Uncle Charlie

To: Christine, Jeremy, and Nathan

Your grandmother on your mother's side had an uncle named Uncle Charlie. This is a true story about his life.

Uncle Charlie was one of nine children whose father died shortly after the youngest child was born. This left the family in a destitute state and the older siblings were forced to drop out of high school in order to take full-time jobs and support the family. Uncle Charlie was able to finish high school but, like others in the family, worked at odd jobs whenever he could. All earnings went to their mother enabling her to keep the family intact.

All the children eventually married and settled into their own homes. Uncle Charlie found his way into sales where he was a natural: very likable and sincere, someone you instinctively felt you could trust. For a while he sold mens suits, but didn't like the fact that his boss constantly pressured him to try and sell suits that the company was having a hard time getting rid of. Uncle Charlie was the type that bonded with customers in a personal way and resented having to try and sell them something he didn't think was best for them. So he left that job and become a rug salesman for Sears. The pay was not as large but he liked the job because there was no pressure to push certain products. But the pay cut bothered his relatives who thought he was nuts to take a cut in pay in economicly uncertain times.

One day Uncle Charlie heard about an elderly couple that owned a very small motel just across the Ohio River from Louisville. The couple wanted to retire and offered to trade the motel for a house in Louisville. Uncle Charlie was intrigued, and after considerable thought decided to accept their offer. This sent his relatives into a state of shock. For one thing, he would be giving up a good house for living quarters that consisted of a few rooms above the motel office. And for what? The motel had few customers but required around the clock attention. And worst of all, he would be moving outside the small area where all his siblings lived. They were a closely knit group that got together every weekend, so moving outside the community was like an act of treason. Of course the motel was only about a half an hour drive away, but to them it was like moving to a foreign country.