Sunday, February 7, 2010

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother: HAPPY BIRTHDAY RICHARD!

I haven't talked a lot about my side of the family yet except for my dad, in this post. (Have you guessed my latest learned blogging skill - linking?) But this month brings about an occasion to talk about my eldest brother, Richard.

This is sort of a typical Richard picture, circa 1989

My brothers were 12 and 14 when I came along so I don't have any memories of them when they were very young except for what I have gleaned from family photos.

Richard was born about two years after my parents were married.  He was named after my dad, who was named after his dad.  But Richard, my brother is not a III, nor was my dad a II. They all had different middle names therefore doing away with the III or the II.  But wouldn't it have been neat if my brother had been Richard III?  Didn't they write a play about that guy?

Richard and our pretty mother.  I'm guessing he was about 9 months old. So, Winter of 1946?

Anyway, the story goes that my parents brought home their little squirming bundle of trouble and since the country was just coming out of WWII and everyone was trying to get back on their feet, my parents did not have a lot of furniture.  My dad always liked to talk about how Richard's first diaper-change at home was done on top of their second-hand baby grand piano.  Did you remember that story, Richard?  It's been imprinted in my mind for years!! Hey, Richard's been telling stories about my babyhood for years, so I get at least one shot at him!!!
Same hat and coat.  Must be the same day, but this is of course taken with his proud father.

Finding pictures of my brother in his younger years without asking him for them was somewhat difficult, but I managed to find some amongst some pictures my mother had kept and not lost in a move.

Here he is with our father's parents, Mary and Richard (I).  I'd say he is a little over one year old here because of the warm weather dress (love those sandals Richard!)

This picture is a better one that shows Richard and our Grandma Hughes (Mary).  Richard, Mark (our brother) and I were all born very blonde.  Richard has kept the blue/grey eyes that he had as a baby, which he shared with his father.

Richard was the first grandchild born to both sets of immigrant grandparents.  How thrilled they must have all been to see the next generation begin!  Our father's parents emigrated from Scotland and to this day I can still hear them both reply "Aye" instead of "yes" to a question.  They are the grandparents I have recollections of, but very vague as they both passed away before I was 12.  They lived in New Jersey, Richard and my parents were living in West Virginia at the time he was born and my other brother, Mark was born there as well. 

Our mother's parents were from two different countries.  Her father emigrated from Sweden and her mother came from Canada.  I have no memories of them as my grandmother died when I was about one, and my grandfather not too long afterwards.

Richard was the first of three grandchildren for them.  My brother, Mark and I being their second and third.  Although I don't remember them, I have many fond memories of their eldest daugther, my mother's sister, Dot and her gregarious husband, Al.  They lived with our grandparents in their declining years and helped care for them.

Cute Richard with our mother and her father, John Anderson.  This is the only picture I have of my grandfather.  I think his Swedish heritage really showed up in his first grandson with his blue eyes and blonde hair.  Richard's middle name is John, in honor of his grandfather.

This is Richard and his grandmother, Grace Anderson, our mother's mother.  I have a small picture of her when she was a young girl with beautiful thick chestnut colored hair.

As I said, my brothers were quite a bit older than me when I was born so you can imagine what it might have been like for two adolescent boys to suddenly have a baby sister.  My mother always told me that the first thing Richard would say when he got home from school was "Where's Ann?" (yes, I realized I used my "real" name, but it would have sounded funny for him to ask where The Boston Lady was, so be it) That makes me smile to this day.  I was a lucky girl with two big brothers.

Richard with his baby sister, probably one or two months after she was born.

Two brothers valiantly trying to hold up their wobbly little sister.

Here we are in 1988 almost 30 years later. Mark, Richard, The Boston Lady (pregnant with The Maven)

These are a few of the vivid memories I have of Richard in my earlier years:

Riding on the back of his snow skiis on the slopes somewhere in Montreal, I think.

Whem we moved from Montreal to Toronto, he made me a little "nest" in the back of the station wagon for the trip.

When he was home for the holidays, I would come home from school for lunch and he would just be getting out of bed.

We visited him at school in Vermont.

He joined the U.S. Army when I was in first grade.

My parents and I visited him in Europe while he was stationed in Germany.  He learned to speak German.

One Christmas he got me a goldfish, but I walked into his room unannounced and saw it - he got mad, but I got "Goldie" anyway.

He moved to Florida before we did.  Ft Lauderdale, I thought he was really glamorous.

He went with me to Disney World in 1973 and we bought mouse ears for our parents with their names embroidered on them.

Of course, there are many more memories and stories I could share about Richard and The Boston Lady after she grew up, but I like to think back on the lucky little girl with the two big brothers who always looked out for her.

Happy Birthday Richard!
February 7


Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Happy days! Love the profile pic of you.

Thank you so very much for the sweet wishes for my upcoming trip.

eggzachary said...

Wow. Never seen those pictures before--great stuff.

And I am proud of you for linking.