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August 25, 2013.  This would have been my brother's 41st birthday.  But as my friends know, my brother died last June, never making it to his 40th. But rather than be maudlin, I'm going to share some of my memories (and try not to be too boring).

My mother CLAIMS that I didn't even look up from Sesame Street when she went to the hospital.  Tells you how important I thought this event was going to be.  (Even though I was the older sister, I wasn't THAT much older.)  My mom was in the hospital for quite a while after he was born.  (Even back then he was causing disruptions in my life).  When he finally came home with my parents, I was more interesting in seeing the new Barbie doll that I had been promised than seeing (or holding) him.  I was a girl with priorities!

He cried alot.  That I remember well during the first few weeks and months of his life.  My mom had to go back to the hospital shortly after he was born, so it was a rocky start for him (and me).  Plus my family moved two months later (not that he would remember that) so that late summer/fall there was a lot of change in our family.

As we grew up together, I was the typical big sister.  I looked after and protected my brother -- I was the one he ran to when my parents got mad at him.  However, I also used him at least once as my own personal doll.  I have yet to find the photo (and I know it's out there somewhere...unless my brother managed to get his hands on it and destroy it) but when he a little boy (older than 3, but not more than 7), I dressed him up in a skirt and put a blond wig and make up on him and paraded him around the house.  (I can still clearly remember the bright pink lipstick).

We did stuff together.  I have photos of us carving pumpkins and I'm sure I took him trick or treating more than once.  I recall dressing up as a professional gorilla (wearing a suit along with a gorilla mask) one Halloween and taking him out.  (And this was way past the time when either of us should have been out trick or treating).

I played the flute in band.  He played the tuba.  We never played together, but we both were dedicated.  He probably more so than I as he continued playing into college.  I can remember going up for band concerts and wish I had gone with my parents when they took him into NYC for Tuba Christmas.  (As I recall a large group of Tuba players gathered together during the holidays to play at Rockefeller Center.)

Even when we were older (I refuse to say old), we did some wacky things together.  We went to concerts at the Garden State Arts Center.  One time  we sped down the Garden State Parkway in my beat up sky blue Honda in the hopes of getting last minute tickets to see Elvis Costello and ended up in the front section.

The last time we danced together was probably at my wedding in September of 1996.  He was an usher and he did his duty proudly.  He also drank alot that night (or so I'm told).  After the wedding he intended to go skinny dipping in the neighbor's pool.  He didn't, but I wish he had!  (Especially when I heard other wedding party guests had wanted to do the same!)

The last time I saw him was a month or so before he died.  I had just gotten back from a trip to Disney World with my husband and son and I had picked up something for him.  Every time either one of us went, we always brought something back for the other.  Also with the advent of technology, whenever one of us was in Disney, we would call the other and play the "where in Disney am I?" game.  Not easy with the lousy cell phones we had, but fun none the less.

Of course I didn't know it was going to be the last time I'd ever see him so I don't remember much of what was said (and I wish I did).  I gave him a souvenir (an Orange Bird cup...only true Walt Disney fans will understand and after some brief conversation, he was off.

Last summer my in laws went to Disney World.  My husband had my mother in law bring back another Orange Bird cup.  It sits in my kitchen where I see it every day.  A reminder of my brother and our mutual love Disney.

I don't know if it's right to say Happy Birthday to someone who is no longer here...But on the 25th of August, as I do every day, I remember my brother and wish he was here so that I could say it to him.


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