This post is a tribute to my brother, whom I love.
Gone, but not forgotten.
Have you ever lived in an attic? I did. I used to live near Spokane, Washington, in a little town named Opportunity. I thought that was appropriate, since it was when I first moved out on my own, feelin’ the unbridled power that First-Adulthood can bring to those who’ve never felt the responsibility of supporting themselves.
There I was, earnin’ my own way, holdin’ down my first full-time job an’ preparin’ to spend my first night on my own. I had found an apartment, conveniently situated near the center of town an’ things were goin’ well. Considerin’ that I had never even had a room of my own, that first apartment was H-U-G-E. Besides, livin’ downtown, above one of the businesses was gonna’ make everything so convenient. I thought.
That is, until it got dark an’ I spent my first night alone. That was the same night I thought I was gonna’ die in an earthquake; after movin’ from the Great Quake Capital of America, California. But that’s another story.
After survivin’ my night of many firsts, life settled into a certain pattern; rise early, catch the bus to Spokane to go to work, come home exhausted an’ struggle to pay all the bills when I got my paycheck. Perhaps you’ve heard of this way of life? Easy club to join, but they never want a person to drop out.
Eventually, I realized that I would need to cut corners, but where? I had learned that my $35- per month rent payment was non-negotiable an’ I’d been livin’ on a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread an’ a dozen eggs per week for the last two months, so I couldn’t really cut back on my food bill. Since I din’t buy clothes or other extras, there weren’t a lotta’ choices. Finally, I decided that I would hafta’ move closer to my job an’ save the bus fare.
About the time I was makin’ this very important decision, my older brother an’ his wife paid a visit to her family, who lived about thirty miles away. They also visited ME in that first apartment.
Y’ever notice how big brothers like to take care of their younger siblings? An’ thank goodness my brother did. In the first place, because they had a car, they helped me to find a new place, taking alla’ my challenges into consideration; no car, proximity to work, the issue of safety an’ my limited earning ability. Soon, we found a beautiful old three-story home with the most awesome woodwork you can imagine. Above the third floor was an attic that had been divided into two parts. A stairwell separated the two parts.
After agreeing to pay $20- a month in rent (yay! That was a savings of $15- each month), I was ready to begin movin’ in. Not so, big brother. He took me shopping, using his own money. The first thing we bought was a lock; but not jus’ any lock. This was a device that worked like a chain-lock, but could be controlled from the outside with a key.
Next, he stocked my bookshelf with all kindsa’ stuff I could cook in one aluminum popcorn popper. In that small rented room I had no cooking facilities, so the electric popper came in very handy.
I was finally Brother-Certified to move into my new attic-home. I was so thrilled the day everything was in place. My brother an’ his wife returned to California an’ I began a new life.
Maybe someday you’d like to hear how my hands froze to the wall of that same attic-home? That was definitely an unexpected surprise.
Until the next time, keep a hug on.