“Hey Jack.” That was Uncle Stan’s patented greeting to just nearly everyone. We sat around with Aunt Kay reminiscing about Uncle Stan just one day after he failed to survive surgery early Tuesday morning. Nothing moribund when the Littleton’s get together. Well that is not really true. There are many among us who can trail the darker edges of pessimism. But, that does not mean we do not know how to laugh in celebration of life. And laugh we did.
Everyone has a story. My Dad told one on my Uncle – his older brother. But, every brother Dad has/had is/was older. Dad and Mom were early married. Grandpa Littleton had a used car lot on 13th and Broadway in Oklahoma City. Uncle Stan worked with him. Grandpa helped Dad and Mom get a car in those early-married-where’s-the-money days. They stopped by for a visit and left the car on the lot. When they came back the car was gone. Uncle Stan had sold their car!
To hear Aunt Kay tell it, that was a common occurrence. “Get the car ready, I sold it.” The sentiment was, “Everything’s for sale.”
Pam told how Uncle Stan helped her get her first car – a red MG convertible. It was a stick-shift. Pam could not drive a stick. She told Uncle Stan who took the car and brought her a gold four-door Plymouth Duster with a push-button transmission. She wishes she had learned to drive the stick!
There were plenty of “car” stories. Uncle Stan owned a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in Midwest City. He was once elected President of the Oklahoma Car Dealers Association. His dealership had provided Barry Switzer with a red Chrysler Cordoba when he was Head Coach of the University of Oklahoma.
One summer I bought a 1946 Chevrolet Pick-up. Dad and I worked on the truck often. Nearly every weekend my Senior year in High School found us out at “The Car Lot” at S.E. 15th and I-40. Uncle Stan let me keep the truck there and use one of the bays while we replaced the engine, rear-end, and transmission. Occasionally “Brown,” Uncle Stan’s mechanic, would give us some advice along the way. My truck was not much when compared to my cousin David’s many Roadrunners, Baracudas, Chargers, and Challengers.
We would break for lunch together on Saturdays. Uncle Stan would say, “Take that car.” I would drive over and pick up lunch. On one occasion I was pointed to a small car. I got in and discovered it was a standard – stick-shift. I had not driven a standard very often. But, as a good Littleton, you never admitted you could not drive “any” car. After all, even if I was the son of an Electrical Engineer, you never, ever admitted you could not drive a car. I have a story like that when I took a job with Uncle Ralph but that is for another time.
Paul and I were talking about one of the houses Uncle Stan owned. If I remember right, it was a two-story house with a pool table. We did not care much about any other fancy feature. We enjoyed playing pool. We did not get to the table often. We were among the younger cousins. But we still remember how “cool” we thought that was.
Uncle Stan often hosted our holiday gatherings. Seems like there was always plenty of food and plenty of room. No small feat for our crew. He passed that hospitable nature to David who for the last number of years has hosted the get togethers.
Some of we nephews will be pall bearers on Saturday. Rather than list us by name, Paul suggested we just have them note, “Jack Littleton.” That would take in all of us who knew Uncle Stan loved us and to return the favor, “Just call us ‘Jack.’”