Uncle Bill and Aunt Jess

Sometimes things come at you in strange ways. I was driving to work the other day and couldn’t find anything on the radio that I wanted to listen to during my commute. I switched to our “oldies” station.

By the way, I dislike our “oldies” station playing songs from the 70’s. Those songs are not oldies, they are from my childhood and *I* am not old. Really. I’m not.


So, I’m listening to the “oldies” station and the song “The Loco-Motion” comes on. The Grand Funk Railroad version that came out in 1974. I immediately had visions of me on roller skates in Minnesota and my Uncle Bill(William Clarence Knickerbocker) and Aunt Jess(Jessie Elizabeth Culshaw). This is kind of strange so let me explain:

One summer my family and I went to Minnesota and it must have been around 1976 since the two songs I remember hearing most often at the roller skate rink that I hung out at that summer in Minnesota were the above mentioned “Loco-Motion” and the song “Afternoon Delight” which came out the summer of 1976. I think we went out to celebrate my Uncle Bob retiring from the police force. It was a big family reunion and all the Knickerbocker Aunts, Uncles and cousins were there. I have some photos of the family from that summer, but i can’t find them anywhere. When I do I’ll post a couple.

So, here’s the part about Uncle Bill and Aunt Jess:

We were staying at their place on some lake who’s name I can’t remember. There was a roller skate rink there. I think I roller skated every day for two weeks because there was nothing else for me to do. The songs “The Loco-Motion” and “Afternoon Delight” were played over and over and over again on the jukebox that the rink had. I must have heard those songs a 100 times each and they are burned into my memory and are associated with my Uncle Bill and Aunt Jess.

I have a pretty good Uncle Bill story as well. Uncle Bill and Aunt Jess came out to California to visit us. Uncle Bill ended up sleeping in my room for the length of his stay. I must have been on the couch or something. About six months after they left I came home from school or work or something and my Mom was standing at the door, pissed as hell and holding and empty fifth of whiskey. She demanded to know what I was doing with this bottle under my bed. How long had I been drinking and on and on. I told her I had no idea what she was talking about or how and empty bottle of booze ended up under my bed.

After a lot of arguing and a few phone calls it turns out that the booze was Uncle Bill’s. By this time of his life he had developed medical problems that dictated that he no longer drink. Uncle Bill (and Aunt Jess) liked their cocktails. So did my Mom and Dad. I think they hid all their booze so as not to tempt Uncle Bill. Uncle Bill, the resourceful man that he was, just went out and bought some and hid it under my bed.

Here’s a great picture of Uncle Bill and Aunt Jess. Thanks to cousin Bryana for getting it for me!

Uncle Bill and Aunt Jess
Uncle Bill and Aunt Jess

2 thoughts on “Uncle Bill and Aunt Jess

  1. Hi Steve,
    I have a question. I am the only one left in my family. There is no one to ask. My brother larry eugene cook died in the Huntsville prison in huntsville texas. it was “78” or “79” I called the prison to find out about where he was buried (I know it is on the grounds)..they asked me his birthday..complete silence..I don’t know. my brother garey died 5 years ago of cancer.His kids matthew and jennifer have since past..I am it…I know he was born in texas..I just want to make sure he has a proper marker..for some reason it is keeping me up at night. since my mom died this past April I have been driven to find the answers to all the unanswered questions. If you could point me in a direction where I might find out his birthday..I would really appreciate it…

    1. Hi Geneen,

      I don’t know where you would look except Ancestry. It would help if you knew where he was born and about what year.


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