Uncle Dude was born Duvernia Keele in
Uncle Dude was married twice during his life, both mail order brides, and he was on his way to marry his third mail order bride when he had a wreck that ultimately ended his life. His first mail order bride was Minnie. I guess Uncle Dude was having a difficult time finding a wife so he decided to join what they called then ‘the lonely hearts club.” Now, this was in the 1920s. There was no such thing as the internet, and telephones were rare. So the only way two people, looking for love and companionship, could get to know each other was by writing letters to each other. So Uncle Dude and Minnie wrote letters to each other and exchanged pictures, at least that was the way it was supposed to work.
They agreed through mail that uncle Dude would travel to where Minnie lived, and they would tie the knot. Uncle Dude was very excited because the picture Minnie sent of herself was that of a very attractive young woman. When Uncle Dude arrived at Minnie’s, however, an old lady answered the door. Uncle Dude thought it was Minnie’s mother or grandmother. At first she said Minnie was her friend and that she was not there at that moments and that she would be there later. She finally confessed, though, that she indeed was Minnie. She said she sent a picture of someone else because she knew if she sent a picture of herself that he wouldn’t come. So, for unknown reasons, Uncle Dude married her. When he brought her to meet his family, they could not believe their eyes. They said that she looked like she could be his grandmother. They said she had skin that looked like rawhide, and the texture of her skin was like sandpaper. Minnie apparently did not possess feminine qualities. My grandmother got Uncle Dude off to one side and said, “Dude, what have you done?” He explained to my grandmother that he felt so sorry for her and felt like he could not go back on his word, since he had promised to marry her.
Minnie and Uncle Dude were married for several years. I’m not sure how many years they were married, but I do know that Minnie made a very good wife, and Uncle Dude’s family became very fond of Minnie. I don’t think she was that much older than Uncle Dude. She just looked a lot older. She lived to be almost a 100 years old and remained in touch with Dude’s family even after Uncle Duded died.
His second mail order bride was Aunt Nancy. She was an attractive and classy lady, and I have very fond memories of the time I spent with Uncle Dude and Aunt Nancy. Aunt Nancy had two grown children and several grandkids from her first marriage. I never did know what happened to her first husband. Uncle Dude and Aunt Nancy were probably married for twenty years, or so, and she started to lose her mind. Uncle Dude was always a little selfish and spoiled, so he decided it was time to move on. I won’t blame Uncle Dude totally for the demise of their marriage because Aunt Nancy had a terrible temper.
So, Uncle Dude moved back to Menard. It wasn’t no time until he became restless. He informed us that he had joined the “Lonely Hearts Club” and was writing a lady in