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Remembering the Best of Times with My Brother

Paul comes from a big family. He has three younger sisters and one younger brother who are all still living.

Remembering the Best of Times with My Brother

The author on left with brother Philip.  Picture taken in 1992.

The author on left with brother Philip. Picture taken in 1992.

Although hardly knowing him due to our age difference when growing up, Philip has been a good brother throughout my life.

Philip was born in January 1957 when I was almost 13 and in the seventh grade. I hardly knew and interacted with Philip while I was home before going away to college in 1962. During college and subsequent Navy service, I knew Philip even less.

Things changed after I left the Navy and lived at home in 1971. Philip and I started to have a good time until I went back to school in 1972. Although we didn't see each other much while I was in Taiwan from 1973 until 1979, we began to have a good relationship from 1979 until the present.

This article remembers the best of times with my brother.

Good Times with My Brother: 1957-1962

From left to right:  Patty, mom, Beatrice, Philip, and the author in 1958.

From left to right: Patty, mom, Beatrice, Philip, and the author in 1958.

From 1957 until I went away to college in 1962, I did not know or interact with my brother Philip very much. I was entering adolescence and had more important things to do like play baseball and football, help with farm barn chores, and study hard in high school.

I do, however, remember two special good times with my brother. The first was in 1959 or 1960 when I took the toddler on a walk in the cow pasture to the fence between Rose Anderson's house and our farm early one evening. The lightning bugs were out and he referred to them as the electricians from Rose!

Another unforgettable time was Christmas Eve 1960 when I played Santa Claus for all of my younger siblings. Philip had just woken up after I entered our dining room carrying a sack of toys. The expression of happiness and surprise on his face was priceless.

My four siblings.  brother Philip, oldest sister Beatrice, Patty, and Connie the youngest.  Taken in 1962 or early 1963.

My four siblings. brother Philip, oldest sister Beatrice, Patty, and Connie the youngest. Taken in 1962 or early 1963.

Getting to Know Philip in 1971

The author and Philip in March 1970

The author and Philip in March 1970

Around the end of May 1971, I returned home after spending five years in college and four years in the Navy. When I saw my brother, he was already 14 and much taller than me. Philip was also getting ready to start his first year of high school.

I began to get to know my brother during the remainder of 1971. The first thing we did together was to accompany our maternal grandmother back to Marshfield where she lived. After driving dad's old car up to central Wisconsin, Philip and I spent one afternoon fishing. My brother caught a fish and it was one of the smallest ones I had ever seen.

Back on the farm, we had all summer together. We played cards, basketball, and baseball together. In August, we tore down an old machine shed in preparation for a new one that dad was going to have built in the fall. Some evenings we went into Waterford and had a fun time bowling.

In November, I remember taking Philip into Milwaukee to see a Milwaukee Bucks basketball game. The Bucks were playing in the old Milwaukee Arena and we finally got a chance to see the Bucks and Kareem Abdul Jabaar play the Detroit Pistons.

Remembering My brother in 1978

Philip's Graduation Picture in 1975.

Philip's Graduation Picture in 1975.

In July 1978, my Taiwanese wife, two boys, and I had just returned home for a two-week visit. During this time, Philip and I were able to get away one afternoon and spend some time at Booth Lake near East Troy. We had a lot of catching up to do since I had had little interaction with my brother since 1972.

Philip graduated in 1975 and told me all about his high school life. He also mentioned going to a community college for a semester and then getting a job in Burlington. My brother was still living at home and he had a big motorcycle that I never rode. Philip was a young man now and much taller than me.

Helping My Family Out in 1981

My family moved back to the United States from Taiwan in July 1979. After living in Toledo, Ohio, we moved to Maryland for a little over a year, where I got a job with the government in December 1980. Since I was busy moving around, I had little time to go home and visit my parents and siblings.

In July 1981, however, my family had a planned two-week vacation in Wisconsin with my folks. My travel plans had called for us to drive first to Toledo to check on a house that we still owned there. Then, we would continue to Honey Creek in southeastern Wisconsin.

We never made it to Wisconsin in my old Dodge Polara. After the car broke down in Toledo, I called mom and dad for assistance. Fortunately, Philip had a camper that he drove from home to Toledo to pick us up at our Toledo house. Although it was a seven-hour drive with my wife and two boys sitting in the camper, we finally made it home late in the evening. My brother certainly saved the day for us.

Celebrating My Sister's Wedding

Philip and author on right at sister Patty's wedding reception.  Feb. 1987

Philip and author on right at sister Patty's wedding reception. Feb. 1987

Although we had seen each other a few times 1982-1986, I will always remember my sister Patty's wedding in February 1987. My wife and I attended and we had a reception in the home of Patty's mother-in-law and father-in-law on a farm near Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Over a few beers, my brother and I caught up on lost time. Philip was now working in Milwaukee and had purchased a small cottage close to our family farm.

Memories of My Brother during the Early 1990s

My marriage was falling apart in the late 1980s so I didn't travel to Wisconsin during this time. During my separation and directly after my divorce in July 1992, I traveled to Wisconsin twice.

In 1991, I drove out to Wisconsin from Maryland for two weeks around Independence Day. I recall going with Philip to a Fourth of July fireworks display in the neighboring town of East Troy. We had a good talk about some of my brother's friends and also met one of our oldest sister's friends.

In 1992, we had a much better time. On one evening, we had a few beers in Burlington on the eve of my high school reunion. A few days later, my brother and I went into Milwaukee and took in a Milwaukee Brewers doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins.

Seeing My Brother in 2002

From Left to Right:  brother-in-law John, sister Connie, brother Philip, author, sister Patty, sister Beatrice, mother, and father.  Taken in Nov. 2002

From Left to Right: brother-in-law John, sister Connie, brother Philip, author, sister Patty, sister Beatrice, mother, and father. Taken in Nov. 2002

Although we saw each other yearly in the 1990s, I will always recall our meeting in November 2002. The occasion was the wedding of my youngest sister Connie.

By this time, I had already remarried. After driving to Honey Creek from Maryland, Philip allowed my wife and me to spend a night in his house in Burlington. We had a great time at Connie's wedding dinner in West Allis.

Seeing Philip 2003-2010

Beginning in August 2003, I have spent most of my time in Thailand. I have, however, two vivid memories of my brother.

The first was in August 2005 when Philip, my sister Connie, brother-in-law John, and I saw a Milwaukee Brewers game one evening. The Brewers lost, but it was still an enjoyable evening.

The second memory was in March 2010 one year before mom's death. Mom had moved to Connie's home where she was taking care of mom who had advanced Parkinson's disease. Philip was often at Connie's home to help feed mom through a tube going into her stomach.

After visiting mom for a few days, Philip gave me a ride to Milwaukee Airport when I departed.

© 2021 Paul Richard Kuehn

Comments

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 24, 2021:

Thank you for your comments, Amy. I appreciate them.

Amy hassan on February 24, 2021:

I like the way you transform your memories into your writings. Beautiful way of writing.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 21, 2021:

I am very pleased that you found my memories and pictures heartwarming. Thank you very much for your comments.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 21, 2021:

The memories of my family and siblings mean more to me now that I am much older. I must start reading about your good memories of old times. Thanks for commenting!

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 21, 2021:

Since retiring in Thailand, Liza, I have sacrificed a lot of time with my siblings. I miss them more now that I am older. I am happy you liked my photos.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 21, 2021:

Are your two sisters much younger or older than you? I think I would have had a closer relationship with Philip if he was closer in age to me. My youngest maternal aunt is 23 years younger than my mother. Mom never had a close relationship with Aunt Mary. Thank you very much for commenting.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 21, 2021:

Thank you for your comment, Liz. My only regret is not spending more time with my brother when he was growing up.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 20, 2021:

The memories you shared of you and your family were so nice. The pictures and everything you shared is heartwarming, Paul. Thanks for sharing those memories.

RoadMonkey on February 20, 2021:

It's great to have good memories of family. Sometimes, you may think you don't have many memories of childhood times but recently, I joined Facebook and a number of people post pictures and old memories on there and I realise I have a LOT of memories and good memories of old times.

Liza from USA on February 20, 2021:

Seeing the photos and reading your story makes me wanted to be with my siblings. I have four brothers. By the way, thanks for sharing your story, Paul. I love all of the photos you've shared.

DW Davis from Eastern NC on February 20, 2021:

It is heartwarming that you remember such great times with your brother. I have two sisters, but we are not close. I've always wondered how my life might have been different if I'd had a brother. I hope we'd have enjoyed as good a relationship as you and your brother have.

Liz Westwood from UK on February 20, 2021:

You have shared some lovely family memories in this interesting article.

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