Today would have been Charles’ 65th birthday. In this picture, he is showing off his lack of teeth, but is smiling — most of the pictures taken of him, he was smiling. From what I can decipher from the background wall-paper, this Christmas picture was probably taken in Portland, Oregon, in 1952.
I have many memories of Charles, of course, because I was his ‘big’ sister and 2 years older.
There was the time that he ate sand in the sandbox (I think he was about 1 - I couldn’t have been older than 3).
From the time he was old enough for Little League, he played baseball and was usually catcher. He was very good at catching and was a pretty good hitter, too. He played in High School, too, on the High School team. In those “olden times,” girls weren’t allowed to play on Little League teams. But Charles’ coach was a great guy and he allowed me to play in their practices and allowed me to be “mascot,” so I got to ride to the games and sit on the bench.
In our family, we had two “separations,” so to speak. Charles and I spent a lot of time together and Cara and Candy, as younger, spent their times together. As we traveled a lot (Dad was in the Air Force), we had to depend on each other for friendship; we spent quite a bit of time together until we found friends in our new towns. But Charles and I were always close (when we weren’t fighting).
In fact, twice, we claimed twin-ship. We looked a lot alike and were nearly the same size. Our birthdays are exactly 1 month apart (well, adding in 2 years), so when I was about 10 and Charles 8, we told our friends that we were twins. The story was: we were born on January 8th, but when we were in 1st grade, I was put up a grade to second and Charles was held back. So when I was in third grade, he was still in first grade. Doesn’t make sense, but when you are 8 and 10, you don’t think clearly. Of course our friends didn’t believe us, so they went running to our mom and asked her if we were twins. Quick thinking Mom said yes with no hesitation (she later asked what we were doing!).
We spent a lot of time as “twins” until it got too boring and we let it slide away into memories. But in Rapid City, while I was in High School and Charles was in Junior High, we brought that story back to life for a while, until it got boring again. Because Mom was willing to back us up, our friends believed us.
I could tell you many, many (many) stories but will stop with this one: my folks are not very tall. My dad was 5'6' so Charles was afraid that he’d be short when he grew up. His favorite hobby was trying to reach the kitchen ceiling. Every day while coming home from school, he’d jump and reach for the ceiling. The day that he could touch was a great red-letter day for him. After that, he’d touch the ceiling just to prove he could - and Mom made him wash that place, as he had fingerprints all over it. I swear - Charles reached his great height of 6 feet just by determination!
My brother - we fought, as siblings always do, but he was always there for me - helping when I had problems, advising even when I was sure MY advice was best, supporting me when I needed support.
I miss you, Charles!