Requiem for a brother

... the way we were

By Jerry Norton

My big brother Eddie died (or to use the modern softer term, passed away) last week, age ninety-two, at an upscale assisted living home in southern California. A few readers may recall several of my stories concerning my youthful days while growing up in Melrose many years ago. These yarns were often times more about my brother's capers than my own personal experiences in our fair city. Old timers of his vintage may remember him - Melrose High School, class of 1940.

My sibling was a "free spirit", to say the least, as many of his contemporaries would attest. Throughout his younger days and well into his high school years his capers were quite well known to friends and classmates - not to mention Mr. William D. Sprague, principal of our high school in those years. It was all in good fun, however, and was pretty much accepted as such. However it did have its impact on his kid brother, Jerry. Following two years behind him in school I would be scrutinized closely by some of our same teachers .... with the implication that I, too, would bear watching.

He grew up to lead a successful life as a sales engineer for a tool company headquartered in Rhode Island. Together with his previously deceased wife of fifty-eight years, they raised two fine sons and lived a comfortable life. He was always a caring brother to me. During our young years in Melrose he would include me in his circle of friends which, given the disparity of our ages, might not be considered "cool" by today's youngsters. Throughout our older years we shared many pleasant times getting together with our respective families. He remained a "hale- fellow- well met" country clubber, avid golfer and Shriner well into his advanced years. He did, however, hold strong opinions and could be considered by some to be downright irascible at times. He paid his dues to his country during WWII fighting with the Marines in the Pacific on the islands of Saipan and, later, on Iwo
Jima where, after two weeks of fighting, he was badly wounded by a Japanese mortar shell which exploded nearby.

So it's so long, dear brother. We have shared much of our lives together and it's my hope that the hereafter will include that martini bar in the sky where it's always happy hour.

August 2, 2013

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