Today is my oldest brother's birthday. If I had to choose one word to describe my brother Tommy it would be motivated. Tommy always seemed to me to be a go-getter. Tom would set a goal for himself, and then he would avidly seek it. He may not have always attained it, but his determination throughout the pursuit was tenacious. I've always admired his dogged persistence.
Tommy is seven years older than I am, and we weren't particularly close growing up due to our age difference. We certainly didn't share the same friends, and I think to this day our interest lie in different areas. Tom worked hard to achieve a successful career and a prestigious position as a union representative which keeps him busy traveling and hob-nobbing with big shots and politicians. My position consists of hearth and home. But we both have a shared past, and we share a deep abiding love of that past. Our memories differ in that he was older, and most of his childhood experiences were involved more with my second oldest brother John, while most of my childhood memories are shared with my sisters.
It's funny the things that stick in your mind though. I remember both my older brothers playing football, I can still see them in their football uniforms. I remember them playing handball and stickball in the street, I remember that they hung out with a nice group of neighborhood kids, and I remember that it was a big group of neighborhood kids. I remember that Tommy was smart, I remember that he made me laugh a lot, and I remember that I could make him laugh too.
I remember when he got his first job that he was very generous to me. I remember if I wanted something, I went to Tommy and asked him to buy it for me, and he never refused. In particular I remember when I was about twelve, there was a pair of shoes in the window of Thom McCann's that I wanted, and I asked Tommy for the money (they were fifteen dollars which was a lot of money back then!), Tom not only gave me the money to buy them, he also gave me the car fare!
I remember Tom always used to say to us younger kids "I'll buy if you fly." He was talking about treating us all to Carvel ice cream, if we would walk there and buy it, he would foot the bill! I don't remember how often he treated, but it seemed like a lot, so I'd say it was at least once a week for quite awhile.
I remember reading in his graduation autograph book that 'Moon River' was his favorite song, and I remember being happy that we shared a favorite, for at that time it was my favorite song.
I remember my Mom telling me the story of Tom's first day of school in Kindergarten, she said that she peeked in the window and Tommy was building with some blocks and another boy came over and knocked them all down and started taking the blocks away, she said Tom just backed off and watched the boy play with them then. My Mom said Tommy went over to play with some cars, and the same boy came and took them away from him, and Tommy just stood and put his hands behind his back and watched the boy play with the cars.
Tom, if you're reading here, do you remember that day, that incident? I wonder if that event had something to do with your career choice, sticking up for 'the trod upon'?
I remember being so sad when Tom joined the Marines, and I remember that nothing at home really seemed the same after that anymore. By the time he came home two years later my brother John had joined the Army and was in Viet Nam, and soon after John came home Tom got married and moved out, and then my sister Marybeth married and moved out, and then it was my turn. Thinking back, Tom leaving for the Marines marked a turning point not only in my life but in the life of our family and our home.
Tom moved away from our hometown many years ago, and for years he lived out in Colorado, a few years ago his job relocated him and his family back to the east coast, but he still lives about five hours away by car. When my Mom and Dad were ill, he would make the drive up here on weekends once in awhile. It was always good to catch up with each other and to reminisce about the past.
Our visits now are infrequent, and we're not involved in each other's daily lives, but we have grown closer over the last few years, and we keep in touch through e-mail, and he's good about phoning everyone. My sister said she just spoke with him yesterday and he said he'd be up our way in a few weeks, he'll be driving his two grandsons up to spend a week or two with my sister-in-law (his ex-wife), it will be nice to see the boys and spend some time with them as we don't get to see them that often either.
My sister also told me that she told Tom about my blog, so Tom if you are reading this ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
You have always been very good to me and I love you very much! Enjoy your special day!
5 weeks ago