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Getting to Know John

The other day my husband asked me if my oldest brother had been around much while I was a child. It was a great question. My brother and I are several years apart in age. Eleven years, if I remember correctly.

I hesitated for a moment and answered. “I guess not” was my response.

When I thought about it he really wasn’t.

My brother would have left for college when I was about seven years old. He went off to school in Minnesota to begin with so he didn’t come home often. Even when he was at the University of Wisconsin I didn’t see much of him. He was still over 100 miles away.

After that, seeing him was hit and miss; or even less.


I can remember a couple of days when he was around with his young wife and his little baby Mollie (Maura). My dad and my brother got into a big argument at dinner and then he was gone. Just gone. That happens in families sometimes.

I was probably 11 when that argument took place.

I didn’t see my brother again until I was 18. He came to visit the family at my sister’s house and I was living with her for the summer at the time. I’ll never forget his reaction when he saw me. He exclaimed, “That can’t be my little sister!” Think about it. The guy leaves when I am 11. He returns to see a fully-grown 18-year-old young woman. It was a shock to his system.

Then he was gone again. I saw him just a few other times. During most of those times there was a lot of activity going on. They were occasions that might have resembled family reunions to most, so there was lots of talking coming from all directions. No real substantive conversations. I had fun with John on those occasions but I didn’t get to know him very well.


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