knock it off
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!!
Family pictures are always a trial. It really doesn’t matter how big the kids are either. When my husband, Bob was a kid, he was very much a cut up. He liked to get everyone laughing and basically keep the situation a little off center. Of course, his mother really didn’t appreciate that much, and it was even worse, when Bob got Brenda laughing. Brenda found many things that her big brother did to be quite funny, and had a very hard time not laughing about his antics. And as anyone who knows Brenda will attest, once you get Brenda laughing about something, it’s hard to get her to stop. Now most of the time, that is ok, because it really is fun to listen to Brenda’s laugh, but when they were trying to get those pictures taken, Brenda’s laugh, and Bob’s humor were not as appreciated as they were on most other occasions.
On this particular occasion, in about 1968, Bob and Brenda were in rare form, joking with each other quite a bit. Their mother seemed to be handling things pretty well, and their sisters all thought the whole thing was pretty funny too. Their dad, however, was clearly not amused at all. I’m sure that by the time this whole photography session was over, he even had quite a headache. He was always a very easy going, and mostly a soft spoken person, but I would wager that this had taxed his patience to the limit.
I have known this man a long time, and he was always long suffering, but once his patience had ended, he had the ability to blow a gasket with the best of them. At that point, you knew it was time to straighten up your act, and by the look on Bob’s and Brenda’s faces he had reached that point. They were clearly mid-laugh when their dad yelled, “Knock it off!!” At that point there was nothing they could do except to close their mouths tightly and swallow what was left of that laugh. That can make for the funniest of faces as you can clearly see, but I suppose it was better than the alternative, which would have been the spanking they probably deserved.