My uncle, Larry Byer, out of all the nine children of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, most resembled my mom, Collene Spencer. In fact, as children, they looked so much alike that some people actually thought they were twins. When my grandmother took my Uncle Larry, who was just 20 months older than my mom, to register for Kindergarten, they asked her if she was planning to register his twin sister too. Grandma was rather surprised and told them that he didn’t have a twin. She really hadn’t thought about the fact that they had similar features, such as the same color and texture of hair, and similar facial features, with the exception of the normal differences between boys and girls. No, they didn’t look alike then or later in adulthood, but the similarities were enough to know for sure that they were siblings, and I guess that for the person registering Uncle Larry, that was enough to think they were twins.
Uncle Larry and my mom, as well as they younger brother, Wayne, who by the way, looked quite different than his older siblings, were always very close. Uncle Wayne had dark hair and Uncle Larry and my mom were blondes; and their facial features were different too. Nevertheless, they were all best friends. I suppose that age had a lot to do with it. The older siblings didn’t really want to hang out with the little siblings so much. It’s a common problem in families. So for my mom, that meant that her sisters, both older and younger, didn’t so much hang out with her when she was a child. So, she hung out with her brothers. Time changes things though, and as she got older, she hung out a lot with her older sisters. Nevertheless, she was always close with her brothers growing up.
Of course, it helped that Uncle Larry, and Uncle Wayne too, had a great sense of humor. They always kept my mom laughing and that made hanging out with her brothers, more a choice rather than a necessity. They were good to her too. The Byer brothers were kind, gentle souls, much like their dad. Mom always felt privileged to be allowed to hang out with them, and she would defend them to the end…even if it meant telling off her mom…a thing she only did once, however. It happened when Grandma was giving Uncle Larry a spanking for something he did, and my mom thought that her mom was being too harsh. So, she told her so. Grandma continued spanking Uncle Larry and ignoring my mom, but when she was done with Uncle Larry, and both kids started for the door, Grandma grabbed my mom, and gave Mom her share of the spanking…something she wouldn’t have received if she hadn’t stuck her nose in where it didn’t belong. I have often wondered if Mom regretted sticking up for Uncle Larry, or if she always felt justified. I think Uncle Larry might have appreciated the intent, even if it wasn’t a very smart idea. Today would have been Uncle Larry’s 99th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Larry. We love and miss you very much.
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