Celebrating my brother Kurt, chapter 1
The only way to know what it means to be a brother is to have one and experience for oneself the ups and downs of brotherhood. I am thankful I have three and was able to get to know one, my brother Kurt, the source of all I know about the curse and blessing relationships of any kind have to offer.
I was born on August 18th and Kurt less than a year later on August 13th. In a lot of ways we were inseparable in our early years. We slept in the same bedroom up stairs on the left side of the stairs. I was always on the right side by the window and he was on the left. I was constantly getting in trouble, while Kurt tended to be more passive. One of the times he did get in trouble mom accidentally hit me with her hair brush, she would tell me it was meant for Kurt. To this day I do not know if he ever got disciplined, maybe it was my duty to want to protect him because intuitively knew something was not right.
Kurt was the outdoors to my indoors. He was forever getting involved in some sports activity and he was as it turned out better in sports than I was. My only comeback is that I could wrestle him, because Kurt was not one to fight. And if he hit with a snow ball for example(he was a great shot). I would out endure him and find a way to shove his face in the snow. In neighborhood sports activity he would be among the first chosen and I was among the last. I felt humiliated. When I got in trouble in third grade I was sent to his first grade class because I was too much of a baby. It was at this time sibling rivalry began and I imagine still lives on in me even though he is dead.
When it came time for baseball try outs he was in the big leagues as one of the better pitchers/shortstops. I was the one who struck out with the bases loaded. Something had to give. It hurt too bad within me. As time would go on he would run faster, swim better and more easily make friends. He was the first to work a paper route with an older kid called Beaver. I was spending money as fast as I got it. He saved his. Jealousy was ever present. In my mind he was mom's favorite. Even in doing chores he did them better. And at dinner table it was remarked at how good he cleaned the chicken off the bone.
Being close in age meant that we went a lot of places together with our grandparents, every summer or as holidays presented themselves. We loved our time with papa, playing tennis, frizbee, fishing(digging for worms), hunting(hiking in the woods. We would go skinny dipping with papa, hoping no girls found us at the swimming hole. We loved to eat at a place called Connie's. Life was good in every way. One of the more pleasant memories was being at Uncle Alan's as we listened to a funny tape called the farting contest. One of bigger trips together was going to Quebec with nana and papa. At one time we went to a swimming pool where there were women topless. I tired easy and rested at our motel while papa and my brother enjoyed their swim.
These times together kept us close. In the backyard we would sleep out in the tent and have sleeping bag fights leading to the tent toppling. It was fun to have friends over. We shared a lot of the same friends. There were all manner of adventures including getting covered in mud, at a place us kids called the farm. It was a place fraught with danger. One never knew if the man would shoot us with rock salt for trespassing. We still went and I could not get the water off when I worked hard to clean our clothes so we did not get spanked. We survived. We had lots of fun times. Our birthdays were celebrated together, we were both in bowling leagues and loved to get whoppers to eat after bowling. These were the good old days that one wished could last forever. We had our differences and yet we knew together we would have fun to span a lifetime.
As we got older adolescence would kick in. Kurt liked girls that I could only gawk at. His development was ahead of mine. He had trouble with school and could be found doing his homework for him to keep him out of trouble. It was the least I could do. Compared to him I was socially backward and uncoordinated. I felt my only way to compensate was doing good in school. Little did I know this would be the occasion for us moving further apart. I will talk about this in my next chapter.