|(from left) John, Bob, Paul, Gene|
This photo of my four brothers was on the mantel, then later in the bookcase next to the fireplace, for as long as I can remember. My mother's beautiful penmanship on the back says it was taken January 9, 1933. That means John was 10, Bob was 8, Paul was 6, Gene was 2, and I was four years in the future. God, how I coveted those leather boots, hats, and jackets!! (The naval gear, not so much.)
We were like two separate families, my brothers and I. They all grew up in the same town, played in the same neighborhoods, and went to the same church and school. By the time I came along, the family was on the verge of moving to the place where I grew up and from which the 3 oldest boys soon left for the army in WWII and then their adult lives.
My brother Bob died this past week. Bob was a beautiful man...the rock for many people, including his six children, many grandchildren, and one fabulous little toddler great-grandchild. He never moved south after he retired. He said he liked the cold and snow, and he kept trim by keeping his house in repair, baking his own bread, working in his yard, skiing, biking--and shoveling snow. Mother Nature dropped 16 inches of snow on his town, beginning shortly before his burial. Thanks be he didn't have to shovel that one!!
Rest in peace, dear Bob.