summer of ’61 – it was quite the dynamic new family that was emerging in those early years of the sixties yet a family it was and it was a very supportive and loving one at that – and i know in all of the wonderful things uncle chuck ever had to say over the years about my father as to just how grateful he was that dad stepped in and stepped up in doing everything he could for him and jerry – in fact uncle chucky was always very thankful for every blessing he was ever given and he very well let you know that he was if you simply took the time to chat with him for a few minutes –
you see my uncle chuck was like a greatly shining light in a ballroom of the grandest design as to just how much life came out of him with the way in which he greeted you and then shook your hand and then always said how wonderful of a person you are – i’ve yet to ever meet anyone else quite like uncle chucky in the way of the tremendous vitality he had literally overflowing from that beautiful heart of his – yet right along with that wonderful vitality he also had an amazingly spirited intensity about him – and with that intensity he most often channeled it into football in the latter years of the sixties and that then led to an offer to play college football on a full scholarship and my goodness if he had i just wonder what his lifestory may have been otherwise – from what i understand he was exceptionally good on the old gridiron to the point it wouldn’t have surprised any of us to see him end up all the way into the nfl and ever so perfectly thriving on those fantastic steelers teams of the 1970s when they won those first 4 superbowls, somehow i can just see uncle chuck with a championship ring on his finger to this very day – yet that potentially storied path just wasn’t to be as it all changed on a dime when out of his lionhearted courage he decided instead that he should channel his energies into voluntarily serving his country with the marines – and in that measure when so many others his age were hitting the deck and running for the hills up into canada doing everything they could to get away from the draft uncle chuck instead set off in the other direction with the sole intent of heading all the way to the other side of the world to vietnam to fight a war against the likely over-estimated and highly misunderstood advancing threat of the reds and their ill-conceived venture in spreading totalitarian communism – in hindsight as well as what was likely foresight by my father i sure wish uncle chuck had never gone off to fight as he ended up paying dearly for it – and dearly he did pay in a small way with his hearing yet in a very bad and lasting way for many years to follow with a rather harrowing post traumatic stress disorder that likewise hiddenly plagues so many of our younger veterans of iraq and afghanistan here in the modern day – so further into the 70s uncle chuck arrived back from the war trying to find a direction that somehow made some sort of sense given the path he’d been on for so many years in leading a very physically-centered life in football and then with the marines while at war no less – and find a direction he did by the grace of God as one of the more amazing things uncle chuck next very unexpectedly accomplished was graduating with an economics degree with high honors from duquesne university in the later 70s – shortly thereafter graduating offers came yet the memories, the many disturbing visions and the cold sweats continued to come as well and a life less ordinary was the path that ultimately would unfold for uncle chucky –
i remember as a child in the 70’s my always enjoying uncle chucky being around as in most of his waking hours he was in such a good place and had so many nice things to say to us – and then there was that wonderfully off-paced signature laugh of his, a laugh unlike any other i’d ever heard before or since – you could pick uncle chucky out of a crowd at three rivers stadium with that perfectly funny yet immensely vibrant laugh he had and i loved it! – and then came the 80s and then the 90s and something so wonderful so thankfully happened in uncle chucky’s life again as the haunting memories altogether vanished for good, and what a very good thing that was in every possible way – at that point life also became so much better for my nana as they had both been under the same roof so much of the time which always had nana on the frontline of helping uncle chuck in his striving to live in the peaceful happiness he always sought to be in – and then such a dramatic change came as uncle chucky’s dear mother, my nana, passed on to heaven in the summer of 2000 and none of us knew what would become of him as they had depended on one another so intrinsically for decades at that point – yet by the grace of God something so wonderful happened once again in that right when he needed it the most and after nearly 30 years of such a frustratingly limited veterans disability benefit an angel came to his side in the v.a. and his benefits were quadrupled and back-adjusted for all of those many years of unfair suffering – and at the ripe old age of nearly 50 he set off on his own and for the first time in his life really began to enjoy his life –
he got a nice place directly across from one of the most beautiful churches anywhere in pittsburgh or for that matter in all of america and that made him very happy as he was a devout believer as one who was always quick in celebrating the good word – he got the first brand new car of his life as well and then he met a wonderfully loving woman whom he would share nearly all of the rest of his years with in happiness – he always traveled to all of the fantastic holiday gatherings my brother jimmy has been so wonderful in having in cincinnati over the years and at every one of them he certainly seemed so happy to be with all of his extended family – uncle chuck was a gigantic fan of the steelers as well as the pirates and the penguins and on a number of occasions he would come out to the games in person and that further made him quite the happy soul as well – and then there was coffee – no one in the entire world could drink as much coffee as fast and as joyfully as uncle chucky always did – in fact i am pretty well sure of it that i once watched him have 13 cups of coffee when we were all out to dinner somewhere in pittsburgh many years ago and i’m almost fallling out of my chair laughing right at the time in now remembering that spectacular feat – and uncle chuck would go on to nearly repeat that performance i imagine hundreds or maybe thousands of times thereafter – uncle chuck was half italian and half irish yet his ingredients of life clearly must have made a detour through columbia shortly before he was born!