Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Robert in college

Nonnie and Robert are Leos

My brother Robert has always been five years older than me. Almost exactly-we both have August birthdays. His is today. Our sibling order is Robert, Drago, me and then Ric, who died in 2008. Ric died several times, I think. Certainly more often than most of us do. Alcoholism does that. Three out of four of us kids turned out to be alcoholic, but Robert and I were able to get out of the mire years ago. Ric sank with the weight of it all. I miss him. Drago is a social drinker. He has a glass of wine with dinner, not a bottle. He doesn't even want the bottle. I have become a sparkling water afionado. Robert is picky (in a good way) about his coffee.

So, when I was a little kid, Robert (we called him Bobby then) was big, smart, and having adventures way beyond my ken. He started high school when I started 4th grade. 4th grade! I didn't even have permission to ride my bike out of the neighborhood and he was a teenager in full throttle. Drago's only 18 months older than me and he teased me day in and day out as I remember it, but Robert didn't give me a bad time. He was sweet to me. Robert gave Drago hell, though. Growing up.

When I was 13, Drago was 14, and Ric was just a little kid in 2nd grade (but already playing his heart out on the drums) Robert came home from college with The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and a Joan Baez album, thereby shifting his younger siblings' leanings decidedly to the left of wherever the hell they had been. His visits home from RIT and the University of Arizona (fine arts major) were hallmarks of our high school years. I listened to dinner conversations when Robert was home with intensity. It was, after all, the sixties and there was a lot going on.  They talked (I was pretty much still in my Silent Sam phase, although I loosened up a little if I got a glass or two of wine) about everything and I gobbled every morsel about the world, seen through Robert's eyes, that he brought to the table.

Dad was much more liberal than most of the dads we knew, although even he had a "Get a haircut!" period, and he and Robert could discuss most things without yelling at each other until they started on art. Dad painted, usually oceans or mountains, and he had no use for most modern art, no, I'll say all modern art; the good stuff stopped after Impressionism. They'd get into it and Mom would get tense, and we'd hear, "Not at the dinner table. NOT AT THE DINNER TABLE." Didn't do any good, though. The argument would escalate, reach a peak, then one or the other of them would cease fire-without any surrender on either side whatsoever.

Then, Drago and I were in college and Robert was an adult. Then we were adults and eventually my little brother was in the ranks of "out of the house." We've stayed close and kept on talking (I talk now, too, a lot and without wine) as we've limped, zoomed, changed, and grown all this way up. My big brothers are my rocks, you know. Happy Birthday, Robert!



david coyote said...

A comment? Every time I come here to read I end up wanting to write 'secret lives of coyotes'.

Story-telling gets me going, especially stories you tell - the 'family fireside' variety where I learn more about my Leonic Cuz ... and get the gannas to share some of mine with her.

A comment? Oh yeah.

PS: I am not a robot.

Judy in Colorado said...

Who could forget those eyes.
Happy Birthday Bob & Nonnie!
Judy S

Maryanne Stahl said...

Happy Leo Birthdays! Love me some fire signs! xxx (my son is a Leo; I'm Sagittarius

Anonymous said...

Families make the world go round. You are so fortunate to be close to a sibling.
Elizabeth (from Zoe)