My sister, Kelli, wrote the following for our brother-sister blog.
Reading it made me both happy and very sad.
It’s strange to discover how your sister felt about you twenty years after the fact.
It makes me smile to discover that she was thinking about me at all when she was 14-years old, but I also find myself wishing that I had known about some of these things at the time, so I could’ve fixed what is now too late to fix.
My sister also gives me entirely too much credit.
Yes, I had some great friends in high school, but I’m not sure how cool that made me at the time, and I suspect that many would disagree with her assessment of the 1987 version of her big brother.
It was New Year’s Eve 1987. I was 14-years old, and I was grounded.
Eating was illegal in my house, and I had been caught eating a Pop Tart that I had bought with 50 cents of my own money at the snack bar at school.
As a result, I had been grounded for a month.
All of my friends were going to the New Year’s Eve party at Roller Kingdom and I was on lockdown. My parents were going out, and my brother, Matt, was allowed to have an unsupervised party at our house.
At the age of sixteen.
I couldn't eat a Pop Tart that I had purchased with my own money but my 16-year old brother could have an unsupervised party with girls. Go figure.
Matt came up to my room after the parentals left. He invited me to his party. I wasn't too excited at first. I hadn't known my brother very well for some time, as he was older and didn't really talk to his baby sister much. All I knew about him was that he worked at McDonald’s and was able to get me all the Happy Meal toys I wanted.
It was cool to be a teenager at Roller Kingdom, but I still liked kiddie things, too.
Again, go figure.
So thanks to a horde of Happy Meal toys, I thought that my brother was cool. I had no idea how cool until that night.
Matt let me come out of my room to his party. He let me picked the music from his collection of cassettes. That was the night that I fell in love with the songs Sister Christian, Desperado and Hotel California. I probably never would have heard and appreciated those songs if it weren't for my big brother. I listened to and played my brother's music and thought "Wow, my brother is kind of cool."
After being at the party for a short time and listening to his friends talk and listening to him talk, I realized, "Wow, my brother is totally cool".
I had always known that he worked at McDonald’s, but I never knew that at the age of sixteen, he was the manager.
I never knew he had cool "Milford" friends.
The respect kept growing.
Around 10:30 PM his friends began getting hungry and wanting food. I was sure that I would be left behind. The first thing my brother did was invite me. He took me to Woonsocket A place that I was not allowed unless it was Roller Kingdom and I was being driven by another parent.
Not this night.
Matt was taking me with his friends. We went to Moonlight Pizza, long before the restaurant’s renovation. It was dirty with a single, unisex bathroom and a bullet hole in the wall. It was so dangerous in my mind. So cool. In a bad part of Woonsocket without my parents....my night was so much cooler than my friends' night at Roller Kingdom. I was with older kids, and I was cool.
I realized that night how cool my brother was. It was the first time in a while that I looked up to my brother and wanted to be like him. Not having a Dad and having a step-father who you could compare a pile of manure on a hot summer’s day, I had finally found a man to look up to.
I had a peek into my brother's secret life, and it was cool.
I realized that night my big brother was cool.