They were a family before I was born; my mom and I always referred to them as the boys, even when they were grown, and “the boys” was always during a story about their lives pre-sister! “The boys” at my grandparents; “the boys” attending Catholic school; “the boys” when they brought me home.
I really don’t know what my life would’ve been like without brothers. They were teenagers when I was born; my oldest brother, Stephen, was given his driver’s license early because my Mom could nto drive the car during her last month! I grew up hearing sweet stories about when my mom brought me home. My favorite was about my “baby” brother, Denny Pat, who disappeared when I came into the house. He was in the bathroom, and when he finally emerged, he was in his best clothes, completely clean, ready to hold his sister for the first time. My brothers loved me, cuddled me, read to me, took me places with them. I’ve heard so much about bad siblings, but my brothers looked out for me, taught me, and had fun with me.
Each had their own very different relationship with me. I was closest to my oldest brother, Stephen, who called me Squirt and Sweetpea, and was like my dad. I went to Stephen first with all the big problems. Maybe we all did. When he came home from the Air Force, or from School, vacations were special, as we would drive to the beach and stay up late watching old movies on a black and white television. And in all this, he was teaching me things I needed to know, and sometimes, saving my life.
Next I was close to my youngest brother Denny Pat, who was most like a brother (and to whom I was the Brat until the day he died.) Michael was the movie star, too cool, James Dean, always with the girls, mysterious, quiet, and a bit distant.
Together they gave me confidence, taught me how to handle myself, and were there when I needed them desperately.
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