Your Smiles Make Me Smile

If you really want to get the most out of my blog, it's best to start with the first post written in July to the present since some blogs refer back to earlier posts; but any order is just fine... Thanks for visiting! Now scroll on down to the good news! ~Renae~

Friday, October 7, 2011


I write often about having been tortured at the hands of my big brother, my trusting innocence shattered by mini-bike wheelies, the politically incorrect and often administered "Chinese Torture Test" and words that stung like a wasp, from exclaiming cruelly in front of my cousins that the fender on my banana seat bicycle was "dorky" to calling me "craters" in the sixth grade; a reference to my long awaited puberty.   However, as I am turning 50 tomorrow, I've decided as a gift to my brother that I will accept some of the responsibility and confess my share of provocation in our sibling squabbles. I admit, I was an expert sharpshooter, a marksman of sorts, a sniper with bullets of annoyance waiting in the distance to strike . Yuk yuk yuk.  Yes, I was that little sister, but there was reason. 

Let me preface this by stating that almost every picture I have ever seen of my brother and me as children, is with me stretching as high as I can, to put my arm around his shoulder.  How does one admit that their big brother is their hero and their best friend? The first four years of my life, Alan was my only playmate.  When we would get sent to our separate rooms for causing too much trouble, which we often did, that didn't bother us.  What our parents didn't know was that we had a vent in the wall between our rooms.  Immediately upon getting sent to our bedrooms, we would close the door, crouch down in front of the vent and whisper to one another "Hey, can you see my eye?" "Yeah! I can see your eye! Can you see mine?" And we would whisper and giggle as we peeked through the slats of the metal vent until our time was served.

On the weekends, mom and dad would sleep in, and Alan and I would get up before the cartoons even began, sitting next to each other on the couch while eating our bowl of Cheerios while staring at the fuzzy screen in anticipation of the peacock with the colored feathers; which meant nothing more than, "Time for Rocky and Bullwinkle!"

Then there was Christmas Eve.  Every year before we went to bed, without a second thought, we would simultaneously remind one another, “If you wake up first, wake me up, and if I wake up first, I’ll wake you up” and in the morning, like little vultures, we would tear open our presents together from Santa Clause.  That lasted almost to Junior High.

And so as most of us know, we have those moments so bonding with our siblings, without any concept or consideration that one day, they too shall come to pass and that chapter will come to a close; the laughter, the endless summers, the traditions, even the fights.  Life is about change, after all. 

Alan and I were on equal ground as young children, but as we grew, no one told me that he would get to venture into territory where I was not allowed.  He got to cross the busy street of Arctic while I stayed home pouting and exclaiming “It’s not fair!”  He got to go to parties, where I was not invited.  He got to stay up later than I did.  As little sisters often do, and without malice or understanding, I retaliated.  The farther he got from me, the tighter I clung.

Just before I went into kindergarten I adamantly stated to all who would listen, that I wanted to be a boy.  That was quite a statement back in the early 60’s for one so young who played with dolls.  I didn’t know why I wanted to be a boy, I just knew that I did, and I meant it when I said it.  I remember my mother raising an eyebrow in concern and asking me "Why do you want to be a boy?"  "I don't know, I just do!"  In hindsight, I wanted to because my brother no longer wanted to play with me, and if I was a boy, maybe he would.   Alan was already going into the 2nd grade, and I would stay home alone, bored, watching Romper Room, and sticking crayons up my nose, while he would leave me behind with ice-skates hanging around his neck.  It simply wasn't fair.

So one day, in my desperate desire to be accepted by my brother and to convince him I was “just like him” I put on his clothes.  Well it didn't actually go down like that.  What really happened was that while he waited in line for the school bus with all the older neighbor kids, I snuck into his room and secretly put on his jeans, his belt, his shirt, his shoes, and his hat. Just as the school bus was pulling up and right before they all got on the bus I ran out onto the front sidewalk where everyone could see from the street corner and yelled “Nannneee nannee nannneeee, I have my brother's clotheeeeeess onnnnnn." I even remember throwing my arms up in the air and doing a little dance while shaking my hips. My mother quickly came out and marched me inside the house. I believe that was the day the torment began.

It didn’t get better after that, it only got worse.  Alan was in the fourth grade and had a slumber party for his birthday.  I wanted to be part of it, but I was not allowed; so I was informed.  All the boys with sleeping bags in tow, were spread out from one end of the living room to the other and so, in the middle of the night, I took my blanket and pillow, and snuck in between all of them and fell asleep.  It didn't take a sniper's shot to make my brother's life hell; in fact, it was quite easy to do.

As the years went by, I still wanted to play and he still didn't, but with each passing year, he detached more and more.  He was too grown up to be around me.  It didn't even change in high school, it only got worse.  One day he was jamming upstairs on his drums with the Linford brothers and a few other friends, working on putting some kind of band together.  I wanted to watch, so I snuck upstairs to spy on them, knowing he would never let me sit in on my own.  Alan, in the middle of a drum solo looked my way and somehow caught my eye through the cracks of the railing; he held his sticks mid-beat; my heart stopped mid-beat; he yelled as loud as he could muster “Renae! Get the #%^&**( out of here!!”  I ran at full speed, down the stairs to tell on him, thinking my mother would make him let me sit in on their practice, but instead I got the canned response that seemed to serve her well over the years; “I don’t want to hear about it!! 

Did Alan not get that all I wanted was my brother back? He was the guy that used to play cowboys and Indians with me; granted I always got tied up and tortured, but still; I didn’t care.  How does a little sister say that she is having abandonment issues?  And so, by high school I did what a lot of kids did, I drank at parties. Invariably and to my brother's mortification, I would often run into him, purely coincidental of course, at those very same parties.  Having been sufficiently inebriated I would throw my arms around him and introduce him to my friends.  “This is my brothhherrrr and I looooveeee him.”  Desperately, he would look at my cousin Patty, who I was usually with, and in one commanding sentence say “Patty.  Get her out of here!”  And Patty would save my brother from the little sister from hell by taking me to another party far, far away.

Lastly, I did stupid things beyond embarrassing Alan.  Did you know that recent studies by neuroscientists show that the brain of an adolescent takes at least 25 years to fully form? With that in mind, I will mention to you that I decided to throw a party.  Not just "a party" but a huge outdoor Kegger for all my friends in the middle of the downtown Anchorage Park Strip.  I invited everyone I knew.  If we had Facebook back then, I would have posted it on Facebook, but word got out fast in our small town.  I "borrowed” my brothers keg, which he proudly owned for his own parties, took it to a store, had some gullible adult get it filled for me and threw what was going to be a rager.  The half an hour rager with at least one hundred people was immediately broken up by the Anchorage PD who asked, "Who’s keg is this?”  And there I stood, hiding behind the crowds of people, pretending to be an innocent bystander. My brother, my dear, tormented, brother, had to call the police department and tell them that he was in fact the legal drinking age, that his punk little sister stole the keg, and in the end, they brought it back to him beer and all.

Somewhere in there, I grew up and moved away, and Alan and I having gone through similar situations in our adult lives, ended up on equal ground again and life came full circle.  But in the end, we are who we are, and when Alan doesn’t take my calls, I’ll call him twenty times until he picks up, and leave at least a dozen messages, "wake Up! WAAAAKKKKE UPPPP! Wake Up!" Or I'll sing off key into the phone, just to annoy him. 

The only difference between now and then is that I don’t need to be sloshed at a high school party to tell my brother that I love him. 

I love you brother, and I miss you, every single day.

Sweet Dreams and Always GOOD Dreams,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And even now, although nowhere near stinging or embarrassing, your words can still bring tears to my eyes. I love you sis!