David Royce was like a cousin to me. Our fathers were best buddies in the air force, and continued their friendship long after World War II. I called David’s parents Uncle Jack and Aunt Curly. David called my parents Uncle Chic and Aunt Minnie.
David was six years older than I was. David’s younger brother Ricky was three years older. Age makes a difference when you are young. I must have been a pain in the ass to David and Ricky, but they never let on.
We saw the Royces twice a year: in the fall for their annual corn roast, and on New Year’s Eve.
For a lot of family outings, my father had to force me to go. I never wanted to go. But I would always have a good time when I got there, and then I never wanted to leave. This always exasperated my poor father who would say, “I don’t understand. I had to force you to come here, and now I have to force you to leave.” Dad never had to force me to go to the Royce’s. I always looked forward to going.
David used to give me piggybacks. What fun! David always made my visits fun. If it wasn’t giving me a piggyback, then it was generally kidding and horsing around. I suspect that my visits were more fun for me than they were for David.
I don’t remember how old I was when Aunt Curly and Uncle Jack separated and divorced. The corn roasts and New Year’s Eve parties stopped.
David went on to become a teacher. He was a good teacher. I know that he was good with kids. I believe he taught Grades 5 and 6, but I am not sure. I am sure that his students missed out in that he never gave them piggybacks.
I last saw David several years ago. He and his wife Maureen were doing their part to support the arts by having me over for dinner. David’s cancer was in remission then.
On Saturday January 7, 2017, David finished his job here and went shopping at that Walmart in the sky. He likely won’t spend too much time shopping before he gets a job at some celestial school bringing the joy of learning to young souls.
Thanks for the good times, David. Have fun shopping and Happy Teaching!