January 23, 2015 – Family Heros

First to deal with my total lack of adventure these days.  I had a meeting I was going to in Albany this morning but my head felt like I had more sinus issues and I just did not want to get up.  I think first thing is I have to find a way to get myself up and going about 8a m every day so that I can join the world again.  I went to the pharmacy and then to the lovely Niskayuna Price Chopper.  They had coconut milk ice cream bars so I love them. Also ran into a woman who use to sing with Denis at the Retreat House.  She was in great shape and seemed happy with her retirement life. Then after unpacking the food I went for a walk. It was sunny but cold so I thought I would venture out. It was nice. I followed a County Waste Truck that was picking up recyclables  in the development where it is safe to walk.  Then I came home and made soup. So ends the adventures of my day. We are going to a hockey game so maybe I can find some adventure there. Have to remember to bring my camera… Have been leaving it behind which is not a good sign.

I thought I would write about my brother Jim tonight.  He is a very interesting man.  He is 6 years older than I so that would make him 76 at the moment. He works out at the senior center, is a nationally top ranked sharpshooter, is part of a team of seniors who do taxes during tax season for others at no charge, and has a lovely family and two beautiful granddaughters that he adores.  He has another side to him though that could have taken him down a completely different path in life but he chose to be a winner rather that a loser.

Jim has a serious case of dyslexia.  Reading is nearly impossible for him and yet he graduated from high school, then the RCA Institutes and finally John’s Hopkins in Electrical Engineering.  He is a picture of perseverance. I have never met any one in my life who overcame the challenges he had growing up and as an adult like he did.

I am going to try and recreate what I had written here since I went to add media after I finished and could not find the picture I wanted and all I had written disappeared on me.  Guess I have to remember to save although in the past it all turned backup  when I goofed but not this time. bah!!!!!

When Jim was young I was not aware of his reading issues.  Even in when we were in the same building and I was in Jr HI and he was in Hi School I don’t think I had a clue. Only later in life did I realize how hard life had been for him.

My mom was great. She made sure that he was involved in lots of things he enjoyed and could be successful at like Track, Stage Manager at the High School for all the plays and musicals, playing the clarinet although it must have been hard not being able to read the music and when he joined the Washington State National Guard at age 16 or 17 she totally supported him in that.  He learned to shoot a rifle and became very good at it and won lots of trophies at national competitions and still does.  And she spent endless hours with him reading him his work because if he heard it then he would know the information. He might not be able to read but ask him what he was doing on any day in the past and he can tell you. I don’t even remember being little and he can tell you the date when we went on vacation, what day of the week it was etc.

When we moved to the east coast Jim entered the RCA Institutes in NY City and learned to be a Laser technician. He could take them apart and put them back together. WEstinghouse hired him and after marrying and starting his family he also returned to college at John’s Hopkins, one course at a time for years. Eventually he earned his BS in Electrical Engineering. My parents were so proud of him. They both knew what a struggle it had been for him and yet he did it.

He was very lucky because over time he was never laid off from Westinghouse or any of the other companies that bought them out. He could do the job from both ends since he knew it all. They knew they had to keep him and even after he retired they hired him back as a consultant. How cool is that? I am sure the teachers who helped him along the way would have been proud to see how successful he became.

But Jim wasn’t about Jim, He is a very giving and involved person. I learned recently that he would go and visit special ed classes to speak with the students about dreams and hopes and desires and that you can make those come true and he tells them his story. He also was always there for my mom as she deteriorated. He would come to visit for the weekend and would stay with us but we hardly saw him since he would leave early and come home late from where ever Mom was living. He spent the day talking to her, sharing meals, and entertaining her and really gave her his full attention. No one else ever did that for her.  He helped when I had to take away her car and when we put her in the Heritage Home. He was so good to her and had a way with her.

I think I had written a lot more but I think you get the point this guy is very good. In addition to taking care of his home since retiring he works out at the Senior Center and is one of the volunteers who watches over the folks working out in case there are any problems. He also volunteers in a program that does taxes for those who have trouble doing them themselves. I think he is running that program now. He is always helping some one fix up things in their homes. He is not a guy who just thinks about his own needs. Giving, kind and generous.  He is my brother and also a good role model and my hero.


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