I have two brothers, both older, we are separated by four years, so the eldest is 50. Shit, that sounds old, but in a lot of ways, his lifestyle would suggest that he’s the youngest among the three of us, so carefree and laissez-faire. Not the kind of life I want for myself though. With that carefree attitude comes a lot of uncertainty and that I wouldn’t be able to handle alone, at least not when I have a kid at home. Not good or bad, just different. Important to remember.
It’s interesting to me when I speak to others about my brothers. I’ve noticed that I often get asked if I have siblings and their names, ages, where they live, work, etc. And then the question often leads to, are you close to your brothers?
I never know how to respond. How does the general population define “close” anyway?
Maybe if I was close, I’d just know and instinctively respond with a resounding yes!
I have many childhood memories of my brothers. I remember playing in the barn where we kept the hay and there was a very rudamentary ladder to get up to the loft, which I was too scared to climb or go down on my own. I remember being on my brother Robert’s back as he climbed down the ladder and I must have panicked mid-climb because I recall ripping his shirt, one of his favourite plaid shirts nonetheless. He was so mad at me. So mad.
Speaking of mad, as kids, we called my brother Robert by the name Bobby right up until the day he decided that wasn’t going to work for him anymore. Seriously, do you know how hard it is for a little kid to stop calling her brother by the only name she’s ever known? Reeeeeeaaaaallly hard. He didn’t like that when I would forget and call him Bobby. No, sir. I learned that the hard way as he’d glare back at me.
I recall one Easter my brother Sean and I slept in my closet, yes, my closet. We piled our blankets inside. Not sure why we chose the closet, but I recall feeling very happy that my brother was choosing to spend time with me!
I remember my brother Robert almost died when he was 15. He was electrocuted after touching a power line that was running through our back yard. He had been picking apples that day, I was in the front yard with my mother picking pears. I still have this vague, blurred image of me and my mom walking to the backyard and finding my brother hanging in the tree, his body flailing. After that, I don’t remember what happened that day and even the months following the accident. I don’t recall my parents going to the hospital or spending nights home without my parents or receiving updates on how my brother was doing. I know he suffered many burns on his body, almost died, and went through a lot of physiotherapy. He had a very difficult youth and for a number of a reasons, not just related to his health. He’s a strong guy, my brother Bobby.
I remember my brother Sean went to high school in Ottawa for a number of years. He was identified as being gifted, so my parents enrolled him in an enriched program. The thing is, the school was about a 40-minute drive away from our home, so his school bus would pick him up shortly after 7 am each day. On many occasions my brother would be running late and narrowly missing his bus. One time, he ran out of the house to grab his bus and he wasn’t wearing a shirt, just his winter coat. That was 30 yrs ago and still to this day, I don’t know if he had brought a shirt, possibly found a shirt, stole a shirt – I bet he doesn’t even remember!
I also remember he had this anti-drug t-shirt and my mom was so proud to tell everyone he was a drug-free kid like it was a lifestyle that he promoted by wearing this t-shirt, a stance he was taking as a conscientious teen! Meanwhile, I think he did drugs in high school – it was probably for the irony. I always felt badly for my mom for that, she was probably the last to know.
I also remember the time my brother Sean found my journal in which I had essentially written down all of the names of his friends and I had written hearts around each of them. I was in grade 9, so my brother would likely have been in grade 12 at that time. So yes, I was in love with each of them, some more than others. They didn’t know this, but I do know that my brother did not appreciate finding this information and ordered me to cease and desist.
Sooooo many memories …do you have siblings?
Do you have a favourite memory you can share?