Remembering growing up with Ralph brings to mind mostly just snippets of things. Given our age difference; 10 years; and that we shared a bedroom, you can imagine that 14-18 year old young man having his 4-8 year old pain-in-the-neck little brother always under foot. I always remember looking up to him with admiration. How could I not, as wherever we went, the townspeople in our little community all seemed to my young perception to know who he was, as his notoriety as a basketball player had preceded us.
Most folks called Ralph “Red”, for obvious reasons, being perhaps the only male redhead in town. Few called him Ralph. I, however at these young ages called him simply “Brother”. Mom would say, “Brother’s home” when he came back from somewhere, or, “ go wake up Brother from his nap for dinner” (always a risky proposition – Ralph woke up ‘hard’). “Brother” was my name for him then.
I still remember being traumatized when, after high school, he went off to Cushing Academy. He had never been away for long before. I cried in the back of the car all the way home after we dropped him off. “Brother” had gone away.
Now, since then, as the years wore on and we both got older, got married (some of us more than once…..) and had children, he became “Ralph”. We shared all the family experiences common to many; school milestones for our kids, marriages, births, and losing parents. Priceless memories.
In part of my heart, Ralph will always be “Brother”, and now, once again, “Brother” has gone away.
I’ll never forget him.