With brother #1 going into the hospital, I was prepared to be upset but not this emotional. I’ve actually been on the edge of tears several times (I blame it all on my period!)

Brother #1 and I were very close growing up because we’re only 10 months apart age-wise (he’s older) and for the first 3 years, we were out on a farm with no one our age nearby. We even shared the same imaginary friend. Unfortunately, Carky stayed on the farm when we moved.

There were lots of kids living right around our new house in Montclair, most of them on the street below ours. One was sitting on our front steps when we first pulled in. There is a lane right beside our house that led down to Clinton Avenue where we’d disappear for hours at a time. Guys, girls – it didn’t matter – we all played together and brother #1 and I were a package deal. There was one time in 1st or 2nd grade where one of the boys had a boys only party and I was devastated because he went without me.

We were in the same grades at school – sometimes they split us into separate classes, sometimes not, but we always met to walk home together. When anyone picked on one, the other was there for protection. That sounds like we got into fights all the time which is so not true. There is only one time I remember – a kid started picking on me and brother #1 stepped in, which transferred the kid’s attention to him, at which point I came back swinging my cardigan sweater over my head and wound up hitting the kid in the nose with the big old buttons and giving him a nose bleed. We were a formidable couple of hooligans, let me tell you!
We used to get into tons of trouble together. We would take my parents cigarettes and try to smoke them and usually wind up setting fire to the grass in the back yard. We’d make my younger sister, Helen, eat mud. As we got older, we’d steal street signs, although that was mostly in high school and there was alcohol involved. In 6th & 7th grades, we were bussed to a school further away. We hated riding the bus so we’d walk to school, getting there 30-45 minutes late every day. No matter what happened with us, and the four brothers and sisters that followed us, we almost never broke ranks and told on one another. There has been only one time that I’ve involved my parents in something that was happening with we 6, and it still bothers me that I had to tell them. Take note parents out there – it is a we vs. them barrier and you are now the them. I love my parents dearly, but there are still secrets that I keep for my siblings.
In 8th grade, my parents pulled us out of the public school system (which left a lot to be desired) and moved us over to private school. It was about here that brother #1 and I started growing apart. I don’t know if we would have stayed close if we’d been kept together in school or not. Would I have kept him more on the straight and narrow or would he have pulled me more down the path he chose? I do not mean to imply in any way that I am better or worse than brother #1 by that. We none of us are perfect and we all have vices and problems. Believe me, I’ve got them in spades. Mine are just not the same as his.
Now that we’re adults, we have chosen different ways of life. Yet no matter the distance between us, we are still family. No one can get me angrier, faster, than my siblings. However, no one outside the circle better say a word against any of them because we close ranks fast and hard, and it’s difficult to get back in once you’ve crossed that line. I still haven’t forgiven a cousin for an offhand remark he made years ago against brother #1.
I don’t know if it’s just our family, but we are 8 strong against the rest of the world. It’s definitely one of the greatest perks of being part of a large family. You know someone always has your back and it’s going to take a LOT to break that bond. Hopefully, it will never be tested.

Does this sound familiar?


  1. ewe are here Says:

    I truly hope my boys are as close as you and your siblings… it’s the best gift I can hope to give them, I suspect.

  2. amanda Says:

    my sentiments exactly… Todd had to handle the sodden mass when the surgery took longer than I expected and the anxiety took over. Fortunately, he is one of 4 and completely understood.

  3. noble pig Says:

    I think it’s wonderful you are all close even if it doesn’t feel like it sometime.

  4. painted maypole Says:

    what a great history. hope everything is ok!

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