My parents each had one brother, but my dad's brother drowned at age 19 and my mom's brother for some reason became semi-estranged from the family and moved to California, which might as well have been on the other side of the earth. The concept of "uncle" was exotic to me -- yes, there was Uncle Irv, whom I met in person once for an evening when I was 7 or 8, but he wasn't really a part of my life.
Uncle Irv did send presents once in a while, and one of them, a wooden Japanese doll, is still in my office, standing in the window to keep watch. I suspect it was made in Japan after the war. It's well made; the head turns a bit on the neck but in 60 years has never gotten wobbly or fallen off. The brushwork of facial features and floral motifs is delicate and beautiful. I don't know what it says on the bottom; perhaps the artist's signature?
As time went by I got to see a whole lot of that wide world, including Japan, where I'd wanted to visit since childhood. Did Uncle Irv's Christmas present kindle that desire?