My brother is 7 years older than my sister and I. Yes, he caused a lot of trouble when we were younger. He caused trouble within the entire family. In my opinion he had some pretty good reasons to be angry and act out. As I look back on it there were just too many things that were kept from him for too long. He found out too much from other people when he should of heard it from my mom. He also never talked about how he felt about what he knew.
I would listen to the music my brother played at full volume and learned to love it. It was a constant battle in our house. I would hear his name being screamed by my mom or dad at least 15 times a day. PHIIIILLLIIIPPP!!! TURN THAT GODDAMN MUSIC DOWN NOW!!!! Then after an hour of my mom yelling my dad would come in. My dad only had to use his voice with us. He has a deep menacing voice. You just know he means it. Just his voice would make you want to throw up. To tell you the truth I would rather be hit with my mom’s slipper than be yelled at by my dad.
I love the bands and singers I do mostly because of my brother. The Babys, Alice Cooper, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Meatloaf, Boston, Aerosmith, Rod Stewart, the list goes on and on. My brother made sure he took me to my first real concert which was of course Bon Jovi. My brother taught me how to smoke pot. He didn’t suggest I do it he just didn’t want me to look like an idiot because I didn’t know how. I was 14. That was the first time and I may have smoked it again once or twice. I never liked it. Like I’ve said before, gateway drug? Not for me it wasn’t and I believe if there were anything that acted as a gateway it would be alcohol.
My brother didn’t introduce me to alcohol but told me when at a bar make sure you always tip the bartender or waitress well. When the place gets busy later in the night they remember the big tippers and make sure they get served first. I always found this useful. He also told me to make friends with security, doormen, and bouncers. He said it never hurts. He looked at it that way because he was always in fights. I used it to meet people. It served me well and worked many times. And I don’t mean “friendly”. In L.A. the door guys were from Boston, I’m from Rhode Island. When they saw my license they were so excited to see someone close to their home who knew about “Chowda” and “Clamcakes” or the Red Sox that they introduced me to everyone because they were homesick. It was one of my favorite vacations.
My brother also taught me not to trust people and the people you love the most are most likely the ones who will hurt you. He took me to Boston in a Limo to see The Blue Man Group where I laughed so much my face hurt. I loved watching him laugh. Then he ruined it by smoking and drinking in the Limo when the driver repeatedly told him not to. We then went to a Dueling Piano Bar. It would have been fun if he hadn’t been drinking or maybe if I had. I neglected to mention he was still married at the time so his wife was with us and so was my twin sister. I was forbidden to drink around my twin but that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to drink. So I had to watch the entire sad, embarrassing thing unfold. At the end of the evening my brother gave the driver an extra $300 for being an asshole. In my brother’s mind he thought this made it ok.
My brother taught me the figure four leg lock, the Indian Sunburn, The Flying Elbow, and something called The Chinese Chicken Wing. Yes, some of these do not sound politically correct blame wrestling in the 80’s.
My father taught us some softball and my brother did the rest. He was surprisingly great at baseball. He could pitch better than most in our State and went to the State Championships many times. He did well in football too but they wanted him to cut his hair so some words were exchanged with the coach as was his helmet. So no more football. The same went for basketball and wrestling.
He also passed on another trait to me. I loved to read. The kids in my class didn’t or if they did went at a much slower pace. If there was one thing I hated it was when a teacher would make us take turns reading passages out loud then discussing them. By that time I had already read the book and knew what it was about and was ready to move on. I would bring a book from home and read it while everyone else was reading out loud and trying to figure out the plot. ( I wasn’t in a slow class. It was a normal Junior Year High School English class) One teacher noticed. Just one. She watched me for a bit. After a while she came over to my desk one day and asked what I was doing. I told her I had already read the book, was tired of hearing everyone else, and was reading a new book. She didn’t look mad she looked like she had seen a ghost. I was never disrespectful to teachers so I don’t know why I was a little mouthy with her.
She asked if I had any older brothers. I said yes but he has a different last name. That’s when she laughed out loud. She asked me his name and I told him. She said “You’re like him. Too smart, you get bored easily. The difference is he caused trouble, a lot of trouble. It saddened me to see him waste that brain of his because no one knew what to do with him. So, what I’m going to let you do is read the books and I’ll give you the tests to take when it’s time. As long as you are learning something and quiet that’s good for me.” She was the best teacher I ever had. My brother remembered her fondly. The only one that ever tried with him.
I love him and I’m scared. He was so devastated when my mom passed away. People forget that it was just the 2 of them for years until she was with my dad. They had a special bond. He was chastised for his behavior at her funeral when I don’t think he should’ve been. My mom’s brothers thought he wasn’t showing respect to my dad. He just wanted a couple of minutes with her alone. My brother has suffered as much as everyone else. He just hides it better. Except yesterday when I saw his eyes water and his shoulders trying not to shake.
(THE PIC: MY BROTHER, HIS SON, MY COUSINS’S SON, MY BROTHER’S DAUGHTER, AND MY AUNTIE LEE)