An unforgettable character

Published 5:40 pm Monday, February 11, 2019

When thinking of unforgettable characters, there is one that will always be remembered. He will be remembered by most of you who read this article also. His patented suspenders, khaki pants, squinting eyes and old truck were a dead giveaway.

My cousin Dr. James H. Roberson and known to friends and family as “Bunk” was like a big brother to me. If you ever met him, you never forgot him.

Bunk was raised in Old Ford and the only son of Aunt Bernice and Uncle Charlie. Together they lived on the Latham Farm along with his good and faithful friend, Spotlight. Bunk was always my mother’s favorite nephew. As a small boy, he held my mom’s hand as she married my Dad in the Roberson home place. He remained her favorite throughout her life. While living in Raleigh, she loaned him our house during the Dixie Classic basketball tournament so that he could invite his friends. A visit by Bunk was a special event for me as he got older.

I have heard many stories involving my cousin, and I suspect most were true. One that I remember is the day he and Charlie Bishop took me for a ride in his new Corvette. I had never been a 100 mph, but I did that day. And to make matters worse it was on the old Market Street Extension. Bunk never paid much attention to the road and with Charlie, it was even less so. For a 10-year-old, it was frightening. Carl Jones tells a story about when he and Bunk once gave two coeds a ride one night from Greensboro back to Chapel Hill in the front seat. Now do not forget, it only had two seats and there were four passengers in the Corvette! From Bayview to Myrtle Beach, everyone knew Harold “Bunk” Roberson.

Bunk appreciated the life lessons that football taught young men while in high school and prep school, and some of his fondest memories were on the football field. He loved and admired Mr. Wagner, and that was the way coach was referred to by Bunk. He was taught at an early age the importance of “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” “Please” and “Thank you,” and men older than he were referred to as Mister. He always insisted that is how you address any man and show him the respect he deserves regardless of his station in life.

Bunk had a tough exterior, but inside he was as soft as a pillow. His heart was as big as the outdoors! I have seen him enter his office and walk around the waiting room and hug every woman and give them a rose he had picked from outside. He also thanked and shook every man’s hand for being there. He did this every day!

Bunk loved a good story and was a good story teller. We met every Sunday as he got older, and I heard stories about my family (Roberson) that I never knew existed. Bunk did! His favorites were about his four children: Gina, Stephanie, Ainsley and Jim, and later his grandchildren. Ainsley today practices podiatry like her dad and is loved by many.

I can still see his eyes and hear that chuckle. Never have I ever met anyone who enjoyed life and loved people more than Bunk Roberson. He helped many people and never asked for a penny. That type of person is hard to find today, and I wish that our world had more people like Harold Bunk. He was an unforgettable character, but one you only wanted to squeeze and say “Thanks!”

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, NC!

— Harold Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.