Friday, October 29, 2010

My Great Good Fortune: a new brother when I was fifteen

       Yes that's right! I had a new brother when I was fifteen and it was a major good fortune in my life.

      I began thinking about this situation after I had talked to a friend who was born three weeks before her brother finished high school. He did not handle it well as he was knocked off his perch as top dog in the family. He became permanently estranged from his family. I thought how sad! How much was missed.

      I began to think then that I was very fortunate as we found our new brother to be the best thing since candy.

     Now I have to back up a bit. My sister died very suddenly and unexpectedly from illness when she was eleven and I was thirteen. This loss was devastating  to my Mom and Dad. In the mid 1950's it was considered that a replacement child would be a proper solution for the loss of a child. So at age forty my mother became pregnant and delivered a beautiful healthy little boy on Valentine's Day. So surprise to Mom and Dad as they had really hoped to have a daughter. This surprise was not noticed for a second as the family were all overjoyed at the new baby.

    As you remember, this was an isolated farm so Mom had left a couple of weeks before the baby was due and came home when the weather and roads allowed. It was a great day at our house when David arrived home. Mom showed the three if us our new brother and I remember being very touched by this small new person who had become a member of our household. Mom involved us in David's care from the first day. We thought it was a big deal to hold David, feed him and oh yes change him. I'm afraid to admit that he was a bit of a toy and as a result he received a tremendous amount of attention. It was good for all of us as we had something which allowed us to grow and David received more attention than most other infants and I'm sure he felt that he was wanted and appreciated. This was a good situation for our Mom as being an older mother and still having a busy household to look after, some willing hands to look after a new baby would have been great for her.

     As everybody knows little people grow and develop very quickly. David always had people to play with him and keep him company. There were no children in our district who were David's age so his older brothers were his playmates. We put big old cowboy hats on him and told him his name was "Tex". When we asked him what his name was he would say "Tex" and we were all amused . In fact it was worse than that. His middle name was Calvin and when he was little he couldn't say Calvin. He said"Calman" so there was more amusement at David's expense. These antics were continuous.

     David did give me one of the biggest frights in my life. When He was about two Mom had put him outside to play. He would usually stay right around the house and she would keep her eye on him. She couldn't see him so she told me to go out and check on him. We had had a heavy spring snow storm. It was easy to follow his tracks in the snow. I found him in the ditch by the road. There had been water in the ditch and it had snowed so heavily that the snow covered the water. David didn't realize this and so kept on walking until he toppled over face down into the wet slushy snow. When I saw him face down  I was terrified as I thought he had drowned. I waded in and picked him up and he was fine but very wet.

     All too soon I left the home as I went to Teacher's College in the city so I only lived with him for a little more than two years. My two other brothers soon left so much of David's life was as an only child. He was very good for Mom and Dad as he was very laid back and agreeable. He got along with adults very well. Our ninety year old grandfather lived with us for six months of each year. I think grandpa appreciated his youngest grand son and they certainly spent time together. One time they were arguing a bit so Mom went to see what was going on. They had a small child's book that was upside down and they had a disagreement about the rabbit. Grandpa said it was a jackrabbit and David insisted it was Peter Rabbit. Grandpa was talking in German and David was talking in English. Apparently that is how we communicated with Grandpa, but I don't remember doing that.

    I regret that I missed being in the home when David grew up. However, it just doesn't work that way. The short time I lived with him was rewarding and I couldn't see life without his presence and all the experiences afforded us for personal growth and development. 


Dave many years later moving forward but not into the lake.