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SWEET & SOUR UNCLE by Jim Little


by Jim Little

234 pages
A love story like no other. A love that survived impossible obstacles and challenges. A dark journey into dementia and confusion. A story about difficulties caregivers may face and be prepared for.

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Category: Autobiography
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About the Book
This is a love story that spans over a sixty-eight-year period. Some of this time was unrequited love for a painful twenty-eight years and also a happy time of reconciliation. The main character of the story is Ralph H. Little (1908-1999).

He pursued the “Love of his life,” Freda, for all of his adult live. A log house in the Oregon woods defines Ralph more than anything else in his life. He was told during the courtship of Freda that one condition of marriage was the building of a log house on her father’s 180-acre, Oregon homestead.

Logs were cut by hand and hauled to the construction site by horses. The log house was built not only with hard work and sweat, by “Uncle” Ralph, but primarily with love for his beloved Freda.

Ralph suffered betrayal and the loss of Freda. After 28 dark and lonely years Freda returned after she suffered a betrayal in her life. There was a happy remarriage and almost immediately Freda suffered illness and became bed-ridden. Freda was expected to live for only six months. Ralph lived out his marriage vows by nursing Freda for 13 years beyond the time she was expected to live.

Following the death of Freda, Ralph began showing signs of dementia. He pleaded with his nephew and niece, who became his caregivers, to help him stay in his log house, for as long as possible. He often said, "I will have to be handcuffed to leave this house." Sadly it eventually came to pass that is exactly what happened.

This story is also about those, “sweet and sour times”, and the resulting family relationships and legal issues often faced by caregivers.


A must read for anyone with elderly family members. Sweet and Sour Uncle is both inspiring and sad, a book anyone with elderly parents or relatives should read. I wish my wife and I had been able to read it twenty years ago, for we traveled a similar path similar to the author’s, and the insights contained in this story would have helped us understand what was happening. Dementia (including Alzheimer’s) is a group of diseases that slowly and silently begin to change a person’s mind. Like the author and his wife, at first, we did not realize what was happening and what was in our future. Uncle Ralph’s early signs and subsequent downward spiral provides the reader an understanding of what to look for, what to expect as the condition worsens, and the ethical and legal entanglements that may result.
- – Lee Boyland, award winning author of The Rings of Allah, Behold, an Ashen Horse, America Reborn, Pirates and Cartels, Triple Threat, Deep State Sedition, and Revolution 2016: Take back America.


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About the Author
Jim Little A retired US Navy Officer with 30 years active duty 1960-1991. Author of Brotherhood of Doom: Memoirs of a Navy Nuclear Weaponsman. He is an advocate for veterans and veteran causes. For 10 years he and his wife became the caregivers of their uncle who was stricken with dementia.



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