Siblings.

Hey, remember this photograph from a few posts back?

glassmanboys

That shot was missing our sister, Michelle.  My siblings and I have always been pretty close, though.  We try to get together whenever we can, and there’s usually someone around with a camera.  Here’s one from the early 1990s.

siblings-mid-90s

Today is my elder brother’s 50th birthday. (I call Scott the elder brother because he’s about a year and a half older than Jon.  I’m the youngest.)  That means that 50% of us are older than 50 now.    Time goes waaaaay too fast.   Here’s a much more recent picture, taken at a Tijuana Flats a couple of months ago.

siblings

It’s more difficult than ever to get together regularly-  Michelle moved to Orlando last year, Scott has a hectic business and a nearly-six-year-old vying for his limited time, and Jonathan also splits his time between his job, his business, and semi-frequent trips to Orlando.

As busy as I am, I often wonder how the other three manage to get everything done without losing their minds.  Some of the pictures I took of Scott yesterday at his birthday lunch suggest that we might not all be escaping without losing our minds after all.

Still, I know many people who aren’t so close to their family members.  Lots of people have bad history or conflict with their siblings, and it’s unusual for a large family to get along as well as we usually do.  I’m not saying we don’t have our problems from time to time, but we do enjoy each other’s company, and that’s a really nice thing.

Happy birthday, Scotto.  I’ll write you another blog post after fifty more.

Are you close to your own siblings?

Editor’s Note:  I’m attempting to blog every day in November with CheerPeppers.  I don’t expect to succeed because life be crazy, but any blogging in excess of my previous post-free month is a win, right?

Memories are a tricky thing.

I was searching my computer for a specific photo because I thought a story about that photo would make a good blog post.  I couldn’t find the photo that I was looking for, but I did find this one, and it’s amazing.

glassmanboys

Yesiree bob, what we have here is a vintage Olan Mills studio shot of the Glassman Boys.  My older brothers Scott and Jonathan, and me in the most ridiculous shirt the 1970s could possibly throw up around my neck.  There’s another one with the three of us and our parents, but not my sister-  I assume this is when Michelle was off at college.

Here’s the thing about this photo that is the most interesting to me:  I don’t remember it.  I don’t even remember going to this photo session a little tiny bit.     I didn’t even know I had this file on my computer until just a few minutes before I started writing this post.

I know that I was about ten years old here, because I was wearing the same horrible Art Deco shirt in my 1982 elementary school class photo.  (Seriously, it looks like Andy Warhol and Piet Mondrian got drunk together and threw up on a canvas!)

Guess who didn't fully understand the "cowboys and indians" theme they wanted for class photos that year?
Guess who didn’t fully understand the “dress up as cowboys and indians” theme they wanted for class photos that year?   Yup, that would be me!

I do remember another studio photograph that was taken with my siblings, including my sister-  that one is indelibly burned into my brain for two reasons-  the first is that I actually had a copy of that one all these years, whereas the sibling picture up above is actually new to me.  The second reason the other one is far more memorable is that my sister drove us to and from the studio, and on the way home a neighborhood girl chased a ball into the street in front of our car.  The girl survived, but I remember her having a nearly full body cast for a while after.  Michelle was traumatized, naturally, because running over a person is scary and stressful. (Or so I imagine.)

My memory of the times before high school is fragmented at best.  I’m not really sure why that is.  Some people have really detailed memories of their childhood, but the only things I remember clearly tend to have to do with times that I was either very embarrassed, very angry, or with very dear friends.    Memory is weird that way.

Speaking of memory, I have no idea what my original idea was for the primary thread of this post, so I’ll wrap up with another childhood memory.  This one is more funny than traumatic.

In the late 1970s, my brothers had a giant Habitrail with a bunch of gerbils in it.  For the uninitiated, Habitrail is this system of tubes and spires that allows you to take any standard sized fish tank and make it a playground kingdom for gerbils.    It’s changed over the years, but do a Google Image search and you can get a basic idea of what a Habitrail looks like.

I don’t remember what all of the Gerbil’s names were, but I know that one of them was named Chip.  I know this, because at a few minutes before 8pm one night, one brother says to the other, “Let’s go watch CHiPs.”  The Larry Wilcox/Erik Estrada show premiered when I was about five years old, and I didn’t watch nearly as much television back then.  For one thing, there were only about a dozen channels between the VHF and UHF dials, and we didn’t have cable television yet because it was still the 1970s.

“Let’s go watch CHiPs,” said my brother, and I pointed to the Habitrail and responded in the only way that made any sense to my tiny brain at the time:

“But why are you going in there?  Chip’s right here!”

What’s the earliest thing you remember?

Editor’s Note:  I’m attempting to blog every day in November with CheerPeppers.  I don’t expect to succeed because life be crazy, but any blogging in excess of my previous post-free month is a win, right?

Family Time In Florida

I’ve been in South Florida now since the first of November, and I just have a few days left to soak it all in before I head back to Germany. (Just in time for Christkindlmarkt season, though!)

The centerpiece of this visit home was my father’s 75th birthday party.  This picture contains my immediate siblings and my dad.  It’s rare for all of us to be in a photo at the same time these days.  Dad really doesn’t look 75, does he?

florida2013-1

Another highlight of this trip has been seeing my niece again.  She was born less than a year before I moved to Germany, and she’ll be three in a few weeks.  I’ve missed two thirds of her life so far, but she warmed up to me pretty quickly.  I suspect she recognized in me another three year old to hang out with.

 

 

florida2013-2

Are you close to your family?

 

An unrelated announcement.

ucfFamily is very important to me.  You wouldn’t know it just from reading my blog because I don’t talk much about them here, but my family is pretty close and I do my best to keep that going.  In corporate-speak, Family is one of my core values.

It is for this reason that  I am going to interrupt my usual blog goings-on to announce, with immense pride and tremendous happiness, that my niece is graduating tomorrow from the University of Central Florida*.   She earned a Bachelor of Science in “Education in Social Science Education”, with double minors in “English Language Arts Education” and “Hospitality and Tourism Management.”  I can’t even begin to fathom how those all go together, but my niece can because she’s one smart cookie.  I wish I could be there to see her graduate, but my team hasn’t finished with the teleportation prototype yet.  Congrats, Rebecca!

(And as long as I’m giving shout-outs to family, today is also the birthday of both my sister and my sister-in-law.  Happy birthday, y’all!)

Normal bloggy stuff will resume next week.  I still haven’t finished talking about my Easter weekend trip!

*UCF is also where I earned my degree, so I’m pretty pleased about that too.