Sunday, April 12, 2009

The "big" sister

I was just shy of three years old when my younger brother, Jerry, was born. I only remember things that my mom has told me over the years, but I remember some of the details in a hazy fog as if I really do remember them.

My mom has told me that as she prepared me to accept a new baby into the family, she'd tell me that she was going to go to the hospital to bring me back a new baby. In the hazy fog, I see myself sitting on the curb of the street with my older siblings, waiting for the car to arrive carrying my mom and "MY" baby.

I'd get up every few minutes and look up the street and then down the street, searching for the car. Once it did pull up into the driveway, all I could think of was getting my baby. When my mom got out of the car, I marched up to her and said something to the effect that OK, she was home now... where was my baby???

If you were to look at pictures of my brother Jerry as a small child, you would not have believed he was really part of my family, or maybe that I was part of his. I was a tow-headed blonde and he had hair that was so black it was nearly blue. We both had the same set of parents but he had inherited the Indian coloring and hair. I had inherited the European coloring and hair, although I had been born with black hair (that's a different story). My parents both had black hair (my mom's was also the blue-black) and they were also part Cherokee Indian (and my dad was also part Mohawk). I got high cheekbones - and that's it.

Jerry got long, dark, flowing hair - with curls, even. Talk about jealous... (but I have more hair today than he does, so I guess we're even ). My dad coached little league baseball for my older brothers and one of the other fathers used to call Jerry "Geronimo" every time he talked to him.

Jerry was also blessed with a lovely tan and he just got darker and darker as the summer progressed. There was more than one instance in his early life that my mom had to prove she was his mother and not trying to kidnap him out of a store. One time in probably 1962 or so, my sister Kathy (a redhead) took me (the blonde) and Jerry (the Indian) to the restroom at the ball park where my older brother was playing. As we headed back to the bleachers, we were stopped by a police officer. He wanted to know what Kathy was doing with the "black" child (although you know that's not how he referred to him) and where was she taking him. He did not believe that we were all biological siblings and made Kathy take him to my mother.

My mother took exception to his attitude and expressed to him that she was indeed the mother of all three and that my dad was indeed the father. When the officer saw my dad, he tipped his hat, apologized, and left. I guess if he really doubted who belonged in the family, it should have been me. LOL - I was very light. Kathy wasn't much darker with her auburn hair and freckles.

Jerry was also pretty spoiled, although he doesn't like to admit it. (Do any of us?) We have proof on video at Christmas right after he turned two. Since it's a silent movie, it's hard to tell exactly what happened, but the gist of it is "what's mine is mine and what's yours is also mine." My brothers, Rick and Rob, had gotten toy guns as gifts and they were busy playing cowboys and Indians. Jerry had gotten age-appropriate items, including a huge stuffed giraffe that he had cried and cried for on a recent trip to the store. The giraffe is sitting beside him on the floor, and he is melting with tears and sadness - with one hand reaching out in a pitiful gesture. Someone finally figured out that he wanted one of the guns, so one of my brothers surrendered his. Jerry was fine momentarily and then started all over again. It wasn't until he had both guns on the floor beside him - along with the giraffe - that he was content.

I don't remember what happened to those guns or that giraffe.

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