With the brand new year, I will try to keep this blog updated a bit more often. Today marks the beginning of a new column – if not daily – then weekly or monthly – called “On This Day.” I will list some genealogical facts – births, deaths, anniversaries – of those in my family history file. I wanted to start yesterday – so for argument’s sake – we’ll just pretend it’s January 2nd.
On This Day – January 2nd – in 1940 my brother was born. He weighed over 10 lbs according to the story my mom told me. She went into labor on New Year’s Eve 1939 and told me she was delirious due to the pain. When she realized he’d been born, she thought he was a New Year’s baby – then realized she’d been out of it for 2 days.
Mom had turned 18 a little over 3 months before Jim was born. Doesn’t she look so young?
Due to my dad’s military service (and being stationed in Japan twice in the 1950s), my brother learned to fly an airplane, became interested in photography, participated in the Explorer Scouts overseas, and graduated from an American School in Japan. He later became very active in the Overseas Brats and attended several reunions. My brother became a member of the Eagles and played “Santa Claus” for children at Christmas Events. He loved to dress up for Halloween and on one ocassion, dressed as a vampire and had a “coffin” built for an Eagles Halloween party. He scared many people that night when they would all check to see if that was a “real” person in the coffin and at the right time, he would raise up and scare them!
My brother was 21 by the time I was born and had been married 9 months. As I got older, he was more than just an older brother to me. He became somewhat of a father figure – as my dad and I rarely saw each other due to the physical geographical distance between us. My brother was the one who took me to my first rock concert – to make sure nothing happened to me. He was my “date” for one of my school dances. He chaperoned my first boy-girl party (and got so bored he ended up spending the rest of the evening talking with my mom upstairs in the living room). He was thrilled when he got to hold my kids. He would call me “Sis”. He made me laugh. He and his wife blessed me with another nephew. Then 10 years ago, after an undiscovered illness, he became very sick. It was discovered that he had pancreatic cancer. After the first chemo treatment, he faded very fast. I got to see him the week before he passed away and can only hope that he knew I was there.
I especially miss my brother on holidays and birthdays – still waiting for that phone call and hear him say “Hi Sis!”
January 2nd for me will always mean Jim’s birthday.