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Bad Week

Good Uncle

By Shirley BelkPublished about a month ago 3 min read
Watermelon patch (not ours, but similar) on Butler Farm by Martha Rose Woodward

I basically lived with my mother's sister (Aunt Sis,) and her husband, (Uncle Bill) from the sixth grade through the tenth. They were crucial years for me. I was changing and developing into a confused and resentful teenager. I was angry with both my father and my mother. I couldn't understand the personal hells they were going through. I just felt the emotional impact of it all. I rightfully felt that I had been gypped. All their nonsense had been very much avoidable...alcohol abuse, adultery, and immaturity.

Living with my aunt and uncle, I found a life with no alcohol, total commitment to one another, and the utmost of maturity. I felt so secure in that. I had responsibilities, but was allowed to be a child, as well. I did not have to make decisions. I trusted in the ones they made for me. I trusted in their love for me. They were constant. And I thrived academically and emotionally in that environment.

Of course, during those years, I rebelled a little. But, for sure it was done passively. I had a very healthy fear of the consequences if I got out of hand. I didn't want to have to go back to my mother's or get a good old-fashioned butt whipping, but most of all, I didn't want to disappoint them. I secretly loved their discipline because I knew they loved me.

Back in the late sixties and early seventies, very short skirts and dresses were the fashion. Before I walked to catch the school bus my aunt made sure I was dressed appropriately. But she did catch me "rolling up" my skirts to make them shorter a few times.

I also had chores to do, but I didn't mind...too much. They had chicken houses and a huge, huge, garden. My uncle sold vegetables to local supermarkets. I helped with it all.

My uncle built a "peach stand" for me to sell vegetables and fruits in the summers. I bought my own school clothes with my earnings.

And there was no such thing as fast food in our home. All meals were home cooked and fresh. No automatic dishwasher, either. I was the dishwasher.

Sometimes when work had slowed down, I would find fresh apple or peach fried pies that my aunt would make for me after school. That was such a treat.

When it was nearing time for me get a driver's license, it was my Uncle Bill that obliged the driving lessons. Of course, being on a farm, we only had trucks. No automatic trucks, but trucks that you had to use the clutch to change gears to drive. That could be quite tricky. Especially when you had to give it gas at the same time as letting out on the clutch...AND stay on the road.

Bless his heart, he decided the best way for me to learn to drive in a straight line was to put me on a tractor. It went well at first. The row was very long and there was room to turn to get to the next row, too. But...I heard him holler, "Watch out for my watermelons" just about the same time as I heard a plop, plop, plop. I remembered him telling my aunt that he had three prized beauties he couldn't wait to show off.

He didn't say a word, but I cried. I had demolished those grand watermelons with my youthful exuberance. I told him that I didn't want to learn to drive anymore, but he insisted. I learned to slow down and look ahead for obstacles. And I learned that he loved me more than he loved his watermelons.

I tried to make it up to them that week by doing extra chores. I decided to sweep and mop the living room without being asked to. It had rained, thundered and lightning so bad the night before that he had unplugged the new television, he was so proud of.

(His favorite show was Hee-Haw and Beverly Hillbillies. I loved hearing him laugh. My aunt wasn't much on tv. She mostly read. The almanac and historical romance novels were her favorites. I listened to the radio in my bedroom most of the time.)

After the work was done, I plugged the television set back in. Little did I know that there were two plugs there and I chose the wrong one. A tv set needs a 110 volt and NOT a 220 volt. I ruined the TV. Again, not one bad word from his mouth. Again, I cried. All in the same week!

I don't know how they managed to have all that patience and tolerance for me. I wasn't even their daughter. Uncle Bill wasn't even blood, but only by marriage, my uncle. But I was grateful for them and their kindness. I know what good people look like because of them. I was definitely NOT gypped when it came to their love for me.

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About the Creator

Shirley Belk

Mother, Nana, Sister, Cousin, & Aunt who recently retired. RN (Nursing Instructor) who loves to write stories to heal herself and reflect on all the silver linings she has been blessed with

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (11)

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  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Oh this is so sweet, especially the uncle by marriage, what a great guy!! You were more important than his watermelons.🍉

  • Novel Allenabout a month ago

    The watermelons and the TV in on week. I would have sent you to Juvie, haha. They sure had patience and forgiveness-ability. So happy you got to live somewhere peaceful. I had a similar thing, but had nowhere else to go. Still we made it,

  • Staringaleabout a month ago

    This is such an inspirational story. I must say your 'Uncle' is the star of this story. He sounds as laidback and a wonderful person.

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    What a beautiful story. Your uncle sounds like he was a wonderful soul, and is wonderful for you. Well done.

  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    Thanks for sharing such a positive story with us, as now a days, we need to learn about such kind and generous persons in families and friends as you have. Life looks awesome when we have uncle Bill and Aunt Sis like persons.

  • Mark Gagnonabout a month ago

    It's amazing how we can live in different parts of the country or the world and still find stories from our past that everyone can relate to. Yours is no exception to this. Well told, Shirley!

  • Gina C.about a month ago

    I really enjoyed this! Oh man, I think we can all relate to accidentally ruining something as a child and feeling so bad about it. 🥹❤️ Your Uncle Bill definitely seems like a wonderful guy!

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    Oh, Shirley. I really felt for you but what a star Uncle Bill was! You must have felt terrible - all your good intentions going awry!

  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    They sounds amazing.

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Omggggg, they are such nice people! If I was Uncle Bill and you destroyed my watermelons and the tv, gosh I don't know what would I have done! I wouldn't have spanked you but I would have screamed at you at the top of my lungs, lol. Uncle Bill is a saint! Hats off to him!

  • Denise E Lindquistabout a month ago

    Great story! Everyone should have an Aunt Sis and Uncle Bill!!😊💕❤️

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