Thursday, September 24, 2009


My brother Gene was an important part of my life. He's six years older than me, and I always looked up to him. In my eyes he would do no wrong. He kept me in line with teasing and often tormenting me, but I didn't mind. He was several steps above me socially and there were some painful reminders of that at times. He had his own grandmother and aunts and uncles and we did not share the same father. He was a one and only in that family and they spoiled him terribly whenever he went to visit them. He had nice clothes, a fancy bike and always had money. He used to tease me a lot about the skirts Mother made for me from feed sacks. In those days the animal feed sacks were printed and colorful and after the chickens, rabbits, ducks and goats had finished the feed, mother would make me a new skirt.

Mom remained close to her brother Gene throughout her life. He is still going strong at the age of 81. Like mom he has alway loved adventure. He and my Aunt Cathy, pictured above in 1950, belonged to a snow skiing club long before skiing was popular. I remember visiting them at the ski lodge when I was a girl and being amazed that it took 20 minutes to lace up the boots and then snap onto long wooden skis before heading to the rope tow. They continue to travel all over the world as they have for most of their 50+ years together. My uncle Gene still skis and has even tried snowboarding in recent years. He also went bungee jumping in New Zealand a few years ago.

How humiliating for mom have to wear a feed sack to school. That must have really hurt her self-esteem. Imagine that today when teenage girls insist on designer labels.

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