Papa Bruce Meets the Diaphragm
His daughter-in-law, Suzanne G. McClendon, affectionately knew Robert Bruce McClendon, Jr. as Papa Bruce. Papa Bruce referred to Suzanne as Su-Dee-Lou.
Suzanne was David’s wife. She was very bashful and shy. She did not like to have her photograph taken, still does not. She never liked to be the center of attention and was highly unlikely to do anything that would call attention to her.
Papa Bruce was the type of person who was always “on”. He was always joking around. If you open your dictionary to the word extrovert, you will see his picture. He often spoke before he thought and sometimes the result was hurt feelings. Other times, the result was quite funny.
004-It was almost impossible to embarrass him. Almost.
005-Due to his raising, Papa Bruce was the type of person who thought it was appropriate to tell an off-color joke in mixed company, but that it was not appropriate for a respectable lady to laugh at it.
006-Our family owned the Western Auto Associate Store in Iva, South Carolina. One of the main lines we sold was auto parts. A very small but very important part of a carburetor back then was a very thin slice of rubber called a diaphragm.
There are many types and sizes of diaphragms and we had to order quite a few of them because it was impossible to keep them all in stock.
Suzanne was in the final stages of pregnancy and was about 4’ 11” tall in all directions. It appeared that she was about twenty-seven months pregnant. She was pregnant with our first son, Jared. He had given her a very hard time during this pregnancy.
Papa had ordered a diaphragm for a customer. I forgot who the customer was, so we will call him Tom. We often ordered parts from Birmingham, Alabama and they took about two days to arrive after we ordered them.
Tom came into the store and asked Papa Bruce if his diaphragm had arrived. Papa Bruce went to the back counter of the store. Suzanne was sitting behind the back counter.
Papa Bruce walked up to the counter and said to Suzanne:
Su-Dee-Lou, do you have a diaphragm back there?
Suzanne giggled and said, “If I had one of those, I wouldn’t be in this condition,” pointing to her tummy.
Papa Bruce turned every shade of red you can imagine. Suzanne giggled until those around her thought she was going to go into labor.
This was the one time Su-Dee-Lou got the best of Papa Bruce.
Please visit us at McClendon Enterprises