Monday, November 28, 2016

Uncle Irvin and 'Play Purties'

Growing up 'going to town' was always a treat. We lived in the country once but mostly in town. But the phrase 'We are going to town', meant someone was going downtown where the Dime Store, A&P, Western Auto, Sears or Penny's were.  There was no shopping centers, no 7/11 type stores.  In the country or outskirts there were small Grocery and General Stores.   

In our family there was a unique marriage. One of Mama's sisters had a son, Irvin O'Shields.  He married one of Daddy's Sisters, Bertha.  Irvin was my cousin and Bert was my aunt.  BUT it was always Uncle Irvin.  Uncle Irvin was a bigger than life man, I never met anyone who did not love the big red headed guy and Aunt Bert.  They were successful in their own right. Like many hard working entrepreneurs they were very successful, raising cattle and running a neat General store (Red’s Place) and service station.  
Me at the Wheel Bobby being cute in Mildred's 1948 ford convertible.

I cannot remember the name of the community, but it was outside Laurens, SC.  NO MEMBER OF OUR FAMILY refused a trip to Uncle Irvin’s. He would give you anything in the store!  At night he would shoot firecrackers for you by the hundreds. There were three first-cousins, Charles, Bobby and Mildred.  We were double kin. Bobby was my age and we actually looked alike. Mildred (called Sister) was Shirl’s buddy.  I got to spend a week with them several summers. What a treat.
 Bobby and me

Sherry and I stopped by ‘Red’s Place’ once in 1957 to visit, not long after we were married. (The O'Shields lived in the back of the store).  Uncle Irvin gave us $5, that was a lot of money almost a day’s wages.  

Bobby is the only alive now, we see him only at funerals.  He is a great guy and still at 77 years of age works 40+ hrs a week.

One of Irvin’s  lines: Jackie you go in the store and get you a ‘Play Purty’.  If you are not familiar with that term,  when I was growing up, that was a toy. Imma guessing that was s’posed to be ‘Play Pretty’.

I was in the USAF when Irvin died. I immediately went into the First Shirt’s office and asked for emergency leave. First SGT laughed, “Airman, no one gets emergency leave for an uncle, only immediate family qualifies.”

When I left his office he knew Irvin was immediate family and I had an emergency leave.  Do you have kin that is as close as immediate family?

Nite Shipslog


Cousin Charles was a sailor home on leave when he was killed in a wreck single car accident in his dad’s 48 Buick

When I see one of these I often think of Charles.


Mevely317 said...

Nice to hear "play purty" out of someone else's mouth, Jack! I still say that now and then ... and have grown accustomed to getting odd looks.

Your boyhood cousins/pals sound lots like what Tom enjoyed growing up on the south side of Chicago. They still chat on the phone 'til the stars come out every now and then!
My family's but a few cousins remaining, but sadly we weren't/aren't close.

betty said...

Never heard of the term Play Purty, but fun to read your memories of Irwin and Aunt Bert :) Families indeed are very special with the love for each other!


Jean said...

Great memories you have of your uncle and cousins. I still have a few cousins living and think a lot of, but we don't see each other all that much. It's suppose to rain here sometime to night or tomorrow. Take care,Jean

Jimmy's Journal said...

Love those stories from the past. I never heard "play purty" but "play nice" was a common phrase. I miss those old country stores and stop whenever I see one.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

When I worked I missed out on some funerals that I would have loved to be able to attend. They had that same rule and stuck to it. You have some wonderful memories and your uncle was definitely a blessing in your life.

Lisa said...

My grandmother and Aunt used to use the term "play purtys". I cant say I have kin people that close. I have a couple cousins my age and we are sorta close but not like sisters and brothers. Great story and I lome that Ford!

From my desk

Lisa said...

I mean I Love that Ford. Im such a bad phone typer.

shirl72 said...

I liked visiting Uncle Irvin. He would give us anything in the Store we wanted.
On the way to visit Mother would give us a talk "She would say I don't want you to ask Uncle Irvin for anything in the store". We didn't have to ask, he would ask what we wanted...He was the most generous person and loved by everyone.

Dar said...

I just LOVE reading your posts and traveling your memories with you. You grew up with close relatives like I did. I'd say we've been very blessed. I have so many cousins that, as kids, we were very close knit. Now as adults, when we Do get to see each other, we pick up like it was yesterday. Like most, it would be at weddings and funerals, for the most part. We've been trying to have annual picnics but even that gets tougher.
Squeezes to you and your lovely Sherry from up north where the smell of cookies linger preparing for our early Christmas in Baraboo with all our children and grandloves.