Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Brothers

Yesterday, my mom told me a story about painting the walls in our bedroom when I was a kid.  We lived in Carpentersville, Illinois, in a small home.  Back then there were four of us: mom, dad, my older brother, and me.  My brother was two or three years old when we moved into that house.  I was one.  The previous owners painted the walls in the bedroom I shared with my brother a fluorescent aquamarine.  It took three coats of paint for my parents to cover the offending color.  Shortly afterwards, they discovered that one of the two of us had taken a ballpoint pen and drawn a huge bull’s eye target on the wall.  Try as they might, they could not wash it away. 

“Which one of us did it?” I asked her.

“Oh, probably your brother,” she replied.  “We never truly found out, but you were too young to have done it.”


That confirms something I have maintained for a long time.  My brothers gave my parents a lot of grief.   It’s quite common for me to be telling my mom a story about the latest antics of my three children only to have her say something along the lines of, “Oh, I remember a young fella who did that…”  I always remind her that I am well aware of how difficult it was to raise my two brothers, but it seems like she never quite believes me.

Maybe it was all the time I spent jumping from garage roof to garage roof during my lunch break on school days. Houses on the north side of Chicago were built so close together that you could hop from garage roof to garage roof up and down the block, as opposed to using sidewalks. That was back when lunch was an hour long and you could walk home to eat.  Maybe it was all the times I grabbed a car or trunk bumper during the winter and “skitched a ride” (sometimes called “skeetching,” or “hooky-bobbing” if you’re from the northern states) to school in the morning.  Could have been all the soda bottles I lifted from people’s back porches so that I could return them for the dime deposit. Ah, those were the days.  An eight pack of soda bottles could buy a lot of penny candy!

Still, I didn’t throw the baseball through the window on the back porch.  I wasn’t the kid who locked his brand new bike to the backstop at school and left it for two days, even though mom said it would be stolen by Monday morning.  Someone enjoyed riding a nice new bike, but it wasn’t my brother.  I wasn’t the kid who rode on the front end of a friend’s car and broke his collar bone jumping off.   I knew how to land that jump.

Time has a wonderful way of turning stupid childhood stunts into fond memories.  It blunts the edge of a parent’s anger, frustration, or worry and turns it into a smile.  I’m blessed to still be able to share those smiles with my parents. 

1 comment:

Michelle said...

So glad that your back in the blogging world. Missed your blogs. Tell the Boss hello.