Ah, but now I had a big brother! And what fun we had. It's not many people that can truly say, "My brother was an only child!" but I could!
One of the best moments was when Bob decided to take me and a whole car-load of friends to Toledo to "see" the Beatles. There wasn't cable or satellite television for homes, so we went to the theater to see a performance by the Beatles. Oh, we screamed as much as the girls you would see on the television when they caught a glimpse of the mop-heads from England!
When I had slumber parties, where no one ever "slumbered," Bob would make sure we had a big bonfire and lots of hot dogs and hamburgers to eat.
Bob only lived at home for a short while as he was a student at Ohio State University. He left school and joined the Air Force. Stationed in Korea, he wrote only a few times to our family, so we had no idea how sick he had become. He had appendicitis and the appendix had ruptured on the way to the hospital. From what I remember, it was touch-and-go for quite a while.
Returning stateside, Bob remained in the military. We had lost contact and wouldn't hear much from him at all. He'd give a call and show up. Bob married twice while living in the Washington/Baltimore region. The first marriage produced a son, Brian, who lives here in Ohio. Both marriages ended in divorce.
Bob moved back to the Swanton area, so it was nice to have him here. We got to see more of him and enjoy his sense of humor.
He made sure he was at my wedding to my dear Gene. And he certainly decorated the car afterward!
When our daughter was 16, he decided she needed to learn how to drive a stick-shift. There was a large baseball diamond and parking area not far from my parents home. So, Bob and Lindsay went to the parking lot in his pickup truck. He had the patience to show her how to gently apply gas, how to push in the clutch...just perfect. He got out of the truck and had her drive around the area, pull up to him, stop, and then inch slowly toward him. The last part, about inching slowly? He had a cooler of Pepsi in the back and was too lazy to walk and get it! It certainly helped Lindsay perfect her driving technique. To this day, she can drive a stick with no problems at all due to her Uncle Bob.
When Lindsay got married, he and his son, Brian, both had the biggest grins on their faces! Lots of good memories.
While Bob lived in Holland, Ohio, he chatted online with a wonderful lady from Georgia. They met and I do believe sparks flew as they soon married. Carol was a widow and the two were absolutely perfect for each other.
During their marriage, my dad died and Bob was here for a few weeks to help Mom deal not only with grief, but to help her in the small things she needed to learn - how to fill the car with gas as well as pulling up to the drop box at the post office - things Dad had always done.
A few years later, Bob came up for a visit during the annual Fulton County Fair. How he loved the Fair! This time, it wasn't such a great visit. He had cancer. The many years of very heavy smoking had taken it's toll.
During this time, Bob kept sending emails. He'd send Gene lots of jokes he'd find online and we'd both chuckle over his sense of humor.
He also would send emails detailing what was going on with his treatments. At first, things seemed to go well, then it didn't. He tried to keep his spirits up, but his health was declining.
Mom visited Bob and Carol for the last time in Georgia in February 2004.
Bob died in April.
Miss ya big brother.