8 thirteen 2013
J A Broom
Arlington TX 76017
In 1976, your Uncle Dixie, the man I called Lovie, died. I was there with your father and your son and Dixie’s second wife Clara.
“…….Father spoke as a small child; he wore diapers and nothing else. Knowing that I would never see him again, I acted on a hunch and asked him candidly if he could talk to me “man to man” for a few minutes, that it was very important. ‘Sure’ he replied. ‘What’s on your mind?’ For several minutes Father Dixie and I engaged in the most important conversation of our lifetime together. After a few minutes my aging parent heard his brother, my Uncle Turner in the hallway and he returned to childish gibberish. A few hours later our family bade Horace Dixie Broom adieu.”
(Entry from the diaries of Lee Broom.)
I have spent a lifetime writing journals, diaries and blogs and one-act plays, much of which was written about my father. Dixie Broom had a talent for drawing out others and was often able to quickly discover mutual acquaintances upon meeting just about anyone for the first time. But Dixie Broom spoke little of himself. In that way we were always very much alike.
When I and my baby brother Bill came to live in the Broom household, I noticed that Uncle Dixie called my mother Oodles and that he often answered with a wink when she called him Lovey; it was eventually explained to me that these affectionate pet names evolved from a custom of writing each other love letters, a habit which continued until Mother’s final departure. From Lovie it was from your Lovey. And Mother’s was Oodles of Love.
When the adoption papers were signed and stability reassured I stopped calling them Aunt and Uncle and began addressing them as Mother and Father. Eventually, I adopted their pet names for each other. As personalities adjusted to each other Mother again became “Mother” But Lovey would always be Lovey.
I am writing a Book about my hero; I am hoping that you might have knowledge of his childhood, perhaps also as a young man and would be willing to share a story or two.
What I know of my father was from being by his side, witness to his kind manner, climbing a peach tree in our backyard when I was four years old, watching carefully as Lovey instructed me in the use of a sharp blade to peel, slice and use as an eating utensil to move a portion of fruit from the palm of the left hand, first to my mouth and then to his own. Mother had a few tales of her own but your own father shared a wealth of information in the days after his baby brother’s departure.
I still remember the piano lesson you gave me in the living room of your home. We were both children; you were a few years older.
And I still talk about the stories that your son told me about your lives in Alaska. I remember his stories but not his name.
Love and memories may very well be life’s most important gifts.
PS: Anything about Dr Bill and LenaBelle Broom would be nice. I have a huge needlepoint by Grandmother in my living room. And I remember her. I even remember her voice. And I have a photo of the family around 1900 with Dixie and Sam Rayburn standing in close proximity.