Uncle SmokeyUncle Smokey
is my mother's sister's husband. He is quite a character and a story teller. He told me he was born premature, that he only weighed 1 1/2 pounds when he was born, and that his parents brought him home and kept him on the door of the oven for three weeks. That was how he survived. He said his father hated him for living. That hate was what Uncle Smokey attributed his father's abuse of him..
His mother abandonded he and his brother to live with their father who abused them. His brother left home and joined the army and was killed in the war.
He said that he was always a small child, and that the other kids would pick him up and through him like a football.
Uncle Smokey enlisted in the Merchant Marines in WW II. He had scoliosis and so couldn't get into the army or navy, but he was able to get into the Merchant Marines. Smokey's brother who was older had enlisted in the army and was eventually killed.
Through the course of the war, he had three ships sunk out from under him. In one case, the ship had crossed the Atlantic and had come through a terrible storm and all the life boats had been ripped off the ship. When they entered the Mediterainian, a German plane bombed the ship. He said they were really worried because they had no life boats, but after a while, people from the Spanish coast (I think it was) came out and rescued them.
Uncle Smokey invented his own form of collecting money (bills). He collects bills with special serial numbers and bills with a star next to the serial number. The star indicates that its a bill that was re-issued with the same serial number. The type of special serial number is for example the ten dollar bill he gave me with SN 07232700. The numbers are the same forward and backward. I have a one dollar bill that I collected with SN 32950950 - the 950 repeats. I'm not sure if this would meet his standards.
I've been looking for bills of this kind and I can tell you they are VERY rare.
Once he was telling me about the gas station at which he worked in Marion when he was a young man, and lo and behold, it was the same gas station at which I worked when I was a kid, and had a story to tell him about it. Now, when I'm talking with Smokey, he refers to it as "your filling station."The Gulf filling station in
Marion, Ohio on the corner of Delaware Avenue and Walnut Street was the
first place of employment for both E.E. Smokey Merchant, and me. Smokey
worked there before WW II. I worked there in the month of July, 1972. I
only worked on Saturday afternoons and after a month, they told me
they'd call me when they needed me again and to drop off the uniform
shirt they had given me. I'm still waiting on that call and they're
still waiting on the shirt.
Smokey died today, April 5, 2006. He went in the hospital the other day because his lukemia had flaired up. He was told the last time he was in the hospital that it was cured - at least that was what we were told.
There will be no funeral service. He will be cremated after an autopsy. (the doctors want to determine what caused him to die - again this is what we heard.)