Shared History

Today is my brother’s birthday.  As my older brother, he’s been my brother my whole life, but not his.  He had a couple of Stacie-less years in there before I showed up.

Here we are at two years (him) and two months (me).  He’s already begun to look like the brother I know and love.  Me?  Well, I’m still a little shell shocked, clearly.

This is from one of my favorite series of pics.  I think this might be the only one in which I’m not flashing the camera.  I’m two, Big Brother is four.  I’m just about hitting the peak years of my cuteness, but The Brother is riding a wave of cuteness that will carry him through to … when am I going to see him next?  Saturday?  Yeah, through to today.

When I write about him in my fiction, his name is always Tony, so that’s what I’ll call him here, too.  I’m not sure where that comes from.  It’s nothing like his actual name (of course, it’s not as if “Fox” is anything like Fox’s real name …), but somehow it fits.

I don’t tell a lot of stories about Tony here.  There was the Lee Strasberg story, but I think that was it.  And yet I have so many.  The first time I got to ride a roller coaster and how he came with me and rode again and again and again … not telling me that he didn’t like roller coasters until I’d had my fill.  The excellent tape of us singing A Boy Named Sue and Spinning Wheel at six and eight years old … and sitting at my mom’s kitchen table many years later silly-singing our way through Rocky Racoon.  Teaching me how to climb trees, particularly the big red maple that grew in our front yard in Troy, the one we named “Spook,” the one we used to climb and call out foolishness to people on the street below who couldn’t see us because Spook’s leaf-cover was too thick.  Driving with my bad navigating on the day he, Fox and I had the first Family Adventure trying to make our way upstate to visit our father before he died.   How proud I was to see him perform in “Kid Purple” at NYU.  How he arranged for his fabulously-dramatic, film noir, femme fatale Austrian girlfriend to meet me in the airport in Vienna so I could arrive to a familiar face.  How he kept snapping picture after picture after picture of me when I gave my first reading at Cornelia Street Café, making me laugh and forget how nervous I was (well, you know, that and the double shot of tequila Fox handed me when it looked like I was going to spontaneously combust from terror).  His excellent, celebrity-making performance as The Preacher in our high school production of Tommy (no, I’m not kidding … he was so cool talk-singing his way through Eyesight to the Blind).

You know, to name a few …

He’s my brother and I love him fiercely.  We don’t always agree.  We don’t get to see each other as much as I’d like.  He can still crack me up with silly things from childhood.  He makes me smile when I see how strongly he loves his kids.  He’s my brother and today’s his birthday, so I thought it was time to bring him out of the shadows and onto the blog.

From another favorite series of mine, the famous Land of Make Believe series.  We’re eight and six and Fox is on the scene by this time, though she’s still an infant … and this is the first time I’m noticing that whatever’s growing outside that window is coming for us!


And, even though it’s not as funny as hearing Tony and I sing it, I couldn’t resist:


12 thoughts on “Shared History

  1. molly

    I can’t recall where I heard that song before, but it was really lovely to hear it sung like that.
    I love your story of your big brother, and I’m glad you cherish him. You are both really bright-eyed and sweet in those pictures. Thank you for sharing.


    1. Thanks, Molly. Yes, Tony and I were quite adorable children. (I say this with no worry about seeming vain — the little girl in those photos really doesn’t look anything like me. As Mopsy pointed out when she saw the photos, there’s no hint of me in there. I know my mother would disagree, but it’s all in the eye of the beholder, yes?)


  2. aka Mopsy

    Now that I’ve recuperated from my flush of Johnny Cash, I can say that the pictures are truly awesome. I especially like the freaked out look you have in the first one.


  3. I’ve always wanted a big brother; I have systematically collected a group of male friends who are all 10+ years older than me, and they are excellent surrogates. I like your story of Tony and I think it’s really terrific you have such an awesome brother.


    1. Hi, Jade! Like all siblings, Tony and I haven’t always gotten along, but over the long haul, we’re good. I think it’s great that you’ve been able to adopt some surrogate brothers. We all need to be able to build the family we need, right?


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