|Mom, Paul, and I at Quantico Marine Corps Bases, Virginia; personal|
Paul's father (my uncle) was in the Coast Guard and stationed in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. My family had gone to visit for a few days. Paul was about 4 years old, I was an infant, and my brothers had not yet been born.
Paul had been outside playing with his friends when his Mom called him in for dinner. She told him to go clean up, especially behind his ears. She told Paul Aunt Dorothy (my Mom) would go with him to be sure he thoroughly cleaned up. Paul dreaded the experience because at his maternal grandparents house, cleaning behind your ears meant using a coarse wash cloth and scrubbing until a child's skin was raw. Paul hated it.
Paul and Mom went into the bathroom where Mom took the wash cloth and cleaned Paul up ever so gently. Paul was in wonderment but worried about his ears. So he reached for them, telegraphing his dread. Mom remembered they hadn't cleaned behind his ears yet and looked at them before cleaning. But she never touched them. She told Paul they looked clean to her so she didn't think it was necessary.
Paul told me whenever Mom touched him for the remainder of her life, her was touch gentle and her kindness manifested itself in that touch.
Thank you, Paul for sharing such a special memory.