This week’s words: Yellow Scene Dysphemism (the substitution of a harsh, disparaging, or unpleasant expression for amore neutral one.) Seven Crocus Worm Hello Damp Emollient (having the power of softening or relaxing, as a medicinal substance;soothing, especially to the skin) Valve Entwine Obstreperous (resisting control or restraint in a difficult manner; unruly;noisy;boisterous)
To explain the look on my Uncle Harvey’s face as that of a defenestrated puppy would simply be a dysphemism. Uncle Harvey was the most unusual looking man. Mum would always quote Gran as having said: Harvey had been behind the door the day looks were handed out.
My mum was Harvey’s sister, younger than her brother but fiercely protective of him. It was she who took care of Harvey after Gran passed away.
It wasn’t just his facial features but the yellow tinge to his face that made people look twice at him.
Gran was always afraid Harvey would become obstreperous and cause a scene when the unexpected happened in public. As it was he had a very dysfunctional school life. More often than not he was the subject of bullying and that led to conflict in which Harvey usually came off second best.
Gran said she often found him outside sitting among the yellow crocus playing in the dirt with his collection of matchbox cars.
As Harvey grew into adolescence they tried a variety of emollient creams and lotions to tone down the yellow tinge of his skin and to try and improve his skin texture which during his teenage years suffered terribly from the ravages of acne.
It got so bad for him that you could never get an hello out him and for the seven years of his high schooling he became a regular bookworm burying himself behind the covers of any book that took him out of the limelight.
In his final year at school Harvey became physically entwined with Mabel Entwhistle.
Mabel was a bit of an outcast like Harvey.
They found they enjoyed each other’s company, two kindred spirits was how Mum described it to me one day.
But as a couple they attracted unwanted attention and finally one-day Harvey’s pressure value exploded and there was carnage and mayhem everywhere.
The result was Mabel’s parents took her away from the school and Harvey was expelled.
It devastated Harvey that this had happened and he withdrew further from the world. Mum said for a long time Gran feared for her son as she would get up most mornings and find Harvey sitting in the damp of the morning just staring off towards the rising sun, oblivious to the dampness around him.
Gran would bring him inside and watch as his already unusual features crumpled into a heartbreaking sight of torment and loss.
He lived most of his life in Gran’s house. He never worked, he never married, he rarely ventured beyond the front gate.
By the time I came along he was a man many referred to as our town’s Boo Radley. But when I went to visit I was always impressed by his charm and wit, which I know he put on to, mask his pain and sorrow.