My Surrogate Brother
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     When I was 9 years old, my folks told me they were leaving me at my aunt and uncle’s house for the Holiday’s. I was very excited as my cousin Ronnie was close to my age, and I thought we could play together.
I was to follow him everywhere for many years, whenever I was there. He would take me with him most places, and I appreciated every moment spent with him growing up.
     At the time, I was an only child, and really had no friends to play with in my neighborhood. My mother was very protective, and I was kept close to home. My father worked 6 to 7 days a week. My mother worked 6 days, and their extra time was minimal. All the things I should have done with my mom & dad, I did at my aunt Helen and uncle Sonny’s house.
     I was to cherish my “vacations” at Ronnie’s house as I grew up. My aunt Helen would let me string popcorn for the Christmas tree, teach me how to make paper decorations, and my favorite task, she let me mix the food coloring into the margarine, which was white, and looked like Crisco, so it would be yellow, and palatable. It was my responsibility, so I attacked it with my full vigor, and made sure it was the proper color, and very smooth…
They always bragged on whatever we did, and that was so special to me.
     Ronnie, over the years taught me how to play most sports, baseball, football, etc., how to ride a bike, how to go camping, and to me, acted like he was my older brother. He helped me to learn the nuances of life that I wouldn’t have learned that early in my youth.
     My uncle Sonny was great guy who I loved to be with, as I did my aunt Helen. He was a father figure to me, my aunt a mother figure, whom I never had the chance to tell. I always felt my aunt knew, not sure my uncle did.
Uncle Sonny played the piano by ear and we all looked forward to his antics, as he was a clown for the kids. He was funny, helpful, always made time for his family, and anyone who was with them. My early years reflect them in my life, but, “I Remember Ronnie”
     As I ponder all the great times I experienced being with them all, still to this day, 60 plus years later, I consider Ronnie my surrogate brother. At a young age, there was no way it could be expressed, as I didn’t know how, and if I did, it wouldn’t be taken seriously.
     When Ron, and I got back together after 47 years of not seeing each other, it brought back all the wonderful memories I had growing up. He was truly my “Big Brother” and now a great friend.
     I was sitting alone in the living room last week, TV off, no radio, no reading, just remembering, and relishing how much I enjoyed my Cruger Family.
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