Oh Brother…

10 Jun

I have some great memories of my brother…IMG_20160610_0001


IMG_20160610_0001 (3)Brother Dave.

Ever so slightly bonkers, totally outrageous, generous to a fault, hopeless with money, practising hypochondriac, pathological liar and a mincer of note – yep, a raving queen. And, back in his day, that was illegal – punishable with a prison sentence.

I think this sometimes made things difficult for my other brother, who followed him through school. You can probably imagine.

But he made my childhood magical.

He left home when he was about fifteen, given his lifestyle – out and proud even then, but when he reappeared from time to time (to borrow money or recover from the latest mystery illness) we’d have fun.

Dave always bought me presents, something daft usually, like a long string of bright yellow plastic poppets – remember them? Not the chocolate nibbles we scoffed at the pictures, but huge, brightly coloured beads that snapped apart/together with a very satisfying click, so you could lengthen or shorten them according to mood/outfit. 1950’s bling.

And anything that was made in Hong Kong.

We’d have adventures: in the attic to find treasure and get covered in dust, sending me down the sewer when the rods wouldn’t do the trick – really.

We built a fabulous snowman in the winter of 1963…scan0028

His virulent green, hairy jumper was cut up, stuffed and fashioned into a gonk. And, one day, he cut a leg off my dad’s best pin-striped suit trousers to turn into a pencil skirt for me to dress up in. Dad was on the large side; they didn’t call him Big George for nothing!


Of course, I loved dressing up…scan0034scan0035

Taken in secret with an old box brownie we found on one of the attic forays,  at seven years old (says so on the back of the photo). The ensemble was completed with a pair of my cousin’s stilettos that brother ‘borrowed’ for me.

Looking at these, I could have had a whole different career!

We’d play old records – really loud – and he taught me to Charleston and do the Black Bottom…great to swing the poppets to.  Or we’d sing along to America – da-da-da-da-da-Amereecah, da-da-da-da-da-Amereecah – at the top of our best hispanic- type voices. West Side Story I think.

And he’d laugh out loud – way before these days of LOL – boy, could he laugh. He’d be heard all over the old house as he watched That Was the Week That Was on the tele  or listened to Round the Horn or The Goon Show on the wireless. He died his hair all manner of colours and painted anything that didn’t move. Gold usually.

My parents didn’t have a car, so I never went anywhere that wasn’t in walking/running/biking/roller skating distance. Until Dave brought home a new boyfriend who did have wheels!

Then, for the first time, I went to the seaside…


L to R…my best friend, David’s boyfriend with the car, and a chubby, young BB

Skegness. What a treat. If you forget I was car sick that is.

He had a lot of friends, some from the nearby USAF base, and one gave him this…


An original Zippo!

I acquired this beauty, aged about nine, when brother taught me how to smoke. I still have it – well battered now – but a much-treasured possession, and probably the reason I can’t completely kick the smoking habit.

As I grew up and started to bring home boyfriends of my own, he was the secret test they had to pass. On meeting my brother, they were judged on their reaction; one physically assumed the ‘back to the wall’ position and sort of whimpered a bit. He didn’t last long.

Always up for a bit of mischief, one day when a friend and her brother came round, brother David minced through the room – camp had nothing on him. My friend’s brother laughed so much that he slid under the table. Hilarious. Of course Dave didn’t mind – mission accomplished.

But my brother has gone and died, and it’s set BB reminiscing. So many memories.

As a child, I always sobbed when he went away and now he’s gone and left me for good, I’ve shed some more tears.

We had a suitably silly funeral for him last week of which I think he would approve. If not, he will haunt me.

Oh brother…IMG_20160610_0001 (2)

Really Immature Poofter.




6 Responses to “Oh Brother…”

  1. SharonElaine Dickerson Wright June 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

    How wonderful to have such lovely memories and pics to help you through this awful sad loss. I never knew David was ‘out and proud’, not aware of such a thing then, but of course I didn’t really know him. So sad for you.

    • Boatbird June 10, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

      Yes, the memories help and will always be there, and sharing them seemed right and therapeutic. He was very poorly so a merciful release really. Thanks Sharon.

      • Tony June 13, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

        Although we have never met as yet, reading you Blogs and letters via the internet I feel that I have got to know you a Wee bit… so just to say I am with you in thought Stay Well..Stay Strong ..Stay Safe..My Best Regards Tony South Africa.

  2. Boatbird June 13, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    Thank you Tony.

    It has been a great comfort to me at this time to receive messages from friends, old and new, near and far. And it’s a real boost when I see one such as yours – lovely words – when, as you say, we’ve not even met. Yet…

    If/when I ever get back to sunny South Africa, I’ll be sure to look you up my friend.

    All the very best to you,


  3. sharonelaine1 December 27, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

    Just made me cry all over again!

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