Monday, May 18, 2009

Big Brothers

Being the second of five, with one older brother and three younger sisters, has its advantages and disadvantages. But, from my present perspective, having a big brother has been a good thing. I did not always feel that way, though.

When we were really young we did some things together: rock fights with the Coon boys, climbing apple trees with the Whipple boys, playing in the woods, playing army or cowboys and indians, etc. At this time, our arguments went something like this, "I got you! No, you didn't! Yes, I did! You missed!"
As we got a little older we had some of the same interests, such as: building model cars, camping in the woods, blowing up model cars with firecrackers, shooting plastic army men with BB guns, racing the go-cart, etc. But, as Ron grew tall and I stayed short, there seemed to develop more of a gap between us than just our age. He began to do more grown-up things, or at least teenage things, and I was still a boy. I grew jealous and resentment developed. We ended up not getting along very well for a period of time, having fights and arguments. One argument, which I started, resulted in each of us breaking the other's model cars. That was the end of that era, as neither one of us ever made another.

At the time, I did not believe this was my fault, but looking back, I am sure that it was. I wanted to be like Ron, to be able to do what he was able to do, and I could not. Some of this continued into our teens. Ron was a senior in high school when I was a freshman. Being very small for my age (4'5" when I began high school), I got picked on a lot by juniors and seniors. But, soon, I found that being Ron's little brother had some advantages. He was popular, athletic and had a good reputation at school. As people began to realize that we were related, it helped my situation. By the time he went to college and I started my sophomore year, most of the teachers and students knew me and most got along with me.

There were a few exceptions to good relationships with other students. Most of these seemed to be older boys who had also been small for their age and probably had been picked on. So, now that they were older, they were looking for a target to take out some frustration. These usually did not turn into anything big and did not last very long. But, there was one senior who was an exception to why others picked on me. His name was Paul and he was also a lot larger than I, he was very athletic and strong and he was popular. I never have figured out why he chose me as a target for unrelenting harassment, but he did. Even though I had grown 12 inches during my freshman year, I was still small (95 pounds). He did not just tease me, he treated me as though he was mad at me as if I had been mean to his dog, or something. This went on for a few months. Finally, I got tired of it and stood up to him. He used that as an excuse to physically attack me, picking me up and throwing me across the room. Then, all of a sudden, during the spring, it all stopped. I did not know why, but I was glad.

It wasn't until many years later that I found out why it stopped. Even though I had kept the situation to myself, at home, somehow Ron found out what Paul was doing to me. When Ron came home from college for spring break or Easter, he confronted Paul over all of this. That is what saved me.

Another important event between Ron and I happened on the 7th green during a round of golf. He may not remember this, but I still do. I was frustrated after some bad shots, then missed a putt, and I consciously cussed out loud. I believe it was the d--- word. I, in a way, was testing him to see what his reaction would be to me cussing. He got after me, told me to never do that again and he did not talk to me the rest of the game. That made an impression and helped me keep a clean mouth.

When I weigh the pros and cons of being a little brother, I have to say that the pros tip the scale. Once Ron went to college, it seems that we have gotten along very well ever since. We saw less of each other, but I believe that one of the main changes was that I grew up a little. Being a little brother is not all bad! Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. We want to know how you found out about Paul? Ronnie says he never told you. What a nice post! I knew there was a reason you were my husband's favorite brother!