Robert Edward Landry was born on May 17, 1952 in Rochester, New York. He was the second son and third child of Roger and Rita Landry. He was the smallest of the Landry babies thus far just weighing in at 7.5 pounds. He came a couple weeks early, so he was always being teased as the runt of the family. Both Ronald and Regena were over 9 pounds and I topped the scale at over 9.5 pounds, eleven years later. Robert was raised with love as were his two earlier siblings. However, he was a little different than his brother and sister, in that he was an indifferent student. While he did graduate from high school it was with a great deal of pressure from his parents. While Ronald and Regena were into book learning and studying and taking after their mother, Robert took after his father, in that he preferred shop and carpentry classes. He also tended to collect odd animals like squirrels and rabbits and stuff like that. Cats and dogs were just not his forte. He was also into wrestling and weight lifting and other physical activities, though he was not into team sports, like baseball and football. I believe that they were just too restrictive for him, he was more of an individualist and free spirit. When he started dating Doreen Blind his future wife, he would take me along on those dates that involved going to the movies. I guess Mom thought that he would behave if I tagged along. I had to be the world’s youngest chaperone. He did get in trouble a few times because he took me to some really scary movies, one in particular that involved rats that scared the living hell out of me. I believe that it scarred me for life because ever since I have been terrified of the hideous beasts.
I also think that Robert was jealous of my Winnie the Pooh. He used to throw him down our laundry shoot and I know that he was part of the reason that our mother threw him away one day when I was at school. If you read my first book, you know that I eventually got my revenge.
Robert was also the first one to move out before he got married, though his bachelorhood did not last long. The siren, by the name of Doreen Blind soon captured his heart. They were married in 1971-1972. Their first child was a girl named Kristi and she was born on 1973, she was soon followed by her sister named Katie who was born on 1974. Their third daughter, Kelley followed a few years later and was born on 1979. Bobbie, their fourth child and only son was born on 1980.
Robert had a hard time conforming to a structured and regimented work environment and subsequently changed jobs frequently. He, however, was seldom without work and always found some way to provide for his family. They always had food on the table, sometimes the origin was a little suspect, however, it was always edible and nourishing. He also made sure that there was a roof over their heads, though it may have not been that fashionable, it was safe and secure. His first real job was working for Kodak in Rochester, NY, it was also one of his longest lasting jobs. His father in law put a word in for him and he was able to get a good paying job there. After that he tried a myriad of jobs. The only other one that he lasted in for a while was at a laundry service job where he picked up soiled linens and uniforms at businesses and returned them cleaned the next day. It was a hard job but it paid good and allowed him to fix up the farm and house that he had bought. He always had some idea floating around his head for a business but he just didn’t not seem to stick to it long enough to make a go of it. As soon as it became profitable he would sell it and move on. I lost count of how many houses and places he fixed up and sold. It seemed that just when Doreen got the place nice and cozy he would up and sell it for another fixer upper. Nowadays people do that for a living, however, they don’t live in the house while it is being fixed up like Robert did. I guess after 30 years or so of it, she finally had enough and moved out on her own. I frankly don’t blame her. She had really put up with a lot. One thing I am sure of, she never got bored living with him. It was always something different. He was always good for an odd adventure as I am sure you found out from my first book. I will include a few more stories later in this book.
After my mother and stepfather moved to Florida, he followed us a few years later with a friend of his. Of course, they were looking for their pot of gold. Once they had jobs, their families followed them down. After living in Florida for close to ten years, he got involved in a born again Christian group. I think it was at the behest of his wife, my brother was just not that religious. He had completed all of his catechism stuff with the Catholic church like the rest of us did. I think my oldest brother Ronald was the only one to consistently go to mass, though. Their pastor got this idea that he would develop this religious community up in Northern Georgia. So, somehow he bought hundreds of acres and sold it to all of his parishioners, of course the property was cheap, that is how he hooked everybody into buying into his plan. So, my brother moved up there with the rest of the flock. It took Robert a while but he did get that place looking really nice. It was probably the best place he ever had. I am sure that it broke Doreen’s heart when they moved. What happened is that he refinanced the house several times to bankroll his business ventures. Unfortunately, the mortgage got so big that he was unable to make the payments and was forced to sell it. Of course, all he could afford was another fixit up special. So, the cycle began all over again.
It was during there initial move to GA that they got the bright idea to home school. It probably wasn’t a bad idea because they were quite isolated and I am sure the schools were not that great. Doreen, by default became the teacher. I have to give her credit, she kept up pretty good until it came down to the high school classes, she just could not keep up with the lessons. So, they eventually went back to school so they would not fall too far behind. By this time, Robert had completely given up working for other people and was making a living strictly from his saw blade business and his buying and selling junk. I swear my brother could sell ice to an eskimo. And he could convince a man with a leg amputation to sell his fake leg to him. He was amazing. Watching him sling his line of bull was like watching Michelangelo chisel the David statue. It was a work of art. He bought and sold so many cars, the county almost made him get a dealer’s license.
He was forced to sell his house and move one more time and that was into a store front. I think that it is the straw that broke Doreen’s back. I saw the place and I was not too impressed. I could see why she wanted nothing to do with it. I am not sure where he got the wandering bug from. Nobody in our family did that kind of stuff. If he lived in the old west, I think my brother would have been what was called a drifter who went from one cow town to another.
Through out the last years of his life, his health had suffered. He developed type II diabetes in his forties. He was always overweight and ate poorly. Watching him dose himself with 50 to 60 units of Regular insulin at a time made me cringe. He eventually developed all of the side effects from diabetes like neuropathies, ulcers on his feet, diabetic retinopathy and due to our wonderful family genes, he had cholesterol problems as well. The only thing that saved him was that he did not drink or smoke. He lived to the age of 63, though he was virtually wheelchair-bound the last few years and he could not be without his oxygen for very long.
His wife Doreen is still going strong and she enjoys spending time with her family and preaching at the local prison. All four of their children have had bumpy roads but they all seem to be flourishing now. Kristi, the oldest has her own store (Community Outreach Thrift Store ) that is doing well. Katie is a house wife and lives in a nice three story house. Kelley has 7 children with a couple of adopted children and seems to be very happy as well. Bobby, Roberts namesake is still in the military and has a beautiful wife and family. I missed out on a lot of their lives by moving to Las Vegas but I can, at least take solace in the fact that they all seem to be doing well. Frankly, I had my doubts with what their childhood was like. I know Robert thought he was doing the best he could. But when you decide to bring people into this world, you have to put them first and do what is right for your family. I don’t think Robert ever did that. He always seemed to come first. I know that I am not perfect, and I will be the first to admit that I am selfish which is why I never had children. I believe life is just too short and I want to be able to enjoy it. I said that I would be honest when I wrote my memoirs and that is what I am doing. Honesty is always the best policy.
Figure 1: Robert Landry Family Tree