Father’s Day Tribute

anyone lucky enough to have a brother?

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anyone really lucky and have a twin brother?

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anyone even luckier and have a  fraternal twin brother?

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I am going to respect my brothers’s privacy and instead of a name will be referring to my brother as brother.We were born in 1952 which makes us baby boomers and we can now consider our childhood the ‘good ol’ days’.They were. We certainly remember our fathers today-those fortunate enough to still have theirs with them and those whose fathers who are already gone. I just felt i could not overlook a tribute to my brother this year.

He is a brother,an uncle and a Godfather.He is my friend.

If you knew my brother back when you had a pretty good idea he was going to be an exceptional person. He not only studied math and science- he soaked it up. I have to qualify that some because he also worked very hard, to do as well as he did, in those subjects. You can spend your time playing or you can spend your time studying.Brother studied.

Dad used to kid him about growing up to be a garbage collector. It was not meant to be taken seriously.Dad knew better.You could see how proud he was of his son.

We also used to kid him about being an actual rocket scientist one day.He knew from the very beginning-i swear in first grade-that he wanted to be a teacher. We certainly watched cartoons but brothers favorite show was Mr Wizard.* 

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You wanted a toy.Brother wanted a chemistry set.He had one.

I don’t want anyone to get the impression brother was never a kid. We had a wonderful childhood.Mom and dad set up our own little table by theirs where we would eat our meals together.We would get our ‘jammies’ on over the  weekends, then the folks would put down the back seat of the station wagon.We’d head out to the local drive in.

Yes,we would fall asleep in the back before it was over.

We had our little cowboy and cowgirl outfits with guns,hats and boots.We would play cowboys outdoors. Remember, the Westerns were very popular then. Matt Dillon would actually shoot the bad guy.We’d jump all over dad when he came home from work.God forbid though if mom said those famous words to you; “You wait till your father gets home.” It was her way of saying she’d had enough.

Dad also got us a beautiful puppy named Ginger. Somewhere around here I think there’s a photo of brother and me with Ginger.I’ll have to do a mad search for it one day.Dad trained the dog;she wouldn’t touch a bit of dog food until he gave the command. We went to church every Sunday and if you missed because you were sick;you better be sick because you weren’t going to get out of bed to play that day.After Mass we went to the local newsstand where dad got us our favorite comic books, then we’d pass around the local bakery and pick up the best home made donuts. Sure brother remembers those fried donuts with the dark chocolate icing and mom’s favorite-cinnamon bread.

Mom and Dad also got us a set of Encyclopedia Britannica. I can safely bet brother made more use of them than I did. I’m sure that it took some financial sacrifice for the folks to get us the set. Today it is outdated but then it was everything.

Mom and dad were the first in the family to own a tv so all of the relatives gathered in our home to watch;at least once a week that I can recall. That is, until it caught on fire one day.Dad and his brother “Gus” grabbed the set and got it out in the front yard. A bad move that could have turned out terribly but it didn’t. To this day I can picture it charred,black and melted sitting there. It was scary though watching dad carry a burning tv through the house.We didn’t watch tv as much as folks do now though.There just weren’t that many stations.You had 3 news anchors.It was like picking out cereal at the grocery store.No tough decisions there.You only had so many brands.

So brother was exceptional but just as normal as the next kid. We played outdoors.We played baseball.We went to the playground in the summer and grandma would holler at us to come in.I think we pretended we didn’t hear her.

One of the people my brother hung around with a lot & that he admired was our older cousin down the street.He and brother would talk science almost as equals.Cousin also had a chemistry set and it was the cause of an accident that would cost our cousin some fingers and much pain.He was experimenting up in his 2nd story bedroom when there was an explosion.Aunt called mom on the phone just beside herself in a panic. The windows had blown out and the glass embedded in his face. It taught my brother a good lesson to be cautious.

In his junior year of high school brother was selected to attend Cornell University.I can’t recall all the details but it was the beginning of his higher education.

Meanwhile he was taking every Math course they had in high school. One incident with his geometry teacher became a high school legend of sorts. The teacher put a problem up on the blackboard and announced to the class it was a problem that did not have a solution.My brother took issue and said yes it could-and  he did.

Brother eventually took his SAT’s-got a perfect score- between that and his grades he had his  pick of schools he could attend.Away he went, getting some scholarships plus taking a job in the cafeteria to help pay his way.He pursued his dream of becoming a teacher.He would spend years in school when it was all said and done. You figure grade school 1-8,4 yr of high school, the time at Cornell,getting his masters,summer tutoring and all his years teaching ,that’s a lot of years in school. He finally retired & deserved to.

*Absolutely no comparison,  thank God,to the idiot Bill Nye-NOT the science guy.

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