He was a "typical Hurley man" and that's the finest thing I can say, the greatest epithet that any of us could hope for.
I was greatly upset at the time, because I had been rushed into hospital and so was unable to get to his funeral and pay my respects to him.
I suppose my main memories of Uncle Eddie were at my Nanna Hurley's house in Fairwater on Boxing Day. Every year the Hurleys would all gather there to continue our Christmas celebrations, and exchange presents between the extended family. We'd all be there crammed into my nan's little house.
Many years I'd come away loaded down with gifts, both ridiculous and coveted. I recall a Jaws gift set in which the socks fitted me like stockings. Another was a gift set of soaps (red, yellow and blue) in the shape of speed boats - and they smelt "lush." I kept them for many years, always smelling them, never daring to use them for fear they'd wear away. It was years before I even dared to take them out of the packaging!
When we were up our nan's all the Hurley cousins would be there of course, and like any children at Christmas we would tear around the house (inside and out) and I'm sure we all drove our parents crazy being all hyped up on the excitement of Christmas. Many's the time a parent would hiss those words that all parents have hissed to their children down the ages at clan gatherings: "behave!" -- as they try not to be overheard, yet at the same time load the words with enough of a threat to stop their child running about like a mini tornado.
And many's the time Uncle Eddie would overhear and say "leave him alone - he's only having fun." He always seemed to have a twinkle in his eye that told you he was still a kid at heart. Perhaps because he never had children of his own he enjoyed the chaos and the company of all of us who brought our manic ways to Nanna Hurley's.
I recall him being generous too, pressing a secret fiver into a hand when mum and dad weren't looking, which could be secreted away in a pocket. You'd tell mum and dad later when they couldn't say "give it back" as in those days it was a small fortune (still is to me - just in case my children are looking in).
My dad often told us of the time Uncle Eddie went out to work. As the first of the Hurley boys to get a job (Uncle Roddy must have been older, but died in WW2) one of the things he bought was lemonade. As he drunk it, he would mark the bottle and warn his siblings not to touch it (you can imagine, can't you?). Anyway, my dad would laugh as he told us they'd swig at his bottle and then top it up with water.
Just a little while ago we had our wedding video converted over to DVD. It brought the memories flooding back. When asked if anyone wanted to say any other words by the MC only one person from all those tables of guests stood up - and it was Uncle Eddie. In his thick Cardiff accent (which you don't notice growing up as we all had them), he thanked us for a great occasion and then announced that he was too "het up" to say much more. He was clearly quite emotional.
People often say we don't appreciate what we have until it's gone and I think that is true. Some of our extended families we don't see now from year to year, especially as more move away, have families etc. Perhaps now it's just the occasional wedding, Christening etc.
|The South Wales Echo|
I know Auntie Evelyn was distraught to lose Eddie as he took care of everything. I can't imagine what she went through, but I do know that all of us miss Uncle Eddie for his wicked sense of humour, his generosity and for being a "typical Hurley man."
Rest in Peace Uncle Eddie. We all miss you.