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The Allan Family have lived in Barefoot Bay since 2004 and are active in the day to day activities involved with publishing the Tattler every month.
Allan Family Legacy
By Rob Allan (Published August 2022)
In late 2019, I lost both of my brothers, Ray Allan and Greg Allan, within five weeks of each other. Ray lived off Midway in Barefoot Bay and worked for Herndon for years. He had been in the Navy and had served during the first Iraq war. He spent quite a few years in the Florida Keys before eventually moving to Barefoot Bay. He met Renada at Rosies on US1, where he occasionally worked. They fell in love and eventually moved to North Carolina so they could be closer to her children and grandchildren. Ray had never had kids of his own but was “papa” to her grandkids. He loved his quiet life, living in the Blue Ridge mountains. Ray was diagnosed with Stage 4 bone and prostate cancer at 54. He died the night he finally went to the hospital, after the morphine no longer worked and the pain was at its worst. He proudly endured for his wife, Renada, who never saw him cry out in pain. He was 56.
Greg also lived in Barefoot Bay. He worked at Winn Dixie for a couple of years where he met lots of the locals. He was always wheeling and dealing. People remembered Greg as gregarious, with a flirty smile and a dirty joke. Greg was diagnosed with Addison’s disease when he was 22. Addison’s affects the body’s immune systems by attacking the glands. Greg took multiple medications daily and often had a difficult time paying for those drugs without health insurance. He was constantly being admitted to local hospitals, where they would treat him and release him as soon as possible, since those bills were rarely paid. One diabetic episode ended in a car accident that left him unable to sit or stand for long periods of time. He died five weeks after Ray passed, just a few weeks after moving from Barefoot Bay to South Carolina, from medication and drug complications. Greg had a difficult life but was always the life of the party, until the party stopped. He was 54.
All three of us ended up in Barefoot Bay because of our mother, Joan E. McDonald, who had retired and moved here back in the late 1980s. She was 50. Her third husband, Lew McDonald, had spent 30 years at Milton Bradley as the Art Director and mom had met him there. They had years to enjoy their retirement and they had planned on traveling, cruising, etc. Mom was one of the youngest retirees in Barefoot Bay and soon had plenty of friends in the Bowling Club and the Red Hats, and she loved the Polish and Italian clubs, even though she was of English/Scottish mix. As she told me many times, “The food is sooo good.” Mom loved playing mahjong, going to Bingo at St Luke’s and gambling with the ladies once a month, often bringing home a coin purse stuffed with quarters. Lew would often ride around the neighborhood on his scooter and could be seen cruising in his white Geo Metro convertible with “THE HAMMER” in bold white letters across the top of the windshield. Lew collected tools and was an accomplished woodcarver. He also loved to play golf and the Barefoot Bay course was just down the street from the house they’d just bought on Barefoot Circle.
My mother’s parents, my grandparents, moved here after visiting their daughter and purchased a home on the south side of Micco Road. Mom took care of both of them as they were already in declining health. Ray and Gladys Knowles both died in Barefoot Bay, having lived in Massachusetts their entire lives. They were both in their 80s when they passed.
It’s ironic how life can turn out. We make plans, with the best of intentions, but life often has other ideas for us. Mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in her mid-50s, and after surgery she was cancer-free. As a result of her coming down with cancer, she stopped smoking cigarettes. Recovering from surgery is never pleasant, but while her activity level dropped, her weight increased, and soon she was diabetic. Mom would eventually suffer from high blood pressure, neuropathy, and edema, making walking difficult.
A couple of years after mom’s cancer surgery, Lew was diagnosed with COPD, a disease that attacks the lungs. He’d smoked cigarettes most of his life, as my mother and many others had from his generation. Lew was soon bringing oxygen with him wherever he went. He would eventually stop playing golf, since the exertion of swinging a club proved to be too much. Trips were more difficult. Overseas travel was no longer a matter of jumping on a plane. Mom did what many of us do when a spouse gets sick. We do our best. Lew’s last few months were difficult with multiple ER runs and lots of Prednisone. Lew had been on oxygen for 15 years when he passed at 79.
This story is not unique among our residents. Mom watched many of her friends move away and others pass away, after all, she was the young, 50-year-old retiree when she first came to Barefoot Bay. When Karen and I moved here, we had a 12-year-old, a toddler and a new baby on the way, (my two youngest children were born here). Mom helped us and bought our home in Barefoot Bay and carried the mortgage for us. That’s what families do for each other. They do what they can to help each other when needed. Karen and I raised our children in a small three-bedroom home on Vireo Drive. We had our ups and downs as every family does, even divorcing 13 years ago, only to reunite during the pandemic when families had to be closer than ever. During that time apart I had purchased the house next door to my mother’s home on Barefoot Circle, knowing that I would be the one to take care of her as she aged, as she had taken care of us.
Mom passed away two years ago, seven months after my brothers, the day before the 4th of July. She broke her leg in a simple slip to the floor while getting out of bed. She rehabilitated at home in the early days of Covid-19, when no one wanted to go near a hospital. She was no longer strong enough to get up by herself. My wife, my children, and I spent months feeding and bathing her, getting her meds, changing her and helping her out of bed frequently to avoid bed sores. We took care of her at home, surrounded by family, as she had done for her parents and husband. Four months after breaking her leg, she passed in her sleep, listening to Johnny Mathis. She was 79, a month from her 80th birthday.
Death is depressing, and this is practically an obituary for my immediate family, but this is the story of how the Allan family came to be in Barefoot Bay. Our view of Barefoot Bay is, first and foremost, we are a family. We laugh a lot. We watch out for each other. We help each other out, fix each other’s homes, and evacuate together when necessary. We celebrate birthdays and holidays and anniversaries. We definitely do not agree on everything, but we care about our community. Four generations of my family have lived in Barefoot Bay. Barefoot Bay has become our family legacy.
After 18 years, we sold the home my mother bought for us in 2004 to another Barefoot Bay legacy family, and used those proceeds to purchase The Tattler. We can hear my mom now, “You did WHAT?! Are you crazy?” And then she’d have laughed and celebrated with us.
With our children involved in the day to day operations, we are closer than ever as a family and look forward to sharing our talents, experience and enthusiasm with you for years to come.
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