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!

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


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

    Great story!

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

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

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

  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.

  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!

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