Thursday, August 6, 2009
My Beloved Aubrey
I have wanted to write about Aubrey for some time now but old memories are still so much in my mind, it was hard to do.
Aubrey Roberts was born in Utica, MS in 1927, the second of seven children. The oldest child, a girl, died shortly after birth. Back in those days a lot of women lost their firstborn because of lack of medical care.
When he was eight, his father was killed in an accident leaving him to help his mother care for the younger five. Their first knowledge of their father's death came when they got on the school bus to go home, the uncaring driver told him "Boy, your daddy was killed today".
This placed a big responsibility on a boy this age, but he shouldered it.He plowed fields for a dollar a day, worked in a store on Saturdays dipping ice cream and delivering groceries, delivered ice and anything else he could find to make some money.
At an early age, he decided he wanted to be a musician and ordered a cheap guitar from Sears Roebuck, which is still hanging on the wall. Survival of the family was the first priority of he and his mother. Somehow they managed to raise and make successful people out of his 3 brothers and 2 sisters.
He started a band and taught his brothers to play with him and they started playing country dances to supplement the meager family income.
From there, after he graduated from high school he was drafted in the army and sent to El Paso, Texas, where he got a job in his off time playing in a small lounge. When his tour of duty was up, he continued to play music, and played virtually all over the country. He played guitar, fiddle, drums, and piano quite well. He played with a big band sound for many years on drums, and then formed his own band, "Aubrey Roberts & The Good Ole Boys" and played with everyone who was somebody and lot who weren't. He also sang really well. At one time he had 3 radio shows going at the same time around the Jackson and Vicksburg, Mississippi area. I kept the band and we still play special events, especially the Snowflake Ball, which is put on by the Governor's office in Jackson for seniors and handicapped people each December. His grandson, Jesse Gandy, is now the bandleader.
His first love was the fiddle and he requested that a bow be placed in his coffin. I put it in his hand and laid his hat, which he always wore, on his chest.
It has always been almost impossible to make a living in music in Mississippi so Aubrey had to take a regular job also. After his retirement, he spent a lot of time playing for charity events and won the citizen of the year award for his work with the United Way playing for senior citizens and the handicapped. There are certificates hanging all over the walls for his work in this capacity.
He was married and had four daughters and did well in music over the years.
I was very proud to call him my husband.