Uncle Ray was the eldest son of six. His sister, Eleanor, was born first and then came all the boys. Dad was the youngest and was born with a birth defect, open heart valve. Consequently, my Dad was overly protected by everyone and became oppositional most of his life. My Dad was a wonderful man but fell on hard times in the 1970’s. When my Dad was older and needed a job Uncle Ray gave him one. Dad worked with Uncle Ray for ten years taking care of the back end of the donut business, keeping everything clean, making the donuts and frying them. It was hard work. They were both there from four in the morning until late in the evening daily. They were very close and the whole family loved Uncle Ray very much because he was so kind and helped everyone he could.
They would both often go out front for a break when kids let out of school. They would close the store and take the rest of the left over doughnuts, mostly doughnut holes, and toss them to the kids walking home from school. The kids loved it!
Later if big companies cancelled an order they would sometimes have a lot of dough left over. Dad would bring it home and make pastries until Mom couldn’t stand it anymore. Often the doughnuts were already made and Dad would bring them home and we would go door to door in the neighborhood giving them away. Eventually, they came upon the idea of giving the doughnuts to charity.
My youngest memories of Uncle Raymond are of his fabulous Christmas parties. They were very elegant–like out of a 1940’s movie. There was champagne that flowed out of a golden fountain with women happily going down the buffet chatting, wearing beautiful clothes, flawless makeup, with wisps of perfume floating through the air.
I was very young and I usually sat by an elderly uncle that was over a hundred years old and was in a wheelchair. Every time someone came by he would tell them to stay away from insurance and banks because they were modern day gangsters. He so impressed me that I have always been leery of buying insurance and tried not to have much to do with banks! He definitely was part of the party! What a character! Everyone was always very respectful of him.
Uncle Raymond played the organ beautifully and usually would play a little. Cousins, who were very beautiful and well known in their day sang wonderful songs. I was afraid of them because they had these very strange voices, I thought when I was so little! One of them was a voice teacher who had the first radio show in Kansas City on WHB. It was fifteen minutes long! She also gave famous singers breathing lessons who came in from all over the United States to learn from her. Anyway, they were like movie stars!
There is a lot more to tell and if anyone else has memories of theses days please share them with the rest of us!
Oh! I have a couple pictures of the party but you will have to buy the coffee table book I am writing to see them! I am calling it Donuts!, of course!