Sunday, October 5, 2008
HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY JOHN!!
John, Stacy & Me (Double Click Pic for Close-Up)
I would like to share my birthday letter to my little brother (who passed away) with all of you. My mom asked if we would all write some memories down and send them to her. She is having a party in my brother's honor today because it would've been the big 40. She invited my brother's son Johnny (who never got to meet his dad), over and share memories so he could know his dad a little better.
I, being the avoider of anything that causes me emotional stress put it off until yesterday. I began typing and something VERY STRANGE happened......read the letter below.
Top:- Stacy, April, Grandpa Henry, John & Me
Top Right: John & Me
Bottom Left: Mom, Auntie, John, Grandma, Dad,
Me, Uncle, Cousin, David, and April
Bottom Right: Me, John & Stacy
HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY JOHN!
Today, October 5, 2008 would mark your 40th birthday. Where have the years gone? I can imagine all of us at mom’s house gathered for your big celebration. Yes, it would be quite a party…we would all need to be there to tease youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.
OH MY GOSH, I had taken my hands off the keyboard, shocked to find the u continuing to type as I stared in shock wondering what was happening. “Is the u stuck? What is going on? Why wont it stop typing?” I frantically pushed a letter trying to get it to stop. Finally it did after pressing the s. “That was really weird…how did that happen?” I continued to look down at the keyboard trying to solve the problem. Unable to find anything wrong, I glanced up at my very special birthday letter to you.
OH MY LITTLE BROTHER YOU ARE STILL HERE!
Before the mishap, my next line was to be describing your reply to our teasing. I could see your sarcastic smirk, the sparkle of mischief, gleaming in your eyes, your arms lifted out away from your side, fists clinched, chest puffed out, ready to bump us with it as you shot back quickly…rather too quickly, knowing that I had touched a nerve in your vanity, “You’re one to talk OLD LADY!” But since you are still with us in spirit…you responded by letting me know that I AM THE OLD ONE in your own special way!
I received your message loud and clear “LITTLE” bro! Very profound…and now it is soooo on! How did you like the “LITTLE” reference (as in small, tiny, scrawny)? I didn’t think so!
I guess that is the perfect start to my “memories” birthday letter to you. We had a strong bond, you being the little brother and I being the teasing, tormenting, manipulative older sister. The hours you would sit playing the games I wanted to…while I would switch cards, change the rules halfway through the game to make sure I would win, or threaten not to play cars with you if you didn’t do exactly what I told you to! You would scream and try to hit me and eventually give up and continue to play the game MY WAY.
As we got older, we would take our summer vacations up in Reno visiting dad. He and Rolene would have to work part of the month and we were left to our own devices. MTV had just started and being a very cool thing to see videos, we would watch it together for hours. After we became bored of watching the same Police video over and over, you came up with the brilliant idea of taking dads GMC Jimmy on a joy ride up the dirt mountain behind the house. I resisted at first, always afraid of getting into trouble. But you, loving to live on the edge…kept begging, talking and eventually persuading me to do it.
You were too short to see over the steering wheel and reach the pedals, so I had to be the one…without a license! The sparkly eyes, huge grin and loud shout, “YES” signaled your triumph. Seat belts on, a phone book under my butt (to see over the steering wheel, another brilliant idea of yours) we slowly headed out of the driveway. “Come on your driving too slow” you continued to bark at me! “Shut up or we’re going back home!” I was not going to be told how to drive illegally by you! After our first adventure…we had many other “Jimmy rides” with dad never the wiser.
As you got older and bigger, you didn’t take to my teasing quite as well. I would fight back but I knew when you had reached your limit. Your face would get red, eyes bulging, lips and fists tightly clinched and the crazy yelling…as I bolted to the bathroom locking the door, laughing hysterically behind its safety. Driving you insane as you beat on the door, yelling that you were going to kill me. You were so easy to get riled up.
In high school you always loved the spotlight. As a freshman, you played football. Needing to establish your macho-ness, you coaxed some of your teammates to run through the senior quad…knowing that you would get a beat down and trash canned if caught. The thrill and danger always too much for you…it could not be avoided, your motto, “live life on the edge,” you and your unfortunate accomplices were caught by the larger, faster seniors, as expected. They however came up with a whole new set of punishments for the pesky little freshman.
Trash canning was not enough…they made you go down on the floor at the pep rally AND on the field at the varsity game IN A DIAPER! Some of the players never showed up, afraid of the embarrassment. Not you, you loved it! You were on the field cheering, running, jumping and leading the cheerleaders in a crowd-pleasing Lancer cheer. The spotlight…you would take it anyway you could get it, even at your own expense.
You brought home your first girlfriend to meet us…I HATED her. She was a snotty little, bossy, brat. Wanting my approval, you played up all her good qualities, that was part of your very sensitive side (sorry it had to be said). You loved family and wanted anyone you cared about to be accepted. She wasn’t…so she had to go. Being quite the ladies man (who they often referred to as “The Bod” because of your huge muscles)…you never had a problem getting a new one and moved on.
To keep up with the latest hairstyles, you had me highlight your hair. This involved pulling tiny strands through a tight cap with a crochet hook. I knew it was painful but you didn’t…another way to torture my little brother! You screamed and yelled like a little girl, while I laughed hysterically at your pain…mom capturing the whole event on video for our family’s years of amusement. We all have a very warped sense of humor.
One year, I had tickets to a George Michael concert and you went with me. What a fun and amazing time we had, dancing, singing and just hanging out…it was a very special memory for me.
You moved to Utah and I would see you once a year for vacation. You decided to take me for a joy ride. You were so excited to show me how good you drove in the snow. Oh, but you had ulterior motives…paying back your big sister. We drove down by the train tracks on a small back rode. You spontaneously floored it and we started spinning. I screamed, “John, SLOW DOWN!” I thought it was unplanned, but you knew exactly what you were doing and brought us to a safe stop and looked over at my, white, speechless, shocked face, cracking up at me. So our endless teasing continued.
You eventually met a wonderful girl named Sundie. The whole family welcomed and loved her very much. You had an AMAZING son John! He is so much like you that whenever I see him, I find myself stopping just to watch, it’s like having you right there again.
We went to Troy’s wedding in Lake Tahoe and Johnny came with us, which gave us a lot of time together. The reception was in full swing. The music loudly playing and Johnny didn’t think he could dance, but just somehow found himself drawn in by the beat of the music…I wonder why? The two of us went out on the dance floor and it took me back to our dancing days…how much fun we had! Remember how you would take your cardboard and boom box out and practice your spins and the worm. After perfecting your moves, taking the “John Show” out on the town entertaining anyone who would watch. Guess what, street dancing is popular again. I bet you could teach those youngsters a thing or too!
Your spirit, love, laughter and joy lives inside all of us. You left a special piece of yourself in each of our hearts, something that can never be taken away. The memories are your gift to us. It sustains us and fills the empty hole inside each one of us. The space that was created by your abrupt depart. Today is your day, but it is also a day that my life has been touched once again by you and our many memories. Thank you for being such a special little brother. I love you and will patiently wait to see you again!
HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY JOHN!
All my love,
Your big sis, Lis