Sunday, November 05, 2006

Forry Gets His Own Back

I've told you about how I tormented Forrest. But, you have to know, it was not one sided. First of all, he dared to exist. To knock me off of my oney-oney childhood throne! Probably nothing he ever did afterwards was as reprehensible as that. (Photo -- front row:Forrest, Great-Grandpa Herndon, me; back row: Mama, Grandpa Herndon. 1948)

Forrest and I only went to the same school for one year. I was in sixth grade; he was in first. I was a traffic monitor, and he refused to obey me -- crossing anywhere and time he wanted. With his thumbs in his ears, he would stick out his tongue and call out, "You can't make me!" Well, for a day or two he did that, but teachers had seen and reported and the principal became involved, which didn't slow him down. However, when Daddy became involved, Forrest suddenly became the most cautious of pedestrians, responsive to my every command.

That same year he ran out on the baseball field in the middle of a game and gave the pitcher (on whom I had such a crush) a kiss, telling him it was from me. I wonder now how he lived a day longer. (Photo: Forrest, Colleen, me, 1955. Notice how times are already changing -- Colleen gets to wear pants instead of skirts!)

That was the Christmas that I received a toy walkee talkee that worked over wires. My friend Linda (of the Great El Paso Piss Off) and I strung them from my bedroom to hers. Forrest watched us and then, when we had gone roller skating, took a pair of scissors and cut the wire into lengths of about six inches.

That year there were two television programs on at the same time vying for family viewing: Walt Disney Presents, and General Electric Theater. Because we lived so close to Linda and her parents, we solved this by having her parents come to our house and watch General Electric Theater with my parents and Forrest and me go to her house and watch Disney with her. Forrest used to delight in teasing us when he wasn't interested in the show. Yelling so we couldn't hear, making stupid remarks, pounding away at the keys of her piano, and listening to our conversation so that he could regale his friends with it later on.

I'm sure that the only reason he didn't read our diaries was that he didn't read yet.

Later he would take advantage of his greater size by simply lifting me by the waist and moving me from where I wanted to be to where he wanted me to be.

And you know, just as I can still zing him with the clever line, he can still give me the little brother tease. He remembers anything I ever said, and will come at me with it decades later to prove his point. Last summer, to prove a point in a political discussion, he reminded me of a remark I made about Ted Kennedy in the 70s!

And through it all, we love each other. I know that he would (and has) do anything I needed him to do. I know that it is ok that I am 1500 miles away from our mother, because he is there with his good sense and love to take care of the things she needs. I fostered Colleen's kids for 18 months, he cares for Mama. It is all part of a family that loves each other.


Ginnie said...

I loved the pictures and it brings back many memories. I never had a big brother (or any brother for that matter) but 4 older sisters sure could push my buttons!...and I was such a good little girl (ha,ha).

Potato Print said...

Hi Maya's Granny,

I took a much-needed break from blogging, so it's been a while since I read your blog. What a great tribute to your brother. My brother and I had a similarly difficult relationship until we became adults. Now he is a great friend and mentor (even though he is younger than me). I love the black and white photos.

kenju said...

What a nice post. I am an only child, and I always wanted a brother (preferably older) to lookout for me. I love your old photos; you were cute and you have a nice-looking family.

Betty said...

Hi Maya's Granny: I don't have brothers or sisters, and can't say I ever particularly wanted any until I was grown. Spoiled brat, you say? Yep. That's me.

Anonymous said...

Family should take care of family. What else are they for. They are all you have in life. Friends come and go and some stick around, but in the end, like Aunt Flo and grandma, they are it. Glad to know we have such a great family to count on.