rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,
rejectomorph
flying_blind

Reset Thirty-Four, Day Thirteen

My older brother passed away Monday morning, never having regained consciousness after suffering a stroke Saturday evening. As I spent several years looking after my parents while they endured seriously debilitating conditions during their long declines, I can be grateful that he went quickly, though I will miss him. Spending years enfeebled and incapacitated is something we both hoped to avoid and he, at least, has done that. I only wish it could have been delayed a few years longer. The whole family has relied on him as a problem solver who was always ready to help.

As he was already eight years old when I was born, we didn't do much together. By the time I was old enough to be aware of my surroundings he was infrequently part of them. He would come home from school and shortly after be off to be with his friends, coming home only for dinner, and soon after that it would be my bedtime. When I was six we moved, and the new house had a room behind the garage that he soon claimed as his own. He would be in the garage with his friends, working on cars or motorcycles, while I would be in the yard building cities out of sticks or in the house with a book. Too, he had a series of jobs, so he could afford the cars and motorcycles, which kept him away much of the time.

When I was ten he joined the Navy and was away for most of the next few years, and almost as soon as he returned he got married and started his own family, and not long after that moved to another city and then another state, so we saw each other quite infrequently until 1986, when we all ended up in Butte County. But even then we spent little time together, and that usually with other family members. Thinking back now, we probably never spent more than a few dozen hours alone together in our entire lives. He was always active, doing something, and I tended to be quiet and contemplative. We were quite different in most ways.

Still, there are a few moments that stand out in my memory. When I was about four or five, Cheerios came out with a series of buildings for a western town printed on the backs of their packages. I was too young to be cutting things out, so he cut them for me and assembled them. I was always impressed by how deftly and neatly he could do such things. Sometimes I would watch him assemble and paint model airplanes or cars, skills I was never able to master with any facility. I also remember a day when he took me to an air show in Pomona, and we spent the afternoon watching aerobatics displays and looking at various aircraft that were on display, about which he was very knowledgeable. And I recall the time I wanted to buy some maps I had heard about in Pasadena, and he volunteered to drive me, and then we spent a few hours poking around in the thrift shops that occupied several blocks in the old part of town. He always seemed to notice details that I missed, so it was an interesting adventure.

But the thing I most often recall was when I was very young and he had an electric steel guitar and was getting lessons. He would practice in the living room, and as I loved music I never tired of listening, even though he never got very good at it. He didn't keep up the lessons, though, being more interested in cars and engines, and quit playing when he was about fifteen. For a while I thought my mom might send me to the guitar teacher, but she decided to give the guitar to her sister's son, my cousin who showed interest in having a musical career. I went back to my books, and my brother went out to the garage to assemble and disassemble motors. But while he had been studying guitar, my brother listened to a lot of guitar music, and his favorite guitarist, not surprisingly in those days, was Les Paul. One thing we had in common was that we both enjoyed Les Paul and Mary Ford, so it seems fitting that I should post this song they recorded in 1953. Vaya con Dios, big brother.

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    After waking up before noon Thursday, then needing to sleep again not long after sunset, I finally woke up about two o'clock this morning and got the…

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