My Uncle Bobby

This is how I remember my Uncle Bobby. He was so awesome. I’m glad to have this picture of us and I treasure it. I’m overcome with emotion when I look at it as he passed away on the 22nd of November 2010. His birthday was 28th of November and he was born in the year 1924. He was married to my sweet Aunt Mary for 64 years.

Bob Perryman was my dad’s brother but he was like a father to me when I was a kid. My own parents drank heavily and so he and Aunt Mary were part of the sane part of those who shaped my life. He laughed a lot and I loved that about him. He always had a joke. Then he would laugh so hard at his own jokes that you’d laugh too no matter how bad the telling.

He loved to eat and he loved that blue shirt. He wore suspenders and a belt. He was a very good looking man. This photo was taken in the last two years. We all went up to enjoy the day–at The Mountain House. I love it there. My best childhood memories are there—and my cousins remember it–and his children remember especially.

He watched my daughter in law and gave her some advice on target shooting. I’m glad he met her. He was at their wedding. He loved everyone and he loved her when they met cause he loved me, and my sons, and my husband, and especially his kids.

Aunt Mary cared for Uncle Bob right up to the very end. Uncle Bob had parkinson’s disease. Aunt Mary is strong, brave, and my hero.

He came to my 50th birthday party and he ate some more, wore his suspenders, wore his belt. He loves hot dogs and chocolate ice cream. For my birthday that year, he and Aunt Mary gave me a Moravian blessing framed beautiful. It goes:

Come Lord Jesus our guest to be and bless these gifts bestowed by thee. Bless our loved ones everywhere and keep them in they loving care.

We’ve said that blessing at every family get together and this was no different except they gifted to me a pretty framed piece of my very own. They gave me keys to The Mountain House and Aunt Mary gave me some of her cross stitch pieces. Uncle Bob loved Aunt Mary’s cross stitch. I do too.

Uncle Bobby lived in a craftsman home on Devonshire street with his wife–and they lived there for over 50 years. Uncle Bobby liked to fly an American flag for the soldiers cause he was a Marine. He lost his twin brother during a battle in WW2. Uncle Bobby was my last living blood relative from that generation. It was the best generation there ever was.

He lived at 119 Devonshire street for as long as I can remember which is all my life and it was the house my great uncle had built. It had never been in any family but ours. We sat on the stoop and ate watermelon. We had grilled cheese for lunch. Aunt Mary made gallons of Coolade and Uncle Bob came home from his job at RJ Reynolds tobacco company. He was the head electrician. And Uncle Bob could fix anything.

And they were so happy and Aunt Mary was so good to Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob raised two twin boys and a daughter he adored in this house. He made memories for his nieces and nephews who adored him.

He gave me his tool chest from his days at RJ Reynolds, and  some of his tools, and I ask for his thermos–that he carried to work all the days that he rode to the center of town and went to work to care for his family.

And Uncle Bob and Aunt Mary were very smart. They had taken care of his mom, her mom, and my great aunt and uncle. So when they knew Uncle Bob was getting on with Parkinson’s–they cleaned out their home–so their kids would not have to–and they moved to a nice retirement place. They showed me their name on the door–and I was at peace that they had settled their belongings and looked so happy.

It was the week they were moving and they showed me where they were gonna live–and they were so proud.

My oldest and Uncle Bob kept pace and talked cause Uncle Bob loved my kids. And my kids loved Uncle Bob and Aunt Mary is the most awesome aunt in the world.

So in the last couple of weeks Uncle Bobby got real sick and it was time to go to Hospice.

I went to hospice one night not too long ago—no one was there but he and I. The nurse said—Bob, do you know you have company–and Uncle Bobby smiled and said—why yes, it’s little Anna Marie—and I cired softly.

I sang him some songs, I said the Lord’s prayer, I prayed with him. I told him about his mansion in heaven. I ask him to tell my brother who is already there–and my mom–and my dad—that I said hello. And Uncle Bob—ask me to ask my youngest son if he would trim the limbs at The Mountain House—and I said we would.

I told him I loved him and he said he loved me too. I wanted to say the 23 rd psalm but I could not remember it all. His was so weak that he could not help me remember but his lips moved and then her tried to whistle–he was always whistling a very happy tune.

The last I remember of him on my last visit—Aunt Mary bent to kiss him—and he was so weak—had not eaten in a week—had not responded in awhile—-but his lips made the kissing sound and he kissed his wife goodnight. That is my last memory of my sweet Uncle Bobby.

The 23rd Psalm:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I love you Uncle Bobby and Aunt Mary

And Uncle Bobby loved The Mountain House, and my family—and especially his children and Aunt Mary.

He was strong at The Mountain House
And I’ll cherish Uncle Bobby showing me the license plate from the year he bought The Mountain House from my Great Uncle Bim.
Uncle Bobby was an 8th generation North Carolinian, I’m the 9th, and my children are the 10th.
You can read stories about The Mountain House  HERE. And not many people know that because my mom and dad were cousins—Uncle Bobby is my cousin too.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Barbara Solano says:

    Dear Anna, I have just read about your uncle Bob and his wife Mary and I so love the way you shared your memories. You truly have a gift….. and I THANK YOU.

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  2. p3chandan says:

    A beautiful and touching tribute to someone you loved unconditionally..Great post!

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  3. Barbara says:

    You are truly blessed to have had an Uncle Bobby and Aunt Mary in your life. Inspiring to hear how one man can make such a difference in so many lives. I hope there is comfort in remembering how you were so well loved!

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  4. Donna says:

    what a beautiful memoir and tribute to your Uncle Bobby and your Aunt Mary…we both have incredible Aunt Marys..thx for sharing this special story 🙂

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    1. Well it is truly a pleasure to share it. It’s very healing.

      I do love your blog–and your writing is fabulous.

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  5. What a touching story about your uncle!

    And may I add, when there is something worth while to report, no one should be considered “talky”. The narrative about your brother is more powerful when it is framed in the history that you provided about the “mechanical gene”.

    Clearly, there is much to be proud of. That you can report on so many accomplishments of a mechanical nature tells us that someone in your family has been keeping proper historical records. Perhaps there is enough material for a book.

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    1. Oh Allan, I love that you delved in to the history as we are heaped high with it.

      I can start with the Huguenots and work toward 2010. But my favorite part lies in the coincidences of the first woman, baby born, and buried in the first settlement of Bethania, NC. I wrote an article about my grandmother way back when–and her Moravian pie recipe.and a woman happened along doing research on that same woman. She had googled the name Anna Marie and Bethania.

      I came up of course cause I’ve written much about Anna my aunt and Anna my grandmother and so forth—but what I didn’t know and she told me was—-Did you know the first woman to arrive in Bethania in the 1700’s was named Anna Marie…..first baby born in the settlement was Anna Marie—-and the first buried the same. And there has been an Anna Marie since then for every generation. Gave me chills cause I have such a passion for my family’s stories, geneology, and connects to this area. I guess there is reason.

      I have enough information to write several books. And you haven’t read the first chapter about Mr D!

      And of course there is the one about……….thanks so much for stopping by. I am very much enjoying our new found friendship.

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  6. Eliza says:

    Thanks for sharing your memories, he sounds wonderful! I love that he laughed at his own jokes until other people had to laugh too — that’s one of my favorite personality traits.

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    1. Eliza I love that you love that personality cause it’s me too. I get to laughing so hard that I can’t breathe all cause I think it’s the best story/joke ever told. I sure have fun with it. And I animate and appropriate when needed.

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  7. joey says:

    A touching eulogy, dear Anna, beautifully crafted. Like my mother, you have a gift for storytelling so do tell … 🙂 I had no idea about your brother. My heart is with you, dear friend. It’s been 11 yrs since my only brother died and I still miss him terribly. (I sure wish I was more mechanically inclined … I’m still limping away learning my Mac 🙂

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    1. Joey==I wrote that raw—just pure raw. I wrote it down as I thought it and only went back to correct misspelled words–which I see I missed. some. I wrote it in my voice that I use every day cause I was talking to him.

      Joey….we connect cause of so many loses and tragedies. It makes a person see value and things worth holding tight. And you—are worth holding tight.

      I learn something new on this mac daily–but of course I try something new daily 😉 and when I get in a bind—I somehow find a way out.

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      1. joey says:

        Regardless of all the life issues we have shared, we would be friends, dear Anna. I know it! God brings beautiful people into our lives and for that gift, I am thankful. You have arms that encircle the world and your precious eyes see what many don’t 🙂 We are much alike in many ways and indeed ‘soul sisters’. I love you, dear friend.

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  8. Your Uncle Bobby would sure have loved to read what you wrote about him and his wife. Very loving and thank you for sharing this with us, Anna.

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    1. Mary this gave me a lot of comfort today just reading how you put that—-it’s what Mr D said to me also. I am still in tears over it. Mr D did not read it till a minute ago and I cried all over again.

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  9. Kristy says:

    Anna,
    I enjoyed reading about your uncle.
    You mentioned you had a brother who passed away. I’m sorry to learn of that.
    Do you mind if I ask why he died so young? Do your other two brothers live in Clemmons?
    Kristy

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    1. This is a long story so get some coffee——Thank you Kristy…I don’t mind answering about my brother. He was my youngest but still older by about 6 years. He died of brain cancer. He was sweet too and gentle.

      He was a large man and very mechanically inclined. He went to school to be a diesel mechanic and took a state test to qualify. He ended scoring the highest of anyone ever and I don’t think his record has been broken as I’ve never seen news of it.

      It’s a gene in our family cause I have it too–but not quite to his extent. We just pick up mechinal/electrical/ etc—and computer( my daddy originally worked for IBM before anyone knew what IBM was–later he owned his own furniture manufacturing company which you’ve heard me speak of).

      My oldest son is a civil engineer. The first of our family to settle back in the 1700’s were called Millers—cause they ran the mills in the area that ground the wheat and corn( took a mechanically minded person to maintain it)—-and over the years—one grandfather started the first wastewater treatment plant and the pipes he invented are world known. That same grandfather invented the first water purification system at a fresh water treatment facility—and that too is still being used to clean every city’s water.

      Those concrete re-enforced pipes he invented are still being manufactured today. —–That civil engineer son went to Virginia and was the mechanical project engineer on an $80 million dollar project—-he was in charge of ordering that same pipe (that his gggfather had invented)–

      My son was about 3/4 in to the project when I told him about my/his ggrandfather….and then read my son the story about how our grandfather of the 1920’s …his name was Aaron Bugher…. invented the pipes and did about the same thing as my son.

      So it’s generational to be mechanically inclined—– or how do you explain such a thing ? —my other son is crafty too and smart as ever.

      So I explained all that to say—-we think my brother got that brain cancer from all the diesel fuel and motor chemicals he was exposed to all his life. He worked on cars and such before he could read. He’d take every appliance apart that we owned growing up and it made our momma mad. Seems like my brother had an extra does of that gene.

      He became a facility/transport manager for a large trucking company. They hired him cause truck drivers could call him from anywhere in the nation and he’d be able to help them how to solve their diesel engine problems.

      He’d sometimes tell them to put the phone up to the engine and he’d diagnose the problem over the phone. It saved the company a load of money. Truckers could call in a tow truck to do on the road repairs and they’d be on their way. On the opposite of that scale if a trucker was trying to fib about being broke down—-cause they were lazy—then he’d tell them their truck was not broke.

      I do have 3 brothers. One lives not too far away but I don’t see him much. And my other brother lives in Indonesia.

      I guess when I’m talky—I can be long winded. Thanks for asking.

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      1. Becca says:

        I love your stories Anna. This one gave me happy tears.

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  10. PatioPatch says:

    A very sad and lovely eulogy. What a loss. Your uncle Bobby was obviously a great man

    Laura

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    1. Thank you Laura—he really was—and so respected. He belonged to the same church from the time he was 12 years old. He was a boy scout leader for years and years. He just had a big heart.

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