I still see him as . . . maybe 15? But there are lots of years in there, lots of time passed.
He was not a mean boy, but he was a boy. He cut all the hair off of my Barbies, including a Midge doll that belonged to my mother. I think she was more upset about that than I was. He left my bicycle behind my father's truck, and when my father backed over it, I took the whipping for leaving it there even though I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
When he was in the 4th grade, the school bus driver went off and left him. This was not a small thing in a rural area - both of my parents were working, the bus ride was an hour long, and I had no way to let them know he was stranded at the elementary school (this was in 1975, after all). On top of that, the bus driver had said he could go back in the school and get something he forgot, and then left without him. I told her off as I exited the bus.
I went straight to the principal the next morning to report the bus driver, who had already beaten me to the punch, of course. But given the circumstances, I was not punished for my impertinence in defending my sibling.
In high school, I nearly was expelled because some kid was picking on him (he was a freshman, I was a senior), and I jumped on the bully like a goat on a green grass. You just did not pick on my brother if I was around.
After I married, I didn't see so much of him, of course. He was finishing high school, busy dating, and setting himself up to go to work for our father. He married once, divorced, married again, gaining not only a wife but a stepson when he was about 26. He and his wife then had two children of their own.
He was 34 when our mother passed away. Even now, 16 years later, I will never forget the look on his face when I met him in the hospital halls and told him she had pancreatic cancer. Some things burn themselves into your brain.
Every year, even during some rough family times when we were barely speaking, we exchange Christmas presents. It is tradition for us to open the present from each other on Christmas Eve. We didn't break it. Or at least, I didn't. There were a few years I didn't see him on Christmas Eve, so I don't know if he opened whatever I sent him. I hope so.
And now he's 50 years old. He runs a big company, his children are grown, or nearly so. We talk a couple of times a month on the phone.
He's an antique, just like I am. But I will always be older.
|Me with my little brother.|
|Christmas circa 1974, maybe?|
|My brothers' senior picture.|
|My brother at my wedding.|
|My brother last year at his daughter's baptism.|
|My brother last month.|