Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Brother's Birthday

Sunday will be my brother's birthday. His birthday is one week after my sister's. Her birthday is exactly one week after the New Year. How did that happen? David's daughter was born the day before his birthday. He asked his wife if she could wait just one more day. She could not.

I do not have as many memories of my three years younger brother as I do of my sister. I have heard stories of how he got his name. Mama wanted to name him Paul Dean after her brother and Daddy's brother. Due to the anesthesia she received during the delivery, Mama was still sleeping when Daddy named him David. Aunt Lizzie said she remembers Daddy high-stepping down the hall of the old hospital declaring he was a Junior. How excited he was to have a son.

David was a cute little feller. I always felt protective toward him yet I was often mean to him. I always made him get his immunizations before I got mine. He would say it did not hurt but I thought it did. I remember the same public health nurse gave all of my childhood shots. I may remember her name before I finish this post.

This is the picture Mama said I could wear her
mustard seed pendant if I did not cry when she
fixed my hair. Again...what's up with those
short bangs?
David and I always kissed Mama and Daddy goodnight before going to bed. Daddy would help us say our prayers. We said the one with the "if I should die" part. It was not scary to me. One night Daddy said it was time to hit the sack. David grabbed a screwdriver and began to beat a brown paper bag that was lying in the floor. It was funny then but now I wonder why there was a sack in the floor and why there was a screwdriver lying around.

Mama and Grandma took us to Frontier Land when David was around three years old. Mama sat him beside me and told me to watch after him while we rode a little train around the park. It was fun but when it stopped I could not find Mama. I held tight to my little brother's hand as I searched for her. She was not very far away and thought it was funny that I was about to cry. David was not scared.

Our OKC Grandma with us at Easter
We once lived in an apartment house near the "Y" of Main and Cherry. An old gentleman who lived in one of the apartments sat on the front porch a lot. He knew the neatest trick where he would place his hands on either side of his nose and make a sharp snapping sound as he twisted his nose to the side. It sounds pretty creepy now. A really pretty lady and her husband lived in another one of the apartments. She asked Mama if I could walk with her to take lunch to her husband. I had to pretend to take a nap so David would go to sleep and I could sneak out with her. She held my hand while we walked to an office downtown. Her husband let me spin around in his chair. I was a little embarrassed that she kissed him when we left.

I have a memory I am still ashamed of today. I believe we lived in this same apartment house when I had blood poisoning in my thumb and my Aunt and Uncle came to check on me. I had been playing with a Humpty Dumpty egg shaped toy that fell apart if you dropped it. I remember hiding it in the sofa cushions when I heard my cousins come in. I did not want them to play with my toy. If I ever get another Humpty Dumpty toy, I will share with them.

David once sneezed so hard he burst a vessel in one of his eyes. We were out at the farm and Grandma shooed me away while she tended to him. I thought it was gross. Later he tried to shave a bar of soap and cut his finger so badly Mama had a hard time stemming the blood. I am sure it did not help that I was standing there screaming. Mama yelled at me to get out. I wonder if it was Lifebuoy soap? That is the kind of soap she used to wash my mouth out with when I called David a liar. I think he probably was fibbing.

This is out at the farm. Freda looks like a  little
chicken. Grandma kept her in little dresses.
I remember sharing a toy box with David when we lived in the basement apartment by the college. We found a scary tarantula in the bottom of it. It was trying to climb out. Mama worked in the cafeteria at the college when we lived there. She showed me how to get to Michie school one time and I walked by myself from then on. She took David to work with her. She would tell stories about the funny things he said and how everyone thought he was cute.

We lived on Oakland Street when Mrs. Polly insisted I had to turn in the homework I had left at home. Miss Kraus let my two years older uncle ride someone's bike to get my papers. I thought he rode David's bicycle but I doubt he had one in the first grade. A couple of years later, I had finally ran fast enough to get a swing at recess when someone said my brother was hurt over on the third grade playground. I clung tightly to the chains while insisting it was a trick to get my swing. It was no trick. Daddy had to pick him up and take him to Grandma's house. Since I lost my swing, I was probably not very sympathetic.

Did I tell you how I broke my leg the summer I turned thirteen?  Did I tell you I climbed up a ladder to get to the bottom branch of a tree? Did I also tell you David took the ladder away? Did I mention my leg broke when I jumped out of the tree?

We were living out Flat Rock when David had to drive Mama's Corvair home after I ran over a dog on Highway 359. I was going very slowly and the silly thing just got tangled up under the car. The dog was okay but I was a wreck. Was that in Mama's Corvair or was it Grandpa's old Ford Fairlane? We sort of inherited that old car when its frame was warped after an accident. The engine ran perfectly but the front end pointed ever so slightly toward the center line.

I attempted to make homemade biscuits for supper one night while we were still at Flat Rock. I rolled them out way too flat so they came out of the oven only a half inch high. They were golden brown but inedible. I asked David to take them out with the garbage. He picked up the pan of scraps and asked, "Who threw out the cookies?"

One night he caught a ride home with a guy from school. I remember him coming in the house talking about what a nice guy he was and that he drove a neat old car. I was not interested. A couple of years later this same kid became David's brother in law.

Because every early memory I have of my Mama and Daddy include David, I do remember a lot about him after all. I remember I love my baby brother.


The county health nurse's name was Gladys Simmons - and I did not have to look it up. Locals may correct me if I am wrong.


  1. this was sweet - and full of perfect sibling rivalry memories, too!

  2. The name is correct; who could ever forget walking up those steps, the smell of the courthouse, and the sting of the needle?

  3. What a great post for David's birthday! Love the stories and the pics.

    Thanks for your visits to my blog also. It's great getting to know you thru blogging.

  4. I love this post! It made me laugh out loud more than once.

  5. That's a pic of me when I was 5, at Easter - I remember how scratchy that crinoline was!!! My sis remembers one petticoat I had that you blew up like a bicycle tire!

  6. Wow...I just love reading your memories so much! This was a very interesting post! Lifebuoy, huh? :-) Well, happy birthday, David!