Sunday, September 30, 2012

Census Sunday: Uncle Buck


Richard Slade was the baby of the Slade family.  He was always known as “Buck.”  So whenever I refer to “Uncle Buck,” I can’t help laughing and thinking about John Candy.


Remember him?  He starred in the title role of the movie, “Uncle Buck.” 

In 1940 Buck was a young husband and father, only 26.  He and his wife Rosa Lee Lofton Slade (24) were renting on Middle Street in downtown Portsmouth, Virginia.  Today a parking garage and pedestrian mall have replaced the house or apartment that he rented for $10 a month. 

Buck had a 7th grade education and was working as a carpenter’s helper in the shipyard under the WPA.  He worked only 30 weeks in 1939, earning a pitiful $360.  Rosa Lee was listed as keeping house.  Their daughter “Little Rosie” was just 3 years old.  And can you believe it – she is still known in the family as “Little Rosie.”

Click to enlarge


Daddy used to tell a funny story about his dad and uncles.  The Slade boys were serious about hunting.  In fact, Granddaddy used to keep a kennel full of Beagles at his taxi cab business in Burlington, North Carolina.  One fine hunting day, Lee, Lester, Buck, and Granddaddy were out on a hunt.  Buck started complaining of chest pains.  Fearing he was having a heart attack, the Slade brothers walked him out of the woods to the main highway.  And as any good brother would do, they flagged down a Trailways bus and asked the driver to drop him off at the hospital.

And yeah, he did have a heart attack!


12 comments:

  1. Those are some good brothers... ;)

    Great story!

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  2. Replies
    1. Indeed. I wish I knew whether the hunting trip was successful after all that.

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  3. Wow what a story. I hope your Uncle Buck survived his heart attack.

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  4. A delightful tale, both the real story & John Candy's Uncle Buck.

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  5. Love the story! So glad Uncle Buck survived for another day. I'm sure all the wives wouldn't have let their husbands live that brotherly love stunt down.

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  6. They had him dropped off at a hospital? I guess they had their priorities straight - at least they flagged down a bus for him!

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    1. I wonder if the bus driver made them pay for a ticket.

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