Saturday, January 5, 2019

Remembering Our Uncle Ralph Darnell

The here and now:
 Uncle Ralph was one of 13 children of Grandparents Darnell family. Ralph never developed beyond a 12 year old. 

Ralph lived at home until Grandma died in the mid 1940s. The options: Family or mental institution. Ralph stayed with brothers and sisters for many years. Ralph was a frequent member of your family. He and I played together when I was 6-12 and he 26-30. He was not ignorant. He made up his own language. He designed banks that could not be robbed, etc. One bank he drew would sink 4” when an emergency button was pressed. No one could leave because the doors could not be opened, trapping the robbers inside. I was 10 and never did ask how they raised the building back up to let the police in.


Uncle Ralph was a sweet kindhearted individual. I never heard my mama complain. Mama told of the day Ralph says, “Grace, let’s wear our glasses bottom side upwards today and see the world different.”  Mama did.
He stayed with my brother. Shucks I stayed with Odis too. Ruth, my sister in law, was like a second mama to me. I never saw Ruth frustrated. She corrected me ‘n Ralph like her sons.
 ( don't know what this pic is about, any of the family know?)

Brother Odis liked to pick and sing around an outside fire. Once Ode said to  Ralph, “How about going in the kitchen and get me that quart of water from the Icebox.” Ode liked to take a swig while he sang. In a few minutes Ralph came out without the jar and said, “Odis, woudn’t no water in that jar, it smelled bad and tasted worse, I poured it out.”

Odis just said, “Probably a good idea Ralph,” and he kept on singing. You would never’ve known that Ralph had poured out a quart of his white lightening.
               (Ralph and his brother Hisure)
Uncle Ralph lived out his last years in a travel trailer his brothers and sisters had bought for him. He loved being independent. He was such a gentle soul, he passed in his 30s.

Thanks to Howard Dewey for the pictures.
Nite Shipslog
PS: Once he had a bad period and was in a mental institution for 30 days. We visited often. After a few visits he took me aside and whispered, “Jackie, there’s crazy people in here.” I knew he was better! LOL 
He never wore anything but 'Over hauls'. (That is Overalls, for you that don't know.)

 Ralphs transportation was the bike, he had a J C Higgins.


Chatty Crone said...

Oh my goodness I have an infinity for special need people. Seems like every family has one and we do too. THE NICEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. I am so thankful your family took care of him.

Mevely317 said...

An hour later, I'm still chuckling at Ralph's disposing of Odis' shine! He sounds a little like my fictional hero, Forrest Gump. The unvarnished truth … I love it!

NanaDiana said...

Oh- Something we have in common. We also had a family member like that. The last of 6 born to my aunt. I would say he aged to about 11 or 12 years old but was pretty self-sufficient. He lived with his mother until she passed away and then with his sister and then in a small cottage they built on his mother's property. He was a joy to us as children-strong and smart in some ways.

Thanks for sharing this story with us. I hope you have a wonderful night- xo Diana

bobbie said...

What a special man he must have been! Kudos to the family for not ignoring him ~

betty said...

Reading about Uncle Ralph warmed my heart. So neat that he was able to live out his short life without being in an institution and in the care of others as independently as he could. My only nephew has Down Syndrome. He's going to be 40 this year and very functional but he loves playing with his sister's children (ages 9, 13, 15). But he also loves karaoke and is very knowledgeable about the Bible. His sister plans to have him come and live with her and her family if their parents pass before he does.


Glenda said...

Having done some volunteer work with special needs children, this beautiful tribute to your Uncle Ralph speaks to me. Your family united to make his world a safe and loving place, sounds like you were blessed to have him even - if he tossed Odis' "water" jug!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I have always thought that special people like you uncle had some special gifts to share. I have had reason to know that is very true and your uncle was a very special person in deed!!

Dar said...

Your uncle Ralph indeed sounded like a most gentle soul with a heart of gold.
It's wonderful how your family kept him loved and safe and he lacked nothing because of it. God sure gives us precious 'winks'.
loven'hugs from up north...a storm is brewing and the logging is done for now.