Yesterday near Nashville, my favorite people celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary. Pete Kirk and Nada Gibbins were high school sweethearts. They got married the week after they graduated from Madera Union High School in 1955. The wedding was at my parent’s house. Technically, I attended the June nuptials although I wasn’t born until October.
The name on Uncle Pete’s birth certificate reads William Benton Kirk. It stands to reason; he would be called Will or Ben. Family legend has it his 9-year-old brother J.B., who spoke with a bit of a speech impediment, took one look at him and declared him a Pete (sweet) baby and the nickname stuck.
His arrival in the family provided my mother, age 6, with a chance to play with a real live baby doll. While grandma and grandpa worked in the fields, her job was to keep the baby in the shade. His playpen was a padded grape crate.
As my mother told the story in her memoirs on Pete’s first day of school, carrying his lard bucket lunch and her hand-me-down pencil box, Pete had to trot on his little short legs to keep up with his siblings...