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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Bubba and Bubbette


Hit Counter This is my oldest brother, Herbert Stelwyn Gates, Jr. He was ten years old when our parents adopted me. There were two other brothers between us. Paul Wiltshire and Wayne Robert. Paul died six months before I was born of spinal meningitis. Wayne is five years older than me.
As a child, Herbert S. Gates, Jr., was known as Buddy. As a granddad he is known as Bubba. Which is so funny. He is as un Bubba as you can get. The man went to Duke when he was 18; (he is a genius). He was an OB-GYN, he was a Phi Beta Kappa. He played the piano. Since he retired from medicine he started studying physics because he just never really had the time before. When he was in med school, and I was a child, I remember him sitting in the den studying his medical books and watching tv at the same time. (This method did not work for me while studying anything.)
I was in Bubba and Bubbette's wedding when I was 11. Junior Bridesmaid. Big Deal! It was such fun. Bubbette lived in Bay Ridge where our summer home (aka known as Paradise) was so the wedding was there. All my parents friends from New Jersey and New Hampshire and Washington came and stayed at the beach house and it was quite a party. (As an adult I now wonder how my mother kept from cracking up.....no air conditioning....no dishwasher....a kitchen the size of a small closet)
Of course B & B had the first grandchild....Herbert Stelwyn Gates, II....to be called Bert. I got to come stay with them in their apartment in Arlington, Va. one weekend. While Bubbette took Bubba in to do his residency early Sat. am I was in charge of the sleeping baby. Any one who knows me knows exactly what I did. All together now......"WOKE HIM UP!"
Did I know ANYTHING about babies? NO! I was the youngest of the entire Gates klan. I couldn't even figure out how to get that little disc thing out the the nipple turned around and inverted. It was a long 30 minutes until Bubbette returned and a while before I was allowed to babysit. (Five years I think.)
I did love being Aunt Donna to Bert and his Sister Susan. I was Mary Poppins to them in my mind anyway. We went to the movies. They were in my wedding. I decided I loved kids! (Still do!)
Anyway, Bubba and I were never home much together with the ten year age difference and him leaving for college at age 18. But in the last 20 years we have become closer and closer. He knows a lot about our family that I was to young to know. And I know stuff he missed by being grown and gone. We compare notes. We ask each other....do you remember the so and so's who lived such and such????
Bubba is a lot like my Mom. The strong silent type. Not going to bubble all over you, but he will be there when the chips are down.
Now Bubbette and I are like twins separated at birth. We laugh ourselves silly. We can do some crying. She has been the sister I didn't have. She taught me to swim in the ocean. She has given me tons of good advice. She has had my family to her house in every house they ever lived in even when Bubba was off flying his plane or up talking on his ham radio. She taught me to make long sleeve tshirts for my boys and do needlepoint, oh and water aerobics.
She can mess with those pots and pans as my husband says. (She is a great cook, and hostess, and mom and grandmother.) I will look for a picture of her to post.
Thank you Bubba and Bubbette for being my family.

2 comments:

Gabby said...

I love Uncle Bud and Dianne. I wish I had more memories of them, but those I have are good ones. I also loved the cousins, and it was always big fun to get together.

I think Wayne looks like him in that picture, a little. But he may not like that?

mary bailey said...

Gabby said exactly what I was going to say---that picture looks like Wayne!

Your post is a sweet tribute to your brother. It is great that y'all have gotten closer over the years.