All My Ancestors

11 April 2009

Uncle, Uncle!

Written for the 70th Carnival of Genealogy, “Uncle, Uncle!”  The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: Uncle, Uncle! This edition is all about our uncles. Have you got a favorite or interesting uncle? Tell us about him!

I couldn’t pick just one.

My dad was one of 6 sons, and they were all a part of my early life.  Here’s a photo of him and his siblings taken about 1975–I believe this was taken at my grandmother’s, their mother’s, funeral.

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Osborne Siblings 1975

Back row:  Lowell Cooper “Scoops“, Clark Mobley “Pete“, Dorothy Evelyn, George Landrum

Front row: Donald Guice “Jack“, Gertrude Ruth, Thaddeus Morrison, Raymond Kenneth

All of my aunts and uncles from my dad’s family are gone except my Uncle Ray.  But here’s a little of what I have in my heart about my uncles.

Uncle Scoops was the oldest.  I never knew why he was called “Scoops,” but I never heard him called anything else.  “Cooper” was his mother’s maiden name–I don’t know of any other “Lowells” in the family.  I still have the silver dollar he gave me when I was born.  Uncle Scoops and Aunt Blanche lived in South Dakota for part of my life and it was always fun to go visit them when I was in South Dakota visiting my maternal grandparents.  I didn’t think about it at the time, but how nice it was, in retrospect, to have both sides of my family to know each other and be friends, even 640 miles away from “home” in the Texas panhandle.

Uncle Pete, who also never went by his “real” name, lived in the same town I grew up in.  He, too, had a family name.  His paternal grandmother’s brother was Clark Mills Mobley, so he was Clark Mobley Osborne.  (I have lots of questions about who picked out these names.)  He didn’t marry until he was about 55, so he was often around when we visited my grandparents.  Uncle Pete played the guitar and was often traveling around Texas playing in various western swing bands or accompanying an old fiddler’s contest.  We have an lp recording of his playing, but there’s a big scratch.  We’re seeing if we can have it restored.  Uncle Pete put up with a lot from us kids–here’s him letting me near his precious record collection and player, whether he wanted to or not.

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Uncle Pete often worked for my dad during harvest, and my city-slicker husband’s intro to tobacco-chewing came during one of these times.  Hubbo still turns a little green telling the story and I know Uncle Pete is grinning at the re-telling.  One of his fiddler buddies played “Faded Love” at his funeral and we all cried.

Uncle Landrum also lived in the town where I grew up.  He was named for his mother’s father and brother–both Georges–and her paternal great-grandmother, Elizabeth Landrum Cooper,  who had reared her father.  Us kids played with Uncle Landrum’s old basketball and football at our grandparents–in the house when we could get by with it and out in the gravel driveway when we couldn’t.  He was the youngest in the family– he died unexpectedly at the way too young age of 60.  Uncle Landrum was a pilot and managed the small county airport–he also had a crop spraying service–a vital business in that part of the country.  I was babysitter for my cousins from this part of the family– his daughter Brenda got to use our grandmother’s name, Rachel, for her daughter.  The child I planned to name Rachel turned out to be a David.  “Faded Love” was also part of Uncle Landrum’s funeral–and we all cried again.

Uncle Jack takes us to yet another brother who didn’t use his birth name.  At some point he had his name legally changed.  I remember asking him once if he knew for whom he was named, and he said he thought it was for one of the old boyfriends of his his maiden aunt.  (Aunt Fannie’s “old boyfriends” took the credit/blame for lots of things in our family–I never knew the real story for any of them.)  I don’t know the source of the “Donald” part of his name, but the Guice came from his paternal grandmother’s line–she was Gertrude Susanna Mobley Osborne, and her paternal grandmother was Barbara Guice, daughter of Jonathan Guice and Anna Stump.  (Names from this family show up in several Osborne families in the generation of my Grandad Osborne.)  Uncle Jack’s kids were the closest in age to me, and here we are at our Uncle Scoops and Aunt Blanche’s house in South Dakota.

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My Uncle Ray is still living–I’ve blogged about him before, his telling me last year that he believed he’d farm another year (at age 80) because what else was he going to do?  I understand that kind of approach to life–farmers really don’t retire–they truly don’t know what to do with their time.  I always have to give an extra hug to Uncle Ray when I see him–he’s the closest in age to my dad and he and my dad looked alike.  Here’s Uncle Ray as best man at my folks’ wedding in 1950–he’s the one on the left.

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And, in a survey of uncles, I can’t leave out my mom’s brother, my Uncle Larry.  He’s been the subject of many of my other blog entries–his hot ’57 Chevy and his love for Hank Williams songs.  He was a character and I miss him.  I never knew when he was going to appear on my doorstep–he was here a lot when my mom, his sister, was struggling with cancer.  My sons loved his no-nonsense ways and his stories–not to mention his shorts, crew socks and flip-flops.  I’m glad they got to get acquainted with this great uncle, even if it did mean their smoking together out on the back porch.   I don’t hear a Hank Williams song without thinking of him–or vice versa.  “I Saw the Light” was played at his funeral–a perfect ending.  He’s at the far right in this photo of us after my dad’s funeral–he told me he was “sucking in his gut” so he’d look skinnier in the picture.  So Uncle Larry.

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This post doesn’t cover all my uncles–I have at least a couple who married my aunts of whom I am very fond.  But I limited this post to the many uncles who were my parents’ siblings–all part of my growing up.

3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Uncle, Uncle!”

  1. A very nice tribute to them all. I have only two uncles and never really got to know either of them.

  2. I only have one uncle and only in recent years have I begun to know more about him. Consequently, my submission is on a great uncle. Your submission shows me how important uncles can be to their nieces and nephews. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Enjoyed the read! Good pictures of you, too! Don’t know how I got here.

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