Today is my brother, Jonathan Holasek’s sixtieth birthday. February 13 was my son’s fortieth birthday, and tomorrow will be my seventieth birthday. The letter writing continues.
You will always be viewed as my baby brother no matter what your age. I was almost ten years young when you were born, and in my naivetivity, I asked mom if she could wait another day so you would be born on my birthday. We had different mothers since my mother died soon after I was born, but we had the same wonderful father. And I never viewed you as anything less than my brother. I wanted to document some of my stories about you for a long time.
Your older brother Dennis and you shared the same mother, and he was 13 years old when you were born. So Dennis and you lived in the same house only five years before he went off to college. And when he went to New England, he fell in love with that area of the country and never returned until medical school.
Jonathan, you and I had 8 years in the same home, and when I went to nursing school I came home on the weekends when I could. We spent a lot of time together. You were the cutest kid I had ever seen. Those big brown eyes, the curls, and that smile. You had everyone enthralled just looking at you and we had a very large extended family.
I remember you were kind of late walking, but then when you started, you went from just walking to running and never stopped. I also remember you not saying that many words, and then all of a sudden, I was carrying on long conversations and remember saying you never shut up!
Many of those years consisted of my being a built in baby sitter. I really didn’t mind but it was a lot of responsibility for a kid. And I was bound to fail since you were a runner. I remember the car being all packed and ready to go on vacation and you ran to the garage, and bam hit the pavement. You had to be patched up big time before we even left. This picture is the infamous Florida trip in 1957. Grandma, grandpa, you, mom, dad, Dennis, Aunt Lil, Uncle Jack and Carol went to Florida for two and a half weeks. We went in a two car caravan. Notice you have a saved head. Dad was told get you a haircut and he had your head shaved. You had to wear a hat most of the rest of the trip.
Here are some other pictures when you were young.
Many times when I was watching you even at someone else’s house, things didn’t work out too well. I remember visiting our friend’s farm and you said, “look at that sand pile,” and started climbing. Well I didn’t know it was a manure pile and as you sank down to your neck, I pulled you out and you needed to be hosed down.
Another time you got loose was around Garfield’s grave. You squeezed through the bars and we couldn’t convince you to come out for at least 15 min. Another time you ran to the edge of a dam and I was terrified of you falling off. To this day, I have a fear of drop offs.
Another remnant of watching you that lives with me forever is another visit to the farm, and dad picks up a rifle laid up against the wall. Those irresponsible friends left a loaded rifle with 5 little kids in their family and the gun went off and bullet went right though the ceiling. I didn’t know where you were at the time, and was terrified. A lifelong loathing of guns happened to me right then and there.
When I also cared for you in the summer and mom also threw into the mix the two other boys down the street I was somewhat resentful. That was a different time however and kids ran loose in the neighborhood. I must admit I was not that responsible that summer and didn’t know where you all were some of the time.
While you were growing up, dad did something for you he never did for me. He taught you how to build things. Here is your first experience building something, a dog house for Checkers, and this started a love of building things which included using your dad’s amazing shop smith and his other tools.
Now Checkers “Your” dog was always a tug of war for us. To get the dog, I had to convince mom a boy needed a dog, but really I wanted that dog. It was the only way to get her. So Checkers was really was our dog. I wrote her story in my book Bless the Beasts: Pet Parables, because our dog got me through some very rough times.
As it happens to all children, once they hit school, the years come rolling by really fast.
This picture shows your age when I graduated from nursing school. You, mom, and dad took Norma and I to Cedar Point and dropped us off. That was our graduation gift and we stayed there three days before it was time to start our working career.
I got married the first time in Cleveland in 1969. You were to young to be a usher, so I made you a junior usher. This was the first time you wore a tuxedo. Here is one of the few pictures with both of my brothers.
We did not graduate from the same high school because you and I are both Baby Boomers. They had to build two more high schools before you graduated. So I graduated from Parma High School (1964) and you graduated from Normandy High school in 1974.
Then you were off to Kenyon College on scholarships and student loans. You were very bright just like your older brother.
This picture was taken in college in 1975.
You had a mind of your own, and gave dad and mom some sleepless nights. The funniest was when you were in college, dad called me up and said he was weeding the tomato plants. He wondered how in the heck you actually volunteered to help with the garden planting that year. But in the middle of those tomatoes were the weirdest looking weeds, and he saw a television special that day, and it was indeed “weed.” I thought dad handled it great. He just told you there were some giant weeds in the garden and he got rid of them.
While you were in college you used your love of building and your love of science and psychology to build a deprivation tank. The local paper ran an article about it.
Little did we know within two years, while you were in college, and while Will was being born, we would lose our father. I was lucky in that respect that I had dad 30 years and you only 20.
Around the time mom went to live in Florida, you went to make your way in New York. That started the second chapter of your life. With your fantastic wife, Leslie, of almost thirty years, and your two beautiful grown daughters, Josephine and Phoebe, and your transition of your career to the healing arts, your great life continues!
Happy 60th Love your big sister, Marilyn