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A Shout From The Attic: The June Years - 3

Ronnie Bray tells of a true gentleman.

It was during the time I lived in Ipswich that I met Bruce. He joined the Latter-day Saint Church with his wife and daughter, making a welcome addition to the congregation.

Bruce was a gentleman with a natural easiness and a charm that is not lost, but increasingly rare among men. His daughter, Helen, and I went sailing with him on the River Deben. I had never been sailing before and the only sea voyage of any note that I had undertaken, made me violently ill.

Helen had a suitor and he had a car. He was a serviceman, of rich family, and very spoilt. Whilst he was reasonably personable, he had a serious character flaw. He was a complainer and a malcontent. Let me be precise. He was a likeable young man with all the social graces, but he expected too much from life. This was probably due to him being given too much too soon. He bought a Lotus Elan, and his gruntle was put out of joint when he found it wouldn’t ‘take-off’ in third gear at 25 mph. He made this the subject of almost all his conversations and, frankly, it spoiled the lad.

Bruce had an even temperament that coloured all his actions.
A friend and neighbour congratulated him on his promotion when he was called to serve as president of the congregation.

“Mary,” he said gently. “It isn’t promotion, it’s service.” And serve he did. He was a patient man without affectation,
willing to listen to all who needed to be heard, and swift to act to resolve their concerns.

And talkative! Bruce had an interest in everything and everybody. It was rather frightening to be sat in the back of his car, because of his habit of turning round in the driving seat to address you face to face.

He was a travelling salesman, and a successful on. His family life was idyllic, pleasant.


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