He was told long ago about how his brother wanted to feed him some bacon in his crib. He must of been a few months old, three years smaller than his big brother. Their mother had to rush in to save the him from choking to death. His brother was perplexed. ” I only wanted to feed him mommy. He looked hungry.”
It was just the two of them as the years progressed. He worshipped his Brudda as he referred to him during his youth. He was treated most probably how many other younger brothers were treated when it was just the two of them sharing one bedroom, and later on one desk in their parents’ apartment. They were familial adversaries, each wanting to get his own way inside the apartment… or the bathroom or bedroom. They never really played with each other, as the three years could be a demarcation , a literal ‘ No man’s land’. Each had his own friends and hobbies and even likes and dislikes… especially from the boob tube. They would ‘ meet up’ either at the kitchen table for dinner, or in their small bedroom where each one played with his own toys and games. Out on the streets the two never crossed paths, except when school was out for the day, or when Mom called them in for dinner.
There was one time, when the family had to move into a new neighborhood, when the boys drew closer… for but a brief period. He must have been 10, his brother 13, and they felt like prisoners. He could recall how the two of them would play up in the new bedroom, or out on the street. It was autumn and football was the thing. They walked down the block and saw a nice lawn of fresh cut green grass in front of a house. Little Brudda made up this game, calling it ‘ Knee football’. They played this game of tackle on their knees, using the little patch of grass as their stadium. It was so much fun that he wanted to go and do it again a day or two later. Too late… his Brudda had made a new friend at school who lived nearby. The respite ended as quickly as it came.
Throughout the years they continued to share one bedroom, right up until his brother moved out at age 21. There was one shining moment ( for him ) when the two of them decided to take a car trip to Florida for 1971 Christmas recess. Since his brother’s Volkswagen Beetle was too old and he did not yet learn how to drive a stick shift, they took a lark with a ‘ Drive Away’ company in NYC. They were given a car to drive down to Florida and deliver to a customer’s home. All it cost them was the expense of gas and tolls etc. They were lucky to secure a 1968 Buick LeSabre, just three years old with low mileage. This 8 cylinder monster just flew down I 95. Before they hit Florida, the two of them picked up a kid hitchhiking in South Carolina. The kid wore all the typical hippie garb, replete with long hair tucked inside of a cowboy hat. When they arrived in Georgia they needed gas, food and drink. They pulled into this small town a few miles off the highway and found a gas station. While pumping gas the three of them could just inhale the bad vibes coming from the motorists pulling into the station. They decided to skip the food stop, grabbed some Cokes from the vending machine and got the hell out of dodge.
For years he looked up to his big Brudda. They did not always agree on things, but the love was there. When his brother moved to Oakland, California in ‘ 73 they did not keep much in contact. It wasn’t him so much, as his brother had a new wife and was very active in the radical Teamsters movement. To lay it out, his big Brudda was a dedicated Marxist ( Trotskyist to be exact) and ‘ Walked the walk’ as a lower level warehouse worker, despite graduating from prestigious Brooklyn College Cum laude. This was a role model that few guys could say about their older brother. Being three years his senior, Big Brudda acted like the Buddha on any subject of political or social importance. He sure learned a great deal from him. Sadly, when it came to things of an esoteric or shall we say metaphysical nature, his Big Brudda was a total nonbeliever. If his look into science did not validate any such new age philosophies ( which were in reality ancient studies and teachings) his brother dismissed all of them. No room in his Marxist kitchen for reincarnation, astrology , prophecies and of course any sort of religious teachings. So, the two of them could not even discuss such things, as Big Brudda would just cut his little brother off every single time. Sad. At least the two of them saw through this empire and its trappings- Big Brudda the ‘ All or nothing’ Marxist, and Little Brudda ,the sincere socialist. They did and do have some basis for agreement.
Age does catch up to us all. The two brothers, now in their 70s, communicate more than ever before. It seems the ‘ Wheel of life’ works this way… and the Little Brudda is sure glad about that.
A very realistic,touching and poignant portrayal of the relationship between 2 brothers through the years .I am convinced that readers will recognize much in their own brotherly reminiscings.
well said sir. I don’t know if we ever met, but you are on a similar wavelength.
Poignant description of real life. It’s nice how time and maturity work to bring people back together after a long hiatus