My Big Brother

My dad died by suicide with my gun when I was 15 years old. I had been given a 22rifle the previous Christmas by my uncle,

I was very careful with my gun because I was worried about my eight year old sister Ruthie accidentally injuring herself. I broke down the gun and kept the pieces of the gun in several out of reach hiding places scattered around the house. The bullets were hidden in my secret hiding place in the car.

A few days before the suicide my dad asked me where my gun was. I proudly showed him where the 22 pieces were hidden, I thought he was worried about Ruthie. A few days later he got all the rifle pieces and the bullets assembled my gun and shot himself.

I was devastated. The only support I had was my older sisters. My mom was very mean to me for whatever reason. I was terrified my mom would turn my older sisters Judi, Ruby and Evelyn against me by blaming me for their father’s death.

My wonderful brother David was in the Army in Korea at the time. He owned a 1934 Ford coupe which was stored for him on our driveway. I loved to sit in his coupe because it helped me remember David while he was overseas

I knew David was clear about what my mom was like. I did not need to explain to David the trouble I was in. He understood the dynamics of our family. I got wonderful letters from him. I kept him up to date on how the San Diego Padres baseball team was doing.Finally he was discharged and came home. Now we could go to ballgames together.

For months after he came home he paid special attention to me. We never talked about dad’s death but he took every opportunity to spend time with me. It was David that helped me get my drivers license when I turned fifteen and a half.

David was very popular with the girls. When he took girls out he made sure the girl understood I was coming along. He played Church League softball. He wasn’t a great athlete but he was always getting on base. When he was in the field he was very good at getting himself in the right position to have a play on the ball. He was my hero.

He was as good a dad to me as any kid ever had. He didn’t solve my emotional problems. That took many decade. I still work on it every day. Still he gave me a foundation upon which I could learn and grow. I could not handle college when that time came, I enrolled semester after semester and just quit going to class. I did not always officially drop out. I ended up with lots of “F’ grades

My sisters stood by me through that time. I never told my mother what was going through. I just lied to her. When she found out I was depending on Evelyn and Ruby she was furious. My mom was afraid of Evelyn. Ruby paid a price for her help to me. Soon enough my wonderful Brother In Law Wayne backed My mom off.

I ultimately continued my education. I have a BA and a MA from Azusa Pacific University. I had a satisfactory career largely at Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles California and the Rescue missions in Boston and Oxnard. Boston was an amazingly wonderful time for me. A couple of young woman came from California to intern. Mary was my co-worker and also a wonderful local woman from Boston became lifelong friends.

David died way to young. I still talk to people about him and what a good man he was. David was always himself. My daughters loved him. In fact a few days ago I was taking about David with two of my daughters. JoAnna and Jill and they suggested I write this story up. I owe so much to my girls and their great men Gina and Chad live close by and are of enormous help to me in getting through this pandemic.


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