It seems as though everyone in Labrador is taking a moment today to remember a prominent Labradorian who passed away this morning. James Andersen was known by everyone as “Uncle Jim”, whether you were related to him or just meeting him for the first time. I was one of those ones who called him that because he really was my uncle–my great-great-uncle.
Uncle Jim was the last of his family from that generation. Uncle Edward passed away in 1988, my great-grandmother Bridget passed away in 1997, and Aunt Inga passed away just last year. Three of them made it into their 90s, and Uncle Edward likewise lived a long life, just short of 80 years old.
There is a lot to be said about Uncle Jim and what he did, whether it relates to photography, music, the church, Makkovik, or running a business with Aunt Susie. I can’t sum it all up here; he filled his 90+ years very well. But I will share a memory with you. When I was in Makkovik a couple of years ago, I stopped by for a visit. We got to talking about photos, and he wanted to find a certain photo to show me. I can’t remember exactly what it was that we were looking for–probably a photo of another family member–but when he handed me a stack of photos to go through, one of the first that I flipped to was a photo of me, my brother and my dad in the Goose Bay airport when I was probably about 12 or 13! I didn’t remember it at all, but Uncle Jim certainly did. He was able to tell me exactly where he was going, and why we were at the airport too, and how surprised he was to run into us. He had an amazing memory, and was always willing to share his memories. He left me with so many nuggets of information about my family members that I hadn’t heard from anyone else.
I will miss our phone calls, Uncle Jim, and I will miss you very much.