Growing up with siblings is a magical experience, in hind sight! When it is happening we all wish were the only child! I grew up with 3 brothers. Two older and one younger. It was odd watching the youngest (Byron) grow up. Yes, he was 9 years younger than I was so his growing up was, well – lets just say different. Not different because he was adopted but because by the time he came along Mom and Dad already had experience of two older boys and one angelic girl (ME!!). I remember we had gone fishing and he caught a fish. Dad had to grab the pole that the fish literately tore out of Byron’s hands (he must have been all of 5 years old) Dad let him reel the fish in. Byron was so excited when he got the fish he wouldn’t let it go. He sat in the car with the dead and disgusting thing on his lap petting it like a dog! No, we didn’t eat the fish. If I remember right Mom waited until Byron was in bed and told Dad to take it back down to the lake and toss it in! The car and the camping trailer both smelled of rotten fish for DAYS!!
We also got to go through the learning words like Dam and Damn. When one of the older boys mentioned about going to the Dam to try fishing there. Byron ran right to Mom with the story of “They cussed! They said Dam!” Mom tried to explain the difference to him. For the next month is seemed like he kept saying “Dam – like the water!” just out of the blue. Mom was in the store with him and he just blurted out, in the middle of the store, “Dam” and when Mom gave him the look, that Mom had. He finished in a much quieter tone “like the water!” by this time all the ladies in the store were looking at Mom and I found something very interesting in the vegetable section (I hate vegetables!). Mom once again told him he shouldn’t say it at all…thinking that it would be safer all around – it wasn’t. But that is something we all go through. For Byron saying the word aluminum was almost impossible no matter how many times Mom said “Watch me, aluminum.” For Byron it always came out “AlAlewmimummmm” he did eventually get it right. I think he was about 25. Just kidding but everybody has that one word that just doesn’t come out right. Mine was spaghetti it always came out “Piscatty” it lasted until I was about 10.
From the youngest sibling let us go to the oldest sibling. He was named after my Dad of course.To keep then straight he was called Leslie, his middle name. He was only about 3 years older than me. Which means we usually had the same teachers. With the three older kids it was rather difficult to gauge the aptitude of the sibling. One teacher had Leslie for a required class of “Public Speaking”. The poor teacher spent the entire time trying to get Leslie to say more than one or two words at the same time. Then he saw another Moe on his class list the next year. I am surprised the teacher didn’t just up and retire! The first day of class the teacher learned just how different there were. The poor teacher decided to get it out of the way early. He asked Harvey to stand up in class and describe himself. Harvey’s two favorite subjects talking and himself. The teacher actually had to tell him to sit down – the class was only 50 mins. Side story here – Mom was concerned about Leslie. She asked the doctor about it and he said “Why should he talk? His brother just talks for both of them!” and Harvey did. One picture I found and Mom couldn’t remember which of the boys it was, it was an old black and white of a baby she was holding on her lap. I told her it had to be Harvey, his mouth was open.
OOOPs, veering off the tract here. Let’s get back to teachers. There was one of Leslie’s teachers that was thrilled to see my name on his class schedule. Leslie was the smart one, he had the teacher for Calculus and Trigonometry. I was taking beginning Algebra. Mr. Smith thought he had another genius on his hands. POOR Mr. Smith!! I truly feel sorry to this day that I managed to crush his dream. After about half of the semester he handed out the test ONCE AGAIN with the big red F smack dab in the middle of the page. As he handed it to me he said “See me after class!” I knew I was in for either a lecture or suggestion of a tutor, probably my brother! He shocked me by saying “If I give you a C for this term promise you will never take another of my classes!” I was more than happy to transfer to another math class even thought it was mid term! Strange thing is I spent most of my working life in accounting of one kind or another.
This was the time of budding computer technology. We even had a “Key-Punch” machine in our school. Yep, Leslie was part of the school brain trust. Harvey was in with the football team, as a manager. That let out a lot of the dating pool in High School. Nerds – out, Jocks – out. Who wants to date someone who knows your brother?
I hope you all have siblings as crazy and mixed up as mine. After all the time I spent wishing I was an only child I look back now and think “Where would the fun be in that?” OH, by the way one more perk of having a much younger brother? I got to act like I was taking him to see all the Disney Movies I wanted and no one said a thing!!!