Happy Birthday, George.

June 3, 2008

Dear George,

Happy 44th birthday. Can you believe that a mere 33 years ago, you were celebrating your 11th birthday on the patio behind our Glenwood Road house, and I was your annoying 7-year-old sister, horning in on all the fun?

[Remember those folding chairs? The ones with the hard brown wood slats? Not terribly comfortable.]

Do you remember that birthday party? I remember being out there, hanging out with all your buddies, certainly not realizing how un-cool I was acting. But you know, when I was 7 all I could think about was “THERE IS A PARTY GOING ON… HOW CAN I BE INVOLVED?” Actually it would be more accurate to say that I just wanted to be where you were and do whatever you were doing. Yeah, I looked up to you. Get over it. šŸ™‚

In this shot you can see how I was determined to be the center of attention on YOUR birthday, by inserting myself in to your “guys group photo” wearing a big grin and some lovely patriotic culottes.

Fashion alert! I really like the shirt you are wearing, and the fact that there are a lot of tube socks in this photo. Also, check out the ensemble that Jeff Hutchinson is wearing… nice. And the expression on your face is priceless. Not sure what you were going for with this photo — something like, “watch out because we are the birthday kids and we are going to beat you up! Aarrrrrghhhhh.” Actually, it looks like you guys were preparing to audition for a Bradley Elementary School version of West Side Story. You guys would have been the Jets, and I was that tomboy who ran around pretending to be a guy so I could be in the gang. I’m sorry if I was the reason you lost the audition. Those !#$%@$! culottes ruined it, I’m sure.

Back in 1975 I am pretty sure that I still thought that I would eventually catch up to you in age. I remember once having a conversation with Mom and needing her to explain why my birthday came earlier in the year, but you were older. Fascinating stuff. But I digress…

In honor of your 44th birthday, I would like to tickle your brain with some choice moments, words, and memories from our years together:

  • The great Steak-Umm grease fire of Glenwood Road
  • Bo-eh-tro
  • The time Mom and Dad left the house to go to the grocery store when we were pretty young, and still asleep on a Saturday morning. We woke up, went downstairs, and started a fire in the fireplace from the previous night’s embers. I don’t think they left us alone again for a while.
  • Jimmy Latham, SHUT UP!
  • It’s ti-i-i-ime for the mmm and mmm show! Starring… mmm and mmm! With mmm and mmm! Special guest appearance by mmm and mmm!….
  • Many, many rehearsals of “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” together, trading syllables and dreaming that we would perform on the Gong Show.
  • Riding in the back of the Oldsmobile on a long trip, with Shadow in the middle… one of us holding a towel under his chin to catch the drool as he drifted off to sleep.
  • The way you tried to force me to listen to your Elvis Costello records. I remember you telling Mom to MAKE me listen. Ha ha. Truth is, I liked the music when I would hear it coming out of your room. But I was never going to admit it to you. Talkin’ ’bout the splendour of the Hoover factory…
  • “THAT was Bruno.”

Happy Birthday, Big Brother. Thanks for putting up with me for so many years. Not that you had a choice. I know I don’t call often enough, and living so far apart pretty much stinks. But you know I always have and always will try to keep up with you… and when I find you, I’m going to barge in on your party and demand all the attention. Because that is what I do best. In culottes.

Butt Child


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