|Anti-war rally. Civic (Daley) Center Plaza Chicago, 1969.|
My younger brother and I have had some good times together. When he was a freshman in high school I called the school and told them that I was his father, and that Gary was sick. I probably should have told them that I was his mother, the voice would have been more convincing. Anyway, I drove up to the school, picked up my brother, and we drove into Chicago to take part in a peace demonstration. All I remember clearly from that day is that an unknown group called REO Speedwagon was on the stage and played the longest version of Sympathy for the Devil that I have ever heard. Some years later my brother and I were working for the same company in Chicago, and were also living together at my house on the north side of Chicago. The only clear memories I have of that time was of his dog being hit by a car, very sad, and of a blizzard. The blizzard started while we were at work and for some reason I did not have a vehicle so we took the bus home from work that day. Instead of taking the bus to the nearest stop by my house, we got off a mile away and started walking home. And we didn't just walk straight home, we stopped at every single bar between Fullerton Avenue and Wellington Avenue. We would have one drink at each bar, and then trudge through the snow to the next bar. It doesn't sound like much except that at the time there was pretty much a bar every fifty feet in Chicago. Two things I took from that trek through the snow. First, that drinking that much gives you a mean hangover, and that bars who cater to the blue collar working man, charge a hell of a lot less than bars that cater to homosexuals. I do have another memory that has stuck in my head for fifty nine years. It was the day of my brother's birth. June 4th, 1955. I clearly remember sitting in our living room watching a White Sox game when my grandmother announced that my mom had given birth to a baby boy. On the spot I made up a celebratory song that I sang while jumping up and down on the sofa. I still remember the words to that song today. "It's a boy, it's a boy, oh joy, it's a boy..." and keep repeating until your grandmother yells at you to stop. I was happy, I had an older sister, a younger sister, and an older brother who thought he was the boss of me. Now I had somebody I could hang out with who wouldn't tell me what to do, and wouldn't try to dress me up in girls clothes.