I never had a little brother…or any brother for that matter, until I married Bob. I had a brother-in-law then, but no brothers. If I could have picked a little brother, I think he would have been just like Bob’s brother, Ron Schulenberg, so I guess it’s perfect that he was the one I got. Yes, he was my brother-in-law too, but he was so young when I married Bob, just six years old, so he just didn’t seem like a brother-in-law to me. I remember taking him with us on dates sometimes. He got to go to Dairy Queen more than any six year old there ever was, I’m sure, because how many little kids got to go on dates with their older brother. Most older brothers didn’t want their kid brother hanging around them at all, much less on dates, but Bob and Ron always got along well. They still do to this day too. Whenever one of them has a project going, and they need help, they know that they only have to call, and the other one will be there to assist. It is a blessed kind of relationship that the two of them have always had. Oh there were the ups and downs too, I’m sure, but the bad times never lasted very long.
Ron was an uncle pretty early on too, since my daughter, Corrie Petersen was born when he was just seven years old. Growing up, my girls must have almost felt like he was their older brother too, because they saw a lot of him. I don’t recall them ever fighting too much like siblings do, so I guess he took his uncle duties very seriously, and acted very mature. Of course, by the time my girls were old enough to fight with him, he was closer to being a teenager, so maybe he didn’t feel the need to fight with them. I remember one time when we were out cutting down trees for firewood, Ron found a deformed tree, and since the girls had come along that time, he took them out to that tree, and set them up in it. It looked like a chair. They thought it was the coolest thing, so we got a picture of them in that tree, and their Uncle Ron standing proudly beside them.
Ron is grown and married now. His wife, Rachel had a daughter, Cassie, who is married, and two little boys, Riley and Tucker, so he gets to spend lots of time with little kids again. I think he is so good with little kids, because he has had so much practice…practically all his life. He went from being a good uncle to being a good dad. Nevertheless, while he is over six feet tall now, he will always be my little brother, so he might as well get used to that. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Any time you have two girls whose mom gives birth to a baby brother, you have two little mothers in training. They want to be involved in everything, even if they are only 5 and 7 years older than the baby brother. In fact, that might even make it more likely that they will try to show off their skills. Smaller sisters might not give much thought to a baby brother, but when they start thinking they are big now, they want everyone to know it. And for that little brother…well, he can plan on a lot of years of being bossed around by those sweet, innocent looking little bossy mommies in training. This was the world my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg was born into. Oh, those first couple of years were probably great, being cuddled and pampered by his big sisters, who just loved the baby, but then, he became a toddler, and the terrible twos came about, and suddenly those nice big sisters were just as bossy as they could be.
I first met Ron, when his older brother, Bob and I started dating, and I can tell you that Ron always seemed to find himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing…especially where his older sisters, Jennifer and Brenda were concerned, and older sisters, Marlyce and Debbie agreed. Boys will be boys, but I guarantee that their older sisters are not amused by that fact. I can remember Jennifer and Brenda telling Ron to “knock it off, and behave himself” more than times than I can count. Here he was, just trying to show off for company, and what do those darned big sisters do…well, they just go off and embarrass a guy!! Thankfully, though there were also good times, when they would do things with him and life would be great again, or he might have just had to not like his sisters at all.
It was also a good thing for Ron, that he had a big brother, among those four big sisters, who didn’t mind hanging out with his little brother, even on a date. I suppose it was a matter of Bob having had to live with two older sisters all his life and two younger ones for quite a while. Bob knew what sisters were like, and he had to take sides with his little brother…guys have to stick together…right? I mean, it was four to two, and those were tough odds. And for Ron, the added insult of always being the baby brother, even when he was a great big 5 year old…well, you get the picture.
The good news is that Ron grew up, and as most siblings, with age comes friendship. His sisters found out how handy he was to have around…especially when they needed a helping hand with things. Ron is a great mechanic, and he’s pretty handy with most carpentry tools too, so anytime someone needs something built, he can usually get it done. He will always be their baby brother, but we all agree that he isn’t a baby anymore…in fact the youngest is the tallest!! Maybe that was for self defense, who knows. Today is Ron’s birthday!! Happy birthday Ron!! We love you!!
As a boy, my niece Toni’s husband, Dave and his brother, Dan were a mischievous pair. They liked to build forts with some big…12 x 6 x 6 inch, cardboard bricks they had, and then they would spend hours in there. It was sort of a boys only club, and an irritation to their sister, Jane, I’m sure. Jane tried repeatedly to get in on the fun, but every time she tried, they knocked all the blocks over on her. Poor Jane didn’t have a chance against those two boys. She was clearly out numbered, and would have to learn to get even or at least to laugh at being picked on, because she would be picked on by her brothers all of their childhood. They still speak, so I guess things worked out one way or the other, and my guess is that eventually the boys got over the whole girls have cooties thing, as well as the blocks thing and that settled it.
When Dave was 6, his dad was a soldier serving in Viet Nam. I’m sure it was a hard time on the entire family, and Dave decided to be a bit rebellious. I’m not sure what he said to his mom, but she decided that the best punishment was to wash his mouth out with soap. I have had that done to me, and believe me…it’s icky. Well, little, big boy, Dave at all of 6 years of age decide that he was not going to put up with this horrendous treatment…after all, with his dad gone, he was the man of the house…or at least one of them. His response was to Karate chop his mom!! It didn’t hurt of course, but his mom was too amused to punish him for the offending words or the chop. I’m sure Dave realized later in life, just how lucky he was that she found that funny, because the opposite could also have been the case, and then it might have been a mouth washing and a spanking. I guess he would have found out who was really in charge then!! And that he wasn’t quite the tough guy he thought he was.
Dave was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He came to the University of Wyoming to get his engineering degree, and he continues to be a serious Wyoming Cowboys fan to this day. After college was over, he started working at the Bureau of Land Management, where he has worked for 30 years, and that’s where he met my Aunt Sandy. Now you might think that he then met Toni through Aunt Sandy, but you would be wrong. Dave and Toni were introduced by a mutual friend. They decided to go out, and he mentioned to some of the gals at work that he was going out with a friend’s friend named Toni. Aunt Sandy said my niece is named Toni, and showed Dave a picture of our “huge” family. Dave said, “That’s her!” The rest, as they say was history. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Times have changed as far as what is considered the normal family dinner, but whatever your family does, this is a daily trsdition. Some families opt for the sit down family style dinner, where everyone is at the table, and you eat together. As a kid and still sometimes, such as lunch at my mom’s house, this was how we ate. The meal was prepared and when it was ready, we all came to the table, prayed over our food, and ate together. We always had good conversation, and an ocassional debate between my dad and me, and when everyone was finished eating, we gave thanks for the meal, and left the table to begin the clean up. It was a dinner tradition that has largely become a thing of the past for most families, including my own for the most part. It is mostly because people don’t have time enough to sit for an hour or more to eat and talk about their day…a sad fact that has come about because of our hectic lifestyles.
As families grow, sometimes they simply outgrow the table, or at least they do if friends and family come over for holiday dinners and such. At this time you have to be a little bit innovative in order to make things go smoothly at dinnertime. It was at this point that many families adopted the idea of the kid’s table. The kid’s table is just what it sounds like. It is usually a coffee table or other small, and usually too low for the adults to possibly be comfortable, table that the kids can adapt to easily. The cool thing is that, for a little while anyway…until the kids decide that they don’t really want to be considered the kids anymore, and they want to be at the adults table, this set up allows the adults to talk easily, and without all the noise that always resides at the kid’s table. It can, however, be a big problem, when the kids want to move up, because they can’t really add to the conversation in exactly the way they thought, so it just creates problems. Sometimes…if you ask me, the kids don’t know how cool it is to be at the kid’s table. Some even opt to go back there…shock!!
Of course, as many of us know, sometimes it is almost impossible to have any kind of a sit down dinner at all. The kids are rushing out to work and dates, and there is always some game or show on television. For many people, they have to get to the gym, or in our case, our on the trail for a walk…after visiting my mother-in-law at the nursing home, of course. There is just so much to do and so little time. For Bob and me, that often means eating separately, and on the run. Since he gets off earlier than I do, he has already eaten, so we can rush to the nursing home and back in time to walk. I might have a sandwich in the car on the way to the nursing home, I know it’s odd, but it works for us these days. And on the opposite side of that coin, is the kid who gets off work after dinner is already over. There is just no choice but to check out the table to see what might be left over, in the hope that they don’t have to make something for themselves. The traditional family dinner is probably a thing of the past for most of us, and has been replaced by a new tradition…whatever works for your family.
While brothers have long been known to be best buddies, and most get along pretty well as kids, it seems like that isn’t always the case when a number of years separate the two. Bob was fourteen years old when his only brother came on the scene. Sisters had dominated his life from his birth in 1954 to the birth of his brother, Ron in 1968…four sisters, to be exact. I’m sure a brother was a welcome change, still fourteen years is a great distance to overcome when it comes to being best buddies. Ron wouldn’t even be someone Bob could play with much before Bob was sixteen, and then driving and going out with friends and girlfriends would be more the things on Bob’s mind.
In most cases, all the things a teenager wants to do, when they get to the point of driving, put a quick end to the time they want to spend with their little brothers and sisters. That was not the case with Bob…at least not where his little brother was concerned. They had always been close, and still are today. Bob has always had a way with kids, and his little brother was no different, and once he is friends with someone, it takes a lot to change that. And Bob doesn’t care about their age. His little brother has always been special to him. It has always been a special relationship.
I will never forget some of the dates Bob and I went on…with his six year old brother. It was not what I would have ever expected, but found to be very sweet. Sometimes, it isn’t the normal things about a person that make the person, but rather the unusual things they do that can endear them to you…sometimes forever, as is the case with Bob and me. He just had a special quality, a kindness to others. I could tell that he could no more have hurt his brother’s feelings than he could grow wings and fly, a trait I’m sure my brother-in-law also appreciated as well.
Of course, as with any boy or man, the car they drive is a big deal, and for these brothers, cars were something they had in common, and still do. It was a bonding thing for both of them. Maybe that is why they were such good friends, and still are today.