Saturday, April 26, 2008

Roy Gerdes December 25, 1920 to April 17, 2008

Uncle Roy and Grandma Gerdes July 1961

My Uncle Roy died a week ago last Thursday. He was 87 years old. When I was a child, he was my bachelor uncle who lived at home with my widowed grandmother. I adored him, he liked children and always had time for me. I would go to the farm in Oklahoma in the summer and stay with him and my grandmother. They were lazy summer days. We never did anything but I still remember those weeks fondly. I still remember the old farm house even though it has been gone more than forty years.

However, there was one time my uncle and grandmother did something interesting and my cousin Cindy and I were fortunate enough to go along. My Uncle Phillip and Aunt Mary lived in the San Fernando Valley and for whatever reason, it was decided we would all go out to visit them in July 1961. I was 14, my cousin was 13. My uncle was 41 and my grandmother was 64. My cousin and I must have been awful, but neither of them ever got mad or impatient with us that whole trip.

My uncle had a Studebaker sedan with air conditioning which was wonderful going through the desert in New Mexico and Arizona, they humored us and stopped in a couple of tourist traps and the petrified forest. In California, we went to Disney Land and Knotts Berry Farm. Cindy and I made a vow we would return to live and work in Los Angeles, but of course life got in the way. But this was one of the best trips I ever took in my life and this is the first time I have ever written about it.

Now that I consider this time, a lot changed in the two years afterwards. My uncle met a lady and remarried and moved to Arkansas. My grandmother became very ill and died two years later. We now know that she probably had an undiagnosed cancer and I feel guilty when I think about the teenage impatience I had for my suffering grandmother.

My Uncle Roy made furniture in Arkansas until he retired, his first wife died and he moved to Vian, Oklahoma where he remarried another very nice lady. Like my father who is a year older, he enjoyed good health up until last fall when he had a heart attack. His second wife had died a few years back and he was living in senior apartments in Pryor, Oklahoma. He was very active in the Senior Center activities and the Lutheran Church. At his funeral, the smallish church was full of his friends. This is quite an accomplishment for a man of his age. Many people outlive their family and friends.

I am going to miss my Uncle Roy. I am not grieving for him. He lived a full and wonderful life. I am certain he is in heaven enjoying the blessings he is worthy of. I don't think any of us would be sad to live our lives with the joy my Uncle Roy did. Blessings.

1 comment:

Enuk's Mom said...

What a nice story...thanks for sharing and sorry to hear about your uncle.