This is a pic of my brother & I taken when he was about 4 years old, so I would have been about 8 I suppose. Just ignore me, as it is my Beloved Brother I wish to blog about.
As you can see, he was a sunny little boy, & always had a smile, & twinkling blue as blue eyes. I always felt a little jealous of him when we were young, I think. My mother's eyes always looked so soft when she looked at him, & she always gave him the first kiss. I felt I had to ask for mine. She denied this in later years, & I know she loved us both, but a love for a son can be different.
My brother has always been a happy optimistic person. A glass half full man. When we were young growing up, we tended to not be too close, age difference playing a part I am sure. Plus I could be a bossy b of an older sister. But my brother still seemed to love me, no matter what.
Once we 'grew up' we became best friends, & remain so. We almost communicate in our own language at times. We can read each other's minds. we are likely to get an attack of helpless laughter unexpectedly, & find it odd that noone else 'gets it'.
We spent some years apart when my brother went away to school, & I started a career as a nurse. (which I didnt complete). When my brother was about 16 he came to live with our mother & I again. He got an apprenticeship ~ remember those??~ as a Printer. He loved words, books & everything about the printing trade when he did his apprentiship.
He had to do most of it by correspondance, as there was nowhere in Auckland where he could go. That seems incredible today. He had to send his work backwards & forwards to Wellington. He once answered a question with "Several or more" An answer came back, "Several IS more!" We have teased him about that for years.
He worked initially with a one man band. Well, when I say that it was a two man printing shop, with my brother as the apprentice.
He bought himself an old hand printing press, & spent hours restoring it, & sorting his type & just loving it. We all called it the "Clean Machine". I do believe at one stage he had parts of it in one bedroom after he was married, & needless to say, his wife was not impressed one bit.
He kept it in our mother's garage, & would happily spend hours playing with it, -even days would have passed had our mother not called him in for meals. He did small jobs for friends. He became friends with an artist, who gave him some of his art in lieu of payment.. they are now worth REAL MONEY. My brother would never part with them.
Our mother worked shift work. She would prepare meals for my brother & leave them for him to reheat when he got home from his 'day job'. He would often put them on to reheat, then nip up 'just for a few minutes' to his beloved Clean Machine.
Once our mother enquired as to how he had enjoyed the stew she had made, & Where the Hell is the Rest of it?? So he valiantly lied & said he been extra peckish & had eaten it all. Of course our mother exploded & told him not to be so stupid, there was whole pound of meat in there, & he couldnt have possibly eaten it all! I dont think she ever found the burnt pot, I think he cunningly bought another & disposed of the original. He did that many times. Many delicious meals went the way of charred ruins. He would completely lose all track of time. He would suddenly remember with horror, that there was reheating food. He would run down to the house, to be greeted by charred to death food, & how he never burnt the house down, no one knew.
He still has his machine, now not in working order & his type is scattered about, in disarray in boxes. He still loves his books & words. He has a remarkable memory for poetry, & dirty ditties, & can recite so many just from memory. He can tell many hilarious stories about what happened to his 'ring' when he was lifting the "Clean Machine" into place in the old garage. A friend came to help him, & reckoned he had tried to make him a Eunuch.
The old shed which housed his beloved old hand machine, has long gone, & been replaced twice. Firstly with a huge double garage, now with his new house.
Printing is not the art it once was, & the business my brother is in now, is... well a bit rotten. A related field I guess. Not books or art. Fast food containers. That sort of thing. A bit rotten, IMHO.
Anyway, here we are today, a sort of after picture. Taken last November when he turned 60. He still has his twinkly eyes, though they dont twinkle quite so often. He is one of my favourite people in all the world.
Keep passing the open windows!