Richard Slade was the baby of the Slade family. He was always known as “Buck.” So whenever I refer to “Uncle Buck,” I can’t help laughing and thinking about John Candy.
Remember him? He starred in the title role of the movie, “Uncle Buck.”
In 1940 Buck was a young husband and father, only 26. He and his wife Rosa Lee Lofton Slade (24) were renting on Middle Street in downtown Portsmouth, Virginia. Today a parking garage and pedestrian mall have replaced the house or apartment that he rented for $10 a month.
Buck had a 7th grade education and was working as a carpenter’s helper in the shipyard under the WPA. He worked only 30 weeks in 1939, earning a pitiful $360. Rosa Lee was listed as keeping house. Their daughter “Little Rosie” was just 3 years old. And can you believe it – she is still known in the family as “Little Rosie.”
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Daddy used to tell a funny story about his dad and uncles. The Slade boys were serious about hunting. In fact, Granddaddy used to keep a kennel full of Beagles at his taxi cab business in Burlington, North Carolina. One fine hunting day, Lee, Lester, Buck, and Granddaddy were out on a hunt. Buck started complaining of chest pains. Fearing he was having a heart attack, the Slade brothers walked him out of the woods to the main highway. And as any good brother would do, they flagged down a Trailways bus and asked the driver to drop him off at the hospital.
And yeah, he did have a heart attack!