A Letter to my Older Brother

Dear Paul,

I suspect that Nick does not or maybe has never seen me in this light but for the longest time,  it was I who was the baby in the family and you were the older brother.

I hope you can remember how you and Obby kept coming up with new and unusual ways to tease me.  How about the time you blindfolded me and took off my shirt and staked me to the ground in some form of mock torture.  You told me that you were going to slice me open with a knife and used some device to make it feel like I was bleeding.  There was also time you took me into the cellar and blind folded me and made me eat worms,  which were actually over cooked spaghetti.  The one I most remember was the dare to jump off  the roof of the new Mt Carmel convent, (it was under construction at the time),  into a pile of sand.  I did get up on the roof but was afraid to jump until a police car arrived and then I jumped and we ran all the way home but never told Dad what happened.  It was then that you informed me you really did not want nor expect me to jump off that roof.   Whenever I go home to New Jersey and spend any time with the boys, they all laugh about it.

Paul, although you did not like to admit it in front of me, I also know how much you bragged to your friends that your little brother was the best baseball player in town.  I have always known that you were proud of me.

On the surface, it appears to everyone that we are really different people.  I am a conformist to a point and you are obviously non conformist.  There are some real strong similarities as well.  For example, all four of us  share the same passionate love for dogs.  No doubt on that point!  I had 4 at one point and was known to pick up strays and find homes for them and I believe Nick and Cindy have 5 or 6.  Nick is also wild about music and especially jazz.  I don’t think that’s an accident.

All four of us were blessed with talents and your accomplishments in music are amazing and well deserved..  You are also  blessed with the talent of art and I still have the charcoal drawings of Jimmy Connors and the Ali/Frazier framed and hanging on the walls of my den along with all the black and white pictures of the old time Yankee players.  These talents are wonderful but they are not your best quality.  Paul, you have a character trait for which I have much more admiration then the talent with which you are blessed.  This character trait of which I admire is your Courage to follow your dream and the Conviction to do it your way.  I always tell people about how my older brother had the guts to leave home at such a young age and move to the Manhattan so he could work and take lessons from an old drummer named Philly Joe Jones and how you studied under people like Cozy Cole and others.  It’s that courage that enabled you to make it through all the times when most others would have quit.  It’s that courage that makes you. 

You have lived with a Passion for Life.  This is something no can deny.  You always loved the Marines and  so you became a Marine and dealt with the likes of Paris Island and Marine DI’s.  You never quit and you are your own man.  This courage and passion is what I will always remember and only wish that I could have had some of it.  Although I did not have the physical tools to make it all the way, right after Villanova, the San Diego Padres started their franchise and needed players for their minor league system.  I was playing on a couple of semi pro teams at the time and the coach in NY became a scout for the Padres and I could have gone to CA for $500 a month and had my shot.  I signed the paper but did not go.  Paul, I wish you had been around then because you would have kicked me in butt or dragged me CA.

While I have had some reasonable amount of success in my professional life, I have managed to make my share of mistakes personally.  The great news is that Liz and I have reunited after 43 years.  We could not be happier and you would love her as she is a lot like you.  Liz dream was to be on Broadway and she never quit and accomplished her goal.  It took a long time but God brought us back together.  Liz has two great children.  Tory, who is a jock and was an All American soccer player and Andrew, who besides being brilliant is a very talented musician and hopes one day to make music his full time thing.  A great family.

Britt is married, (Lissette), and living in Orlando.  They’re struggling financially but Britt has grown into as nice a person as anyone could ever meet.  Craig, (Andrea), is in Atlanta and has 3 beautiful children, Carson, Bryson and the youngest, Isabella.  Craig has done very well and they are a great family.  Lisa lives in Florida with her mother and has a 12 year old son, Trent.  Lisa had a rough time for a while but she is on her way back.

Sam is a freshman at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.  Sam is the musician and boy is he talented.  For now, it has mainly been rock bands but Sam actually studies all music.  I wish you could see him play!  Ben is living with Liz and I and is a senior.  A friend of mine is helping with some influence to get him into Gainesville but if not, he will probably go to the same school as Sam.  Ben’s a ball player and is as good a middle infielder as there is around.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t hit as well as he fields so he is the back up infielder on the high school team.  He also just took up golf last year and made the high school golf team.

Well, I am meandering and what I really am writing to tell you is that I have always loved and admired you and  so many ways, your are my Hero.  You will always be my big brother and of whom I am very, very Proud!

Love,   Pete

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