Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, John!

I love this picture of my husband and his younger brother John. They were born two years apart in Riverhead, Long Island. My mother-in-law says that she was frightened to death after John's birth, because she looked out her hospital window and saw her mother drive up in her Lincoln(?) convertible, with happy children hanging out everywhere. One of them was Herb. The rest were his young uncles.

I believe Herb's dad took this picture when he was stationed in Minot, ND. He had a darkroom in the basement. The basement also served as the boys' playroom. Bruce was born the year after John, so three little boys enjoyed a safe, warm place to play. Herb remembers that it was upstairs that John was chasing him and fell into a table, almost severing his tongue.

My favorite stories, though, come from the era of the truck camper. They often traveled for 30 days a year, visiting between grandparents in south Texas and Long Island.

The boys rode in the camper, separated from Mom and Dad in the cab. Uncle Dick and Uncle Hallie worked for the phone company and installed a phone system in the camper so that they all could communicate. It didn't take too much communication from the boys before Dad said that the phone had mysteriously quit working.

They loved to ride up top on the bed, which was located over the truck cab. There a window provided a panoramic view. When bored with that, they found other things. My innocent Herb suggested to his younger brothers that someone could fill the sink with water, then drain it, and any vehicle following the camper would be sprayed with water. John succumbed to this temptation, and the boys would rush to the door window to witness the surprise deluge. The fun turned to dismay when the vehicle receiving the car wash was a state police car. The policeman pulled alongside the camper with his windshield wipers going, shaking his finger accusingly at the occupants. Then he sped away. Dad promptly pulled over for a father-sons conference.

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