Apr 12, 2022·edited Apr 12, 2022Author

Remember letter writing? My attic is a treasure trove of handwritten letters from the 1980’s.

Last night I found a letter that I wrote to Johanna. I remember the courage it took to express my adolescent opinions to my older sister. I also remember the tone of her replies as she would set her younger brother straight.

In 1986, I was working as a volunteer in the Roosevelt National Forest. I spent the weekends with the hippies in Boulder. We’d hike up the hills to take a couple tokes and then I’d spend the day crocheting Hacky Sacks and judging people.

I wrote, “I’ve been getting into looking at people and deciding whether they’ll real or not real. Of course, I’m the gauge for the most real. The most real people are guys like Van, a ‘bum’ that I’ve gotten to know in Evanston and Jeff, a guy I tutor in Chicago. These people have real ideas and real lives. The most unreal people are people like ‘Paula’ - a girl from Georgia who is ‘against’ inter-racial marriage and believes that Reagan is a great guy…” It goes on, but I’ll stop there.

Johanna replied with the reminder that it’s love that makes each person real and that my job is to love. At Christmas, she followed that with a copy of the Velveteen Rabbit. Thanks Big Sister.

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Apr 12, 2022Liked by Hal Walker

I have 2 brothers Chris ( Christopher ) who is 42yrs and Mike ( Michael ) who is in his 50s . I grew up with Chris who is 6 yrs my junior .

Mike is my dad's son. He got a girl in the ' club ' before he met my mum and she then sadly needed to give him up for adoption. He was taken as a baby and placed with a family who lived Surrey, sth of England. They also adopted a girl .

From what I gather he had a good life .

My mum told me that my dad had another child when I was quite young , but I wasnt to tell my dad . I missed this child and as I got older I instinctively knew he was a brother . In my later 20s I lived in a place called Brighton on the sth coast ( which is kind a the San Fran of the UK :). One wk end I just knew he was there this brother, I could feel him .

Fast forward 10 yrs later and Mike had made his 1st contact with my dad. Shortly after we arranged to meet and it was a special day :) He is so like my dad it's uncanny ...

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Apr 15, 2022Liked by Hal Walker

I’m in a middle child and I have two older sisters and two younger brothers. I like to call it dead center. Nobody else in my family can claim that spot - two younger, two older. The siblings nearest me in age – a sister who was 13 months older and a brother who was 18 months younger were the ones I got along with the least. We fought the most growing up, probably due to sibling rivalry. I had much stronger bonds with my oldest sister and my youngest brother. Funny though … I always wanted younger sisters and older brothers.

It’s no coincidence then that my best friends as an adult were females who were 10 and 12 years younger, and males who were 4, 9 and 13 years older. I didn’t view my female friends as little sisters, but rather always as equals, but I think I was drawn to them because subconsciously, they were the littles I never had. I secretly liked that they looked up to me in certain ways like you would a big sister. Neither of them had a big sister. And not so ironically, my best male friends fulfilled big brother roles in my life.

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My mom remarried when I was 16, and my new stepsister was my age...in fact, we're only 2 days apart. Except for a very brief period, she lived with her mom, so while we got along, we were never close.

Last year at this time her dad passed away. She drove up to not only finalize his affairs, but also to hep my mom with everything (she was 700 miles away, I'm 1800 away).

It only took a death in the family and 30 years, but we were finally working on something together. All of our interactions were via text and/or Messenger, but her help meant a lot to me, and it made me grateful that she's in my life, even if tangentially.

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In the net ' 200 words :)

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One time in the dead of night, the phone rang. 911 wanted to know if everyone was home. I woke my dad & gave him the phone. A minute later my brother came down the drive & shut his lights off as he normally did as to not wake anyone. A minute later red & blue lights showed up behind him Seems he got himself in some juvenile trouble & the cops we waiting at the top of the drive. While my dad was talking to the police I leaned against the car which my brother sat in the back of and kept my hand on the window. He slept at home that night, but had to go to court & fined, but I will never forget standing beside my little brother during that crazy time.

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