Sunday, August 23, 2009

Alone in Retirement (part 3 of 4)

French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said, "If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company".

In the amount of time as a few heartbeats, Aubrey and Carol's dream of retirement together vanished like smoke. Aubrey was shocked and alone by the sudden death of Carol. She was buried at Doubs United Methodist Church cemetery on Seward Road. He retired from RJR on November 10, 1995 and the golden years ahead would now be lived alone.

Aubrey's favorite Bible passage is Psalm 23 where he finds solace in coping alone. He is in good company with the comforting words of the psalmist.

The Doub ancestry reaches deep into the United States history in Pfafftown. John Doub first settled in the Balsom Road and Kilmurry Hill Road area in the late 1700's. Michael Clark Doub was one of John's sons and Aubrey's great grandfather. Michael was a Methodist minister, tanner, landowner, farmer, and slave owner. Aubrey built his brick ranch-style home in 1972 on a couple acres that was once part of the large plantation. According to Lettie, who studied the family history from public documents and private papers, great grandfather Michael owned as many as 6 slaves. The 1850 census lists the 6 slaves as male age 38, female age 41, male age 35, male age 12, female age 9, male age 1. No names of slaves were shown on the census record that Lettie read in the North Carolina Room in the Forsyth County Public Library. Private papers list Michael's slave names as Peter, Charles, and Louisa. The other three names are not known. The slaves had no last names. When Emancipation freed the slaves after the Civil War, one slave didn't want to leave. The only legal way for him to remain on the farm was to take the last name, Doub. So, the negro man with the last name of Doub stayed there until Michael Clark Doub died in 1876.

A few years ago at a church in Old Town, Lettie spoke with visiting Bishop Robert Doub, a black man in the Apostolic Church in Philadelphia. Bishop Doub knew that he had a white man's name, but never knew how that came to be. When Lettie related the story of the slave who wanted to stay on the plantation and received the last name Doub, the bishop believed that he descended from that man. Lettie said, "the bishop hugged me and held the embrace for the longest time as he accepted the happiness of knowing the history." Sometime later Bishop Robert Doub was killed in an automobile accident in the mountains of Pennsylvania while traveling between churches. He likely went to sleep while driving.

Michael Clark Doub was one founder and preacher at Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church on Robin Hood Road in Winston-Salem. His portrait hangs there among other historical preachers of that church. Michael's brother, Peter Doub, was an iconic Methodist preacher, a professor at Trinity College (now Duke University), and also helped found Greensboro Female College (now Greensboro College). Reverend Peter Doub is buried at Green Hill Cemetery in Greensboro and has a monument in his honor.

Michael Clark Doub and wife Gracette Reynolds had three sons and six daughters. One son was Olin Wilbur Fisk Doub who was Aubrey's grandfather.

Coaching baseball continued at NWFALL complex until 2001 at which time the Big Leagues participation fizzled. Boys within that age group found other things to do with their time so it seemed proper for Aubrey to retire from coaching.

Weather permitting, Doub sits in a lawn chair underneath his carport at his home on Kilmurry Hill Road. There he can see an occasional car pass, smoke Winston cigarettes, drink Pepsi, watch his dogs play, monitor the hummingbird feeder, watch grass grow, and listen to his favorite radio station, 98.1 FM out of Galax, Virginia.

During cold or inclement weather, he’s inside his house where he tends a wood-burning stove. A daily nap after lunch has always been on his schedule since retirement. Most meals are eaten at area restaurants where he meets and interacts with many of his friends.

Around 1990 Aubrey restored a 1947 Ford Ferguson tractor his father bought new. All Doub family siblings drove this tractor to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops of corn, tobacco, grains, and gardens. The only female sibling was Lettie who also drove the tractor. Each workday after lunch, Lanier (Aubrey's late father) took an hour-long nap. During this hour, the boys and Lettie played baseball in the front yard. When Lanier's rest period was over and he said, "Let's go", the baseball playing ended immediately and everyone returned to work in the fields.

Aubrey’s interest in antique tractors, lawn mowers, and old horse drawn farm implements grew during the 1990’s. He restored and preserved those already in the family and acquired other makes and models of interest to him. One friend, Allen Beauchamp, assisted Aubrey on many of these restoration projects. Allen owned sandblasting equipment and tools for spray-painting the stripped and sanded metals on the old tractors. As the two friends worked together for years, Aubrey’s collection grew. He built additional storage buildings to shelter his newly restored tractors and mowers. Allen's declining health and Doub's full storage buildings stopped further expansion of the antique collection.

If you ride along Kilmurry Hill Road and see the sight in the picture at the top, then stop and "take a break". Sit beside Aubrey and talk about old times, rising stars in current little league teams, hard work in the past, current weather, or anything else of interest. I assure you that humor will be enjoyed and quality time will be experienced.

If I could, I would present to Aubrey a citizenship award because of his honorable military service, his 23 years of helping youths as baseball coach, and his faithful marriage to Carol for 36 years. Since I can't present an award, I say thank you to Aubrey Allen Doub for all you have done for the betterment of our part of the world.

Click on the pictures below and above to enlarge them for better viewing.

Have a good week!


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