My Mom’s brother Clifford lived with us for a while in Spokane. He had just separated from his wife and decided to come out west. When you’re eleven years old it is great to have a single uncle living at your house. Dad worked rotating shifts with rotating days off. Uncle Clifford found a regular day job with some Saturday work.
As the oldest boy in the family, Uncle Clifford often took me with him for company. If he only had a few deliveries at work on Saturday he would take me in his dump bed truck to deliver building supplies and sometimes coal for furnaces. Riding in the big truck at work was a great experience.
Many times in the evening we would go to the current movies at the downtown theaters. We saw movies like Ben Hur, Friendly Persuasion, Garden of Eden, and many others. The Fox theater in downtown Spokane was huge and beautiful. We always got drinks and popcorn during the movies. To be out of the house on school nights was a real unusual experience, especially to attend a movie. Uncle Clifford didn’t talk a lot, but he enjoyed the company of one or two of us kids.
Uncle Clifford bought us kids a used record player and two 45 rpm records. The record player had a small hinged door on the front. You would lift the door and slide the record into a slot. When the door closed the record would play. When the record reached the end it would give a couple clicking noises and start over again. With five young children in the family an open turntable with an arm wouldn’t have survived a few days. Our little one record box design was double tough. Many a time the adults wished it would crash and burn. We kept it in the basement, but there was a record in it almost all the time. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we had owned more than two 45 records. When all you hear day after day is “You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Dog” and “Ain’t That A Shame” it gets very old.
Uncle Clifford will always have a special place in my memories, whether fishing for perch at Liberty Lake, just going for a ride, or stealing one of Mom’s cakes. It was always a good experience keeping him company. He liked his time in Spokane……..but eventually returned to New York and reunited with his family.