Tuesday, October 04, 2011
They say that every family has "that" uncle or "that" brother that is the black sheep of the family. The wayward one who got a little off the path in life and needs extra sympathy and forgiveness from the rest of us.
You: Funkyman, do you have a brother or an uncle like that?
Funkyman: No, I'm proud to say that I only have one uncle and he's amazing. My brothers are cool too. Guess our family doesn't apply. WINNING!
You: Well they also say that if you can't identify who "that" person is in your family, it's you.
Funkyman: HEY!!! . . . well maybe it is me, but I digress.
Today, I'm going to be able to help celebrate my uncle, Robert Freeman, whose painting Black Tie (pictured above) has just become part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Yes, like Ron Burgundy, that's kind of a big deal.
To me, my uncle has always been a big deal.
- He's my only uncle - but even if he weren't, I wouldn't be able to compare him to anyone else.
- He loves people, and people love him.
- His spirit is infectious and inspiring.
- His art is transformative and moving.
- He has been a role model for me as a teacher and an artist.
And there have been other parallels in our lives as well. My uncle went to BU. I went to BU. My uncle lived in Weston and taught at an independent school for 25 years (Nobles & Grenough). I live in Wellesley and have taught at independent schools for 15 years. He worked as a Lecturer at Harvard University. I am a Lecturer at Tufts Unviersity. He has a wife (Aunt Bettye! Woo hoo!) and three daughters (Eva, Nina, and Leah). I have a wife and one daughter. He's had a successful career as an artist, has traveled the world, and now has a painting in the MFA. I . . . play piano sometimes . . . and I like Pictionary. Whatever, don't judge me.
But the greatest gift he has given me is love. As I type this entry, I am overcome with gratitude for how I've been allowed to experience love and family in my life. My uncle is beloved by his family, his friends, and by countless students that have had the benefit to be in one of his classes. In a life where I'm constantly trying to figure out what I want to be, I've often looked to his to see how he succeeded.
No, like the rest of us, he's not a perfect man. However, what he's done right . . . is so right.
Congratulations, Uncle Robbie!
P.S. - Hope you all like the new look of TAOF!!! I'm still working on it. Also, don't forget to go to iTunes and download "It's Time" - new song by Funkyman and Maddie Naylor - Dana Hall Class of 2012! Here's the link. Check it out!