Kid Brother – In Memoriam

In 07 Observations on 2011/08/25 at 11:11 PM

This is an article from Jack’s school magazine when he attended Boston College High as a junior in 1947. It began as a weekend composition assignment that his teacher thought should be printed in the quarterly school magazine. Jack was 16, and Paul had just turned 12. Jack kept this magazine for 64 years, but never dreamed that he would have such sobering use for it. Paul Reagan, 1935-2011. R.I.P.

One of, if not the most wonderful possession that a boy can have is a “kid brother.”  Probably no other person  has a more sincere admiration for you (the big brother) than he.  When he was between 4 and 8 years old, to the big brother, he was a “pest” and an everpresent “gremlin.”  It was because of him that frequently you had to go to mother and in a pleading voice say, “Mother please make him stay home and stop following me.”  Why did he want to go?  He wanted to go only because he admired you and the older boys and the things they did.  To him they are men “men” capable of climbing the tallest tree, swinging the heaviest bat, riding the biggest bikes, playing the wildest games, ferocious fighting, and all sorts of deeds which to those doing them seemed like nothing, but in the eyes of the kid brother, things only big boys could do.  And after other put the question to him, he, in a soft, sweet voice would reply, “O.K., mommy, I’ll stay right at home. Then you would run off, feeling as though a great burden had been lifted from you, only to turn around at the sound of little feet running behind you, to see the kid brother smiling from ear to ear.  You resign yourself to the fact that he is coming along after three attempt to send him home fail.

Who was it that always ran to share his little portion of candy with you? Who was it that let you take the first piece and then all you wanted?  Who was it that ran to you when he unexpectedly met the neighborhood pugilist because “you’re the best fighter in the town”?  Who is it that will run at your command?  Above all, who is it that spends his last dime to buy you something for your birthday when all others have forgotten it?  To whom does he run when his auto breaks?  From whom does he seek knowledge of the manly arts? – YOU- “big brother” – YOU.  Even though at times you shun his company for your friends, the “kid brother” will always leave his companions, if only to walk to the corner with you.

Do you remember, “big brother,” how jealous you may have been when he seemed to receive more attention than you, the times that anger overcame you because he did something to your property or you “reprimanded” him how you would eagerly devour his offering of candy, and then later hesitantly give on tine piece of your candy?

The years pass and the “kid” brother is now himself a boy of about twelve.  He no longer wants to follow you, but rather he wants to go with his own gang.  Now he is able to put to use the arts learned from you, and he is not so dependent on you now.  When you see all these things, you’re proud of this “kid brother,” and you say, “He’s quite a guy, my brother.”  Now you like to have him around because he is older and more interesting.  And yet, above all childhood abuses, he stands loyal to you alone.  At times the fire of love may have died down, but never faith  and loyalty to you – his “big brudder.”  If all the nations of the world were as loyal to each other as two brothers, wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place to live in!

  1. This is beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. I think my little sister felt that same way about me…and I love her to pieces! Thank God for family!

  2. A sweet tribute to “Unca Paul.” The world will be a little duller without him in it. R.I.P.

  3. How incredibly beautiful! What a tribute! Sorry for your loss, Jack.

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