Wednesday, June 03, 2015

A Special Relationship

 Thanks to Gerald So for hosting me at Chatterific!


A number of people I know have siblings with serious ailments. Last December, my brother fell off his roof and was seriously injured. (He is fine now). These things have led me to consider the relationship siblings have. There are very few people, once your parents are gone, who share the memories you share with your siblings. Who else remembers that exact floor plan of your childhood home? Who else remembers special toys you each played with? Childhood vacations, where you sat in church, the spot on the sofa you each claimed, the color of your bedroom, the games you played outside on summer nights, your best friends, the smell in your grandparents' closet, the car you Dad drove in 1965. The trouble you got into and your best traits.

What special memories do you share with  your siblings? Is there anyone else who can remember you as a child? Or that you can remember?. Here's to siblings. Hopefully, you have some that you love.

Tell me about yours.

                                       My brother Jeff is the sweet little girl in the rocker.
I would like to have posted a different picture but I haven't come across the pictures yet. 

28 comments:

George Kelley said...

My three sisters, my brother, and I used to play Cowboys as kids. Our porch was our stagecoach and we'd be constantly threatened by imaginary outlaw gangs. I don't see kids playing like that anymore. Electronic devices absorb all their time now.

Deb said...

So true. Even though both of my parents come from large families and I have at least 30 first cousins, only my brother (3 years younger) and sister (7 years younger) really share the same childhood memories as I have. The funny thing is, even when we disagree about facts (the curtains were purple, no, they were yellow, etc.), we always have the same emotional response to the memory.

Margot Kinberg said...

I'm so pleased your brother survived his accident and is well now, Patti!

pattinase (abbott) said...

In my new neighborhood, George, kids play outside. The summer air is filled with their voices. Also adults are out walking, running, biking. An entirely new experience. It's like I went back in time thirty years.
My brother and I played cowboys all the time. He was supposed to play house when we finished but that never much happened. I can remember him handcuffing me to the railing all the time. And sadly I was three years older!
Yes, Deb, the feeling, the smell is still there.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

My brother is just a year younger than me and even though there was a certain amount of tension always (I was the "good" brother, he wasn't) we did share most things. At least once my mother made us share a birthday (his was 13 days after mine) and it was probably more than that once. My sisters are 10 and 13 years younger so almost a different generation. We do have the bond of remembering various nutty behaviors of my mother over the years.

All of them are on the West Coast (Portland, San Jose, Phoenix) so the closeness isn't there, but on the rare occasions we are all together the memories are there.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yeah, my brother and I see each rarely. Too bad we are so dispersed.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Of course, it wasn't all good. I can still remember when we were living in Queens (we moved to Brooklyn when I was 9) standing in a room talking to my mother when my brother walked into the room and, without a word, punched me in the stomach as hard as he could.

We get along better now.

Jeff M.

Charles Gramlich said...

Only one of my siblings was close enough to my age to be around when I was growing up. That's my brother, Paul David, who was six years old than I was. That big of an age difference meant we didn't hang out much together but I told a lot of stories about him in Adventures of an Arkansawyer.

Kent Morgan said...

I have one sister who is two years younger than me and she remembers stories about my grandparents, parents and our friends when we were growing up. She often mentions something and then says, "Don't you remember that?" My answer usually is a simple no. The funny thing is that when I run into my old school friends after many, many years, they almost always remark about what I remember from the past. Nothing bugs my sister more than when she meets up with somone we both knew from years ago, and they say, "You're Kent's sister." We both attended our small town's 100th anniversary in 2012, and I overheard her saying to a man from her school class, "Don't you dare say that I'm Kent's sister." I guess that's a problem when you are a younger sibling.

John said...

Our imaginative play in the 1970s was inspired by old movies, TV reruns and movies we saw in theaters. My brother and I pretended to be secret agents and played all sorts of adventure style games involving hiding things and looking for them. Often people got "killed" in the process. We made silent horror movies using an 8mm camera my friend owned and cast the girl next door as much put upon victim terrorized by masked murderers wearing leather winter gloves usually played by her little brother. She was a great screamer. Too bad there was no soundtrack. I remember making up a batch of fake blood using food coloring, water and tapioca pudding. We staged re-enactments of disaster movie scenes (like those in The Towering Inferno) in our father's barbecue grill melting plastic toy soldiers on Lego buildings and attempted to do the stunts from The Poseidon Adventure on the monkey bars and jungle gyms at the school playground. Never broke a bone luckily, but got in plenty of trouble for doing any of the above. Never played cowboys and Indians. Never even saw a western movie until I was out of college!

I have three brothers and one sister. I'm number four out of five. Close to only one brother, the youngest in the family. Our family is an odd one. No one really knows how to show or give affection in our family at all. We bond in different ways, through storytelling mostly. Irish heritage has made all of us very good raconteurs. My youngest brother is one of the best. He just makes me laugh and laugh. Surprisingly, for someone who I always thought of as being pragmatic and far from nostalgic my brother now loves to talk about our past and growing up. The both of us still remember teachers, friends and neighbors going all the way back to 1971 (when he was 8 and I was 10), sometimes even earlier.

Al Tucher said...

My sister's book on this very topic:

http://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/happily-sometimes-after

I'm the oldest of five, and only seven years separate oldest from youngest, which means we're becoming crotchety old folks together.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Al-that is so cool. What chaos you must have lived in for years.
I seem to be the only one aside from Kent with a very small family. How different having 3-7 siblings must have been. I think three years apart was a nice gap, especially with the girl the older one.

R.K. Robinson said...

I'm in a two sibling family, my older brother is six years and a day older than I. He was quiet, studious, always had "his nose in a book", while I was full of energy and wanted to run and play outside. We were close because we were brothers, but had no common interests other than I later read what he did - science fiction. He got straight A's in high school, college, grad school, two Masters and a PHD. I was a C student but participated in sports and was popular, with lots of friends. I did finally manage to get a MFA, but it was very hard, while his always seemed to come easy. We have never been very close, see each other maybe once every 5-6 years, if that.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I know an awful lot of people that never really clicked with their siblings, Rick. Sometimes it was an age gap, or an interest gap or a personality gap. So much can go wrong it's a wonder it works well out for some.

Jerry House said...

My brother (14 months younger) and I shared a bedroom but hung out with different kids. We're pretty close now despite the 500 mile separation. He has a nasty habit of sending me banjo jokes and news items about goats. Go figure.

My sister was three years older than I -- a huge gulf when we were young. We became very close later on. She died two years ago and I still miss her. Shortly after my niece had broken up with her boyfriend, she and my brother visited my sister in Florida when Linda was nearing the end of her disease. The three were trying to come up with a suitable description for this despicable cad but were unable to come up with something nasty enough; that's when they telephoned me. (I have few talents, but coming up with a nasty insult is one of them.) When I provided one, Linda laughed and laughed, loudly and at length. She sounded so much like the person I knew and loved. A few days later she was gone.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Funny how you can become so close with people later in life. My mother and I were not that close until she and my Dad moved to Michigan. And then we found all the common interests we didn't talk about on the phone once a week and in two yearly visits. Sad.

jvnase said...

I enjoyed being your younger brother. I say that because I have nothing to compare it to and I liked the fact that you were always in trouble but not me. At least that how I remember it.
Just this week I how school buddy of mine asked if I remember the snowy day that we cut school and spent the day playing poker at my house. He could not remember who our co-conspirators were but supposed that they were probably some guys that took the S bus with us.
While we see each other rarely, I really enjoy each visit.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hi Jeff-I remember a day when I cut school and had some girls over and we drank Dad's rye and filled the bottle with water and food coloring. Yes, I was always in trouble for sure. You were the golden boy.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Jackie isn't happy that she has no relationship at all with her two younger sisters, It's been over a year since she spoke to the "closer" one and more like five since we saw the other one.

My family has always been very competitive about games, especially word games. We give no quarter and if you can't keep up, don't play. But if you can, you're in. Since Jackie is a Scrabble fiend and never had a problem expressing herself she fit right in, and my brother's (ex-)wife was fine too.

Jeff M.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm gonna have an entry for Forgotten books friday This week. I'll try to figure out who I'm supposed to send it to. Maybe I'll get it right for once. :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Me, Charles. I will look for it on your blog.

Dana King said...

My brother is younger, taller, thinner, better looking, more athletic, better with his hands, more patient, a better father, and likely a better husband. I hate him with an abiding passion. It's good we live 1700 miles apart and only see each other once a year or so, or we might rub off on each other, ruining both our reputations.

Todd Mason said...

With somewhere between 100 and 130 first cousins, you'd think I'd kept in better touch with some of them, though I knew only a handful at all well when we were kids (some of my mother's nieces and nephews were or are nearly as old as she).

Meanwhile, my brother is six years and change younger than I, my best friend and housemate is a month older than Eric and we've cohabited for most of the last 19 years (we tend to resemble a married couple as a result, and have for years, more to Alice's occasional dismay than mine--but I would be getting the better end of the deal), and my oldest friends and I (both women) have been in fairly continuous contact for 36 and 33 years, respectively--met one in high school, the other at my graduation party (she's a year older than I). A fair amount of shared history, and it was odd, with my aunt's funeral week before last, to be there mostly for my father's support but also to meet up with some family again and a lot for the first time, and to have some face time with my brother (and help him with various details about his youngest years). Also, my cousins distributed some of my aunt's possessions, including a photo album that has some of the earliest photos of me and of Eric, among others. There are few unmixed situations in this life, are there? (I think I might've gone through slightly worse adventures than Eric did growing up, outside the family, and he had the advantages and possible disadvantages of being the second child of parents trying to figure out how not to be the utter bastards their parents were, but he and his wife have certainly been doing more of the hands-on work with our parents now that they have needed assistance...they in the Silicon ValleyBay Area, me in Phillyland.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Six years is a long gap for most. Maybe two sisters could bridge it but brothers less likely. Good to have one child near the aging parents, which was our thought in moving even closer to our son. It helps him now with babysitting but it will help us later.

Todd Mason said...

Oh, my brother and I are reasonably close...though our parents' situation does keep us in more frequent conversation than we had been as adults previously, after the brief period he lived with my first ex and myself, around 1992.

R.K. Robinson said...

I lie my brother, but always felt inferior to him, because he was the good one and the smart one. Now he has the beginnings of Alzheimer's and I wonder how much longer he'll even know who I am.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am so sorry, Rick. Who knew how this disease would affect almost every one of us?

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