Lockdown Day 82: Take a Lesson from The Kid / Encierro Día 82: Toma una Lección de El Hermanito

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

THE KID BROTHER. WE SPOKE again Tuesday night (afternoon for him), as we do every Tuesday night (afternoon for him). He’s been fairly pleasant these last four weeks.

Work is “good.” “Busy.” “Not too busy.” He’s eating. “Don’t worry about me,” he says. “Looks like no softball for me this year!” The weather is “nice.” Except when it’s not. The news is “bad.” His roommates are “fine.”

Well, one roommate, Chris, is fine. He won’t speak of the other who regularly answers the phone and whom I like very much. According to The Kid Brother, “He’s messy! He needs to pick his clothes up off the floor… And wash them!” And there’s no forgiving that.

In The Kid Brother’s mind, there’s also no forgiving prejudice. Somehow, he grew up with no racial bias. I had to learn to overcome what I saw through my parents’ eyes, my early childhood suburban eyes, my white-privileged eyes. The Kid Brother was never affected by any of that and would never tolerate it. He also wouldn’t tolerate unkind comments about anyone else’s appearance or awkwardness. The Kid Brother requires all my patience. He also teaches me a lot.

Unfortunately, I have never been able to teach The Kid Brother to hold the door for anyone else. He’s got his priorities.

The photo at top is of The Kid Brother in front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, 1980. The one below is of us with him in Brooklyn in August 1989.


EL HERMANITO. HABLAMOS NUEVAMENTE EL martes por la noche (por la tarde para él), como lo hacemos todos los martes por la noche (por la tarde para él). Ha sido bastante agradable estas últimas cuatro semanas.

El trabajo es “bueno.” “Ocupado.” “No demasiado ocupado.” Él está comiendo. “No te preocupes por mí”, dice. “¡Parece que no hay softball para mí este año!” “El clima es agradable.” Excepto cuando no lo es. La noticia es “mala.” Sus compañeros de cuarto están “bien”.

Bueno, un compañero de cuarto, Chris, está bien. No hablará del otro que regularmente contesta el teléfono y que me gusta mucho. Según El Hermanito, “¡Está desordenado! Necesita recoger su ropa del suelo … ¡Y lavarla! Y no hay que perdonar eso.

En la mente de The Kid Brother, tampoco hay prejuicios indulgentes. De alguna manera, creció sin prejuicios raciales. Tuve que aprender a superar lo que vi a través de los ojos de mis padres, mis ojos suburbanos de la primera infancia, mis ojos privilegiados blancos. El Hermanito nunca se vio afectado por nada de eso y nunca lo toleraría. Tampoco toleraría comentarios desagradables sobre la apariencia o incomodidad de los demás. El Hermanito requiere toda mi paciencia. También me enseña mucho.

Desafortunadamente, nunca he podido enseñarle a El Hermanito que abra la puerta a nadie más. Él tiene sus prioridades.

La foto en la parte superior es de El Hermanito frente a la Campana de la Libertad en Filadelfia, 1980. El siguiente es de nosotros con él en Brooklyn en agosto de 1989.

You can always tell when the [vertically challenged] Dowager Duchess was the photographer; the photos are taken from below.
Siempre se puede saber cuándo fue la fotógrafa [desafiada verticalmente] Dowager Duchess; las fotos están tomadas desde abajo.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

25 thoughts on “Lockdown Day 82: Take a Lesson from The Kid / Encierro Día 82: Toma una Lección de El Hermanito”

  1. So much to learn through the eyes of innocence. If you still have that shirt, find a pair of bright blue and yellow plaid shorts to wear with it on the boardwalk.

    1. David:
      I was shocked to see how long ago I had that shirt. I brought it with me to Spain and just finally got rid of it about three years ago when it started to go threadbare in the shoulder. More than 25 years!

  2. I like your ‘Kid Brother’. He knows exactly what he wants and how to get it.
    I learned so much from my students/kid brothers-sisters the first 10 years of my teaching career.
    They put life into perspective for me like most other ‘adults’ hadn’t.
    Oh….don’t you just LOVE the prints from the late 80’s and early 90’s?!

    1. Jim:
      I had forgotten how much I admired that about him when he was young. Oh, that shirt. I just finally got rid of it here in Spain. Had no idea how long I had had it. I think it was a Perry Ellis.

    1. Mary:
      Not always, but this is something I’ve always admired about him. Even my mother commented on it when he was probably about 12.

    1. Cheapchick:
      He’s not always capable of that one-day-at-a-time way of being, and he’s got a wicked temper, but underneath it all there is an exceptionally kind human being.

  3. With the state of New York, it’s good to hear the Kid is in good spirits The picture at the top is priceless and he looks great.

    That s face says- “Can you get these twits out of my close up?”

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      He’s at his core not the happiest of people, but he does manage to keep on keeping on. I sometimes forgot the goodness that’s inside him (and the practicality).

    1. Debra:
      I stew all week about how he is given how the rest of New York is doing, but he’s been so careful and so rational through this all. He could give lessons!

  4. That is a very ’80s shirt the kid brother is wearing in the top photo! Good ol’ Izod! It’s great that you stay in touch with him so regularly even though he tests your patience. Sounds like his heart is definitely in the right place.

    1. Steve:
      Oh, my mother and those alligators. When I was nearly 11 and we moved to Brooklyn, I remember putting my clothes away in my new room. I hung my last “alligator,” a belt, in the closet and I told my mother she was never to buy me another alligator anything. She obeyed, but my brother was only 4, so he was waiting in the wings.

    1. Defy … I was about to use your real name… but don’t know if that’s allowed) 😉
      Always good to see you! My brother often exhausts me, but I sincerely love him. And it’s nice to be reminded of the goodness that’s inside.

      1. You may always use Michelle, Mitch! Even Michelle DeMumbrum, though most people find that to be too much of a mouthful! 🙂 Not even sure why my account says that–maybe I’ll figure out how to change it. 🙂

  5. good to hear your bro is OK. did you know that at one time (early 60s) the liberty bell was housed inside independence hall AND that you could actually walk up to it and touch it? I did, many times growing up.

    1. anne marie:
      I didn’t know that about the liberty bell, but it doesn’t surprise me. That’s how things used to be. I have never been to Philadelphia (and so close to NYC), but my parents and brother went regularly. I have some cousins there.

    1. Kirk:
      Sadly, the liberty bell sums up the history of the USA. All men were “created equal” but only “white men” and most certainly not anyone of color.

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