Saturday, January 25, 2014

My Big Brother

I just found out that
my older brother died this week.
We chose different paths,
and we had drifted apart as adults.
His death has made me reflect on his life choices,
and although some of those choices had taken over his life...
I still remember him as my big brother, Benny.
When I was 3, living in Massachusetts,
my brother Benny caught chicken pox.
He had them EVERYWHERE.
Down his throat, up his nose....every which way.
NOT fun.
My mother quarantined him to the basement
where he watched Speed Racer and ate jello.
A friend finally told her that she should let him get the rest of us
infected so that she would only have to deal
with chicken pox the one time.
So down to the basement I went.
Very happy to be there, thank you very much.
After all, I got to watch Speed Racer
with my big brother and eat jello.
We jumped on the bed,
and we played with toy cars.
I did get chicken pox,
but unlike my unfortunate, older brother...
I simply got 7 teeny dots on my nose.
 Life was good.
He was my friend.
When I was 4, living in Milwaukee,
my brother Benny, my big sister and I
were playing hide-and-go-seek.
I got the BRILLIANT idea to climb into the laundry chute
(2 story house with a basement),
because one would find me there!
I was right....
no one did...
until I started screaming for help!
There I was clinging to the lip of the chute,
my little hands clutching the metal edge for dear life!
Benny and my sister found me,
and they tried to pull me up...
but they couldn't get me out.
I started crying,
thinking that I was destined
to be in the laundry chute forever...
when Benny shouted, "Hold On!"
He ran down two flights of stairs,
all the way to the basement,
and moved a huge pile of  clothes
directly under the chute.
From the bottom of the chute,
he shouted,
"It's OK, Gina...
you can let go now!"
Well, I did let go...
but it was a tight fit...
so he shouted out for my sister to push,
and push hard!
With a push, and a shove,
I went careening down 2 flights
through a metal tube that was only
meant to transport clothes,
not little girls.
I landed directly into the soft, pile of clothes
that my big brother, Benny, had  placed to protect my fall.
He was my rescuer!

When I was 5, visiting my aunt in Switzerland,
we went to a fair that had horse rides in a corral.
The horses walked around in circles
in the middle of the corral,
and people took turns riding on the horses.
I couldn't wait!
I was finally going to ride on a horse!
Just like I've seen in the movies!
I was going to be a cowgirl!
The fair was closing,
and there was only one ride left,
when two Swiss girls
wanted the horse that Benny sat on.
They tried to pull him off.
They tugged and yanked
on his arms and legs,
they yelled at him in French,
but he refused to budge.
He was saving the last ride for me.
 I rode a horse for the first time that day,
thanks to my big brother.
He was my dream maker.

When I was 6, living in Madrid, Spain,
we attended a private, British, Montessori school.
My sister and I had little, metal, mouse character pins
that we wore and we cherished.
In the schoolyard one day,
children took away our pins,
and they weren't going to give them back...
until my big, brother Benny came on the scene.
He took one look at us crying,
shouted, "Get out of here!  Now!"
...and the last thing I heard as I was running away was:
"You don't pick on my little sisters!"
The next time I saw him was
in the car on the way home.
He was a little bloody,
a little bruised,
and a whole lot in trouble!
Through his split lip, came a big, fat, lopsided grin
as he reached into his pocket and pulled out
our little, metal mouse pins and handed them
proudly to us--his little sisters.
He was my hero.

When I was 11, living in Texas,
my brother Benny came up with a game
that he called
Suicide Run.

We had a two story house
with a balcony for the length of the upstairs' hallway.
By then, there were 7 kids in the family,
and he was the oldest.
One person would start at the bottom of the stairs
and bolt at a dead run through the middle of the den
to get to the other side of the room leading into the
two front rooms of the house
(out of view of the upstairs balcony).
You DEFINITELY wanted to be out of
the balcony's view as quickly as possible,
standing at the balcony
would be the rest of the kids (ranging from 14 to 1)
throwing everything and anything we could find
trying to hit that person as they ran with lightning speed
from one end of the den to the other....
hopefully ending up in the safety of the living room
with no extra lumps, bumps, or bruises.
If you were under 5, you didn't have to run...
you just got to throw things.
 Was it dangerous!
Heck, yeah!
Would I let my own kids play Suicide Run?
Not on your life!
But we LOVED it!
It got our endorphins up,
dodging balls, shoes, Legos, Lincoln Logs, etc.
Seriously....anything and EVERYTHING
was thrown at you as you dodged, pivoted, and ran for your life!
You could taste the thrill of victory as you skidded into the front foyer.
Suicide Run didn't last long.
Once my parents found out about it,
all future games were cancelled,
all items placed neatly back on shelves,
all players from 10 on up punished....
but it was great while it lasted!
He was my game maker.

When I was 13, living in Houston,

I was in charge of watching my newest baby sister
(this made 8 kids in all).
Benny had just gotten home earlier than expected
from football practice
when the littlest one started choking.
She was licking a lollipop
and all of a sudden the white stick
was in her little, clutched fist with no candy on top!
I didn't know what to do!
Benny walked over to her calmly,
picked her up by her ankles,
held her upside down,
and patted her back.
Out came the lollipop
that she was choking on.
Easy peasy lemon squeazy,
he saved our baby sister.
He was a Godsend.

When I was 14, still in Texas,
I was a freshman in a very large high school.
Benny was a football star, and I was his sister.
Other girls had issues with boys,
but not me.
I had the biggest, baddest football players
at my home in the evening downing
peanut butter sandwiches
and protein shakes.
In the stairwells at school,
the boys would like to slip a feel
on the girls as they passed by.....
 But not me,
I would walk by unscathed
and I could always hear the scumbags muttering...
"Leave her alone, that's Ben's little sister."
As soon as a guy would hear that,
his eyes would pop, his jaw would drop,
and his hands would go immediately into his pockets.
It was known far and wide
to give his sisters a wide berth...
or reap the consequences.
He was my protector.

When I was 18, living in Utah,
attending college, my sister and I drove
out to Twentynine Palms, California to visit our big brother.
He was a soldier.
He was a marine.
He was Infantry.
My mother was worried
when he joined the military,
especially that he had chosen the Marines.
To top it all off...
not only was he a Marine,
he wanted to be in the Infantry.
 To her, that was too dangerous
for her oldest boy.
Benny had one focus.
He wanted to handle the guns...
the BIG guns.
He was rough and tough.
He was my soldier in arms.
Well, during my visit, my rough and tough brother
found out that I was once again having hair trouble.
I was growing it out from being super short, to being long.
Unfortunately, with all of my curls...
my hair was growing perpendicular to my body
instead of  vertically.
He came up with a solution for me.
He suggested that we shave off just the bottom
half of my hair so that the top part could lie flat.
He was a Marine...he knew how to shave a head.
This gave my hair the illusion of being "normal".
It was the first time since I was little 
that I actually liked my hair!
He was my problem fixer.

When I was 24, married to a man
that my parents didn't care for...
Benny took me for a ride in his car,
and told me not to listen to them.
"You did good.
Keep him around.
He's a real man.
He'll take good care of you."
He was my cheering section.

you were
my friend,
my rescuer,
my dream maker,
my hero,
my game maker,
my Godsend,
my protector,
my soldier in arms,
my problem fixer,
my cheering section,
my big brother.
You were there for me.
Thank you.
You did good.
"It's Ok Benny...
You can let go now!"
Rest In Peace.
I love you.  
 photo Queenchaossignoff-2.png

In honor of my big brother Benny
Cara Taylor has graciously made me
Speed Racer clip art.
Benny loved Speed Racer.
Maybe through her clip art,
another little boy (or girl) can love to learn!
Thank you, Cara!

  Speed Racer Reading Poster:
Choose the version you like the best and enjoy!

Speed Racer Labeling Sheets:

Write the words to label Speed Racer.

Cut and glue the words to label Speed Racer.


Cara Taylor said...

What a beautiful tribute to Benny...He seemed like quite a Big Brother!

Queen Chaos said...

Thank you so much Cara! And thank you for making the Speed Racer clip art in his memory. You have been a Godsend! Laughing through tears has kept me afloat!

Ben Sukeforth said...

So sorry to hear about your brother's passing my name is Benjamin or Ben so I feel for you and praying for you and your family.

Queen Chaos said...

Thank you for your kind words.

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