Pepop was my grandfather's brother. My grandfather died when I was 5, so Pepop took on that role for me. My cousins Ty and Jeff (who I will mention now and again) were Pepop's actual grandchildren. When I was younger, Pepop and his wife Memom were called Uncle Roy and Aunt Helen. I don't remember when the Pepop/ Memom names came about, but Kelly and I just started using them along with Ty and Jeff. I remember Ty thought it would be cool to shorten Pepop to PP, but Pepop but a stop to that pretty quick.
Pepop's given name was Charles LeRoy "Roy" Jackson. He served in the merchant marines and was also the Superintendent of Patapsco State Park in Maryland. This job I'm sure is the reason why he had such a love and knowledge about wildlife.
Memom and Pepop lived in the house next to ours. In the years before we had a house there, we had a trailer, and after our stay was up, we would always take over our perishables to give to them. Ice Cream and milk probably wouldn't make the 4.5 hour trip back to Baltimore. And during our stay, you could always hear me yell out that I was going over to Pepop's house. I spent a great deal of time there. Usually I would watch he and Memom play pinochle (a weird card game I never could learn to play. And don't get excited that I knew how to spell it- I looked it up). A lot of time in the evenings, the whole family would gather around Memom's kitchen table and we would all play Uno.
Things I remember about Pepop:
- He had a tattoo of a swallow and an anchor- if I ever had the nerve to ink myself, I would probably do some variation of his in rememberance.
- He had this large leather chair he would sit in at the kitchen table. It had a high back and padded arms and metal brads lining the seams. If we dared sit in his chair, we would be tickled until we threatened to pee.
- His crabbing permit number he had on his pots was I-107. Some might think it strange that I remember that, but when you spend as much time as I did pulling pots, it's burned into your brain.
- He always wore some ratty old hat (I have recently learned this is called a BCH- birth control hat) a button down shirt- unbuttoned and a pair of plaid shorts. Usually this outfit was finished off with a pair of dirty white rubber boots that smelled like fish.
- He had a beat up white pick up truck that he loved that we took on errands around town or to Mathews to get
dead smelly fishcrab bait.
- He had a small trailer next the house that he used as his work shop. He kept his big toe in a Fleischman's Margarine tub on his work table (it was amputated). My oldest cousin Jeff used to chase us and tell us he was going to get "toe juice" on us.
- He had an AWESOME vegetable garden. He used crab shells as mulch and compost and the corn was a great hiding place when we all played hide and seek.
Whenever I am in Deltaville, Pepop is on my mind. I am close to him there on the water and in the fields and woods. And when I see a blue heron, I tell my kids his name is BigBird, and share a bit of my past with them, and a little bit of Pepop too.