Love this man. He’s right there, in my own backyard of family, a Master of Age. Still brimming with improv jokes fueled by a bright sense of humor. Saw intense battle action in the South Pacific during World War 2 with his brother, my father Morris. This man is my Uncle Babe. Max M. Kamin, 94 years young.
He chided me on my upcoming wedding. “ Tuck, don’t spend a lot. Just make sure it all comes from your heart.”
When talking about faith Uncle Babe said, “Listen, God is in the leaves, trees and air. He’s not just in a synagogue or church. That’s what you need to know.”
What you can’t see as he stands here with his daughter Dana, my sweet cousin is Uncle Babe possesses a kid’s curiosity. A constant hunger for knowledge.“I was always a book reader. Loved books since I was a little kid”.
Also what you don’t know is that Uncle Babe lost his wife suddenly 2 weeks prior to this photograph. She went into the hospital and after 12 days was gone. Dawn Kamin at age 76 was a beautiful, fit woman who was active, even part of a bowling team. She feared doctors and with one fell swoop she got sick and was gone.
Part of Uncle Babe’s DNA material is made of cork. He pops up to the surface like a cork and doesn’t stay down long. But his wife Dawn took good care of him and made sure he was active and busy.
So many stories about how he and my Dad stuck it out during the depression in Houston. Went off to war in the Navy. Started their own furniture stores. The Kamin brothers with stores next to each other in Houston. And my father with Kamin Furniture in Victoria, Texas. My Dad lost his life to cigarettes at the age of 60. While I was growing up I saw the loving brotherhood and kinmanship they shared going fishing and just sitting staring out into the water of Rockport, Texas. They were an unbreakable pair.
“Your father was the toughest guy. One day we were on a street corner in Houston and two guys a bit drunk came up to us . And your father said “You get the hell out of here or I’m going to beat the hell out of you. Your Dad was always my protector” said Uncle Babe.
The stories I heard that day from our visit made me realize the challenges that he has overcome, not just from the war, but of raising four children, keeping a business afloat, losing his first wife to cancer. Fighting prostrate cancer. Remarkable man. Now the lost of his second wife. I hope to keep a closer eye on him and visit again soon.
On my trip back to Austin Uncle Babe makes me think of all those wonderful older adults out there that are literally a treasure chest of stories. Stories to startle and amaze you. Lives of endurance, hope, tragedy overcome, incredible heart rich stories of life.
We’re on our way to Master this thing called age. Uncle Babe stands at turnstile with a welcoming wink to encourage us to keep moving forward.