Bahama Tales - Uncle Roy

Uncle Roy

Uncle Roy was a very bold, go-getter type of person. He was my father’s oldest brother and was the leader of the family. He always had some exciting new plan or idea. I loved to listen to him talk. He could take any ordinary day and make it sound like the most wonderful adventure. Life was never boring with Uncle Roy around.

Uncle Roy and Aunt Ruth’s house was the biggest house in Old Bight. It was made of concrete and wood, with a tin roof. When it rained, you couldn’t hear anything for the noise of the raindrops on the roof. They collected the rainwater into a cistern that was then pumped up into a tank. Later, they dug a well out back.

They had kitchen with running water, refrigerator, stove, and lots of counter space. The living room and dining room ran the length of one side, with a long table and benches and two divans on the other end. (I never called a couch a divan since, but that’s what Aunt Ruth called them.) They had a bathroom, with only a sink and shower. You went out to the outhouse for the rest of your necessities. Upstairs were four bedrooms and a study, and my favorite spot—a cubby hole above the stairs. When they first built the steps going upstairs, my cousins and I tried them out and I fell off the side, cutting my side. I had that scar for at least 10 years.

Aunt Ruth was very quiet. I don’t remember her ever scolding me, but she had a sad, disappointed look that you didn’t want to cause. She was very musical and could play the trumpet and piano very well. Both Uncle Roy and Aunt Ruth could also play the accordions.

Uncle Roy and Aunt Ruth, besides many of their children flew airplanes. He named his "The Sparrow" because he said that God's eye was on the sparrow. When someone flew to Cat Island, they had to let us know by buzzing the house. They would fly low over us a few times and then head toward the little airport. We pile into the VW van and go pick them up. When my family lived in Devil's Point, Uncle Roy tied a parachute to our mail and dropped it to us.

They had 9 children, although the oldest were away. With such a big family, everyone was expected to obey and do their part of the chores. Uncle Roy and Aunt Ruth loved the Lord and love their children and loved me right along with them. They taught me much about raising a happy family.
Paul – taught me school for awhile
Rebecca – an artist, could sketch people very well
Priscilla – very thin, (still lives in Nassau)
Timothy – flew planes (flew us to and from Cat Island often)
Daniel – quiet, always reading a book
Mark – a tease, raised chickens, taught me to tell time
Lois – my “big sister”, bossed Susan and me, played piano
Susan – my “twin” for a couple months, dare-devil, best friend
David – baby of the family, remember him learning to walk

Susan and I could get into more trouble. I’ll have to say I was a follower. She’d come up with the ideas and I’d join in. Once we blocked the doors of the chapel with huge rocks while Lois was practicing the piano. We let her out when she hollered, but Uncle Roy was furious because the rocks scraped the front steps. I think I even got a spanking that day.

Once we were out playing tether ball and found some broken figurines. We were all excited because it looked like we might be able to glue them back together. They looked like waltzing girls. For children who rarely got nice things, it was a treasure. When we brought them to the house, Lois told us that we better throw away again. I guess a long time before, someone sent them in a missionary barrel. Uncle Roy didn’t like the indecent strapless gowns on the dolls and threw them into the bushes. Not wanting to stir that up again, we sadly put tossed them into the hole. (a big pit, naturally formed in the coral ground, used for our dump)

We were often sent clothes and stuff from churches. Once Susan and I were given matching dresses. (blue skirts, with red and white blouses and sailor collars) New clothes were always deemed “church clothes.” As they were worn-out, they became play clothes. (We wore dresses most of the time) Susan was so hard on her clothes that her sailor dress was in the rag bag while I was still wearing it to church.

Uncle Roy and Aunt Ruth had a generator, and once a week they ran it long enough to use their electric appliances. They had an electric wringer washer. Susan got her hand caught in it one time. Another day, she fell against it and cut her eyelid. While the generator was running, the boys got their hair buzzed off with the clippers, too.

Uncle Roy’s family, especially Susan, have been a big part of my life. My family moved to Maine after visiting Uncle Roy in Ellsworth. (Daniel and Mark were attending Bible School at Glen Cove.) Susan married Eric Hall, who lived in Belfast, the next town from Searsport, where I lived. Our children spent many happy days playing together. Now we are grandmothers and watching the next generation grow up and have families of their own.


Anonymous said...

Love hearing these memories! Thanks.
Good book material.

Andrea said...

urgent prayer request and prayer button on arise 2 write.


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