Crazy Mixed-Up Kid

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

(Pablo Neruda  July 12, 1904-September 23, 1973)


I’m in one of those ‘all over the place’ moods and I make no apology for it!

It’s been a good week so far BUT it was all a bit strange because my camera was banjaxed for most of it and I came to realise how much I think Oh, I just have to take a pic of that!  Mercifully, I had it sorted in time to catch this one of the Astilibes in Mount Congreve yesterday:

Mount Congreve Garden, Co, Waterford
Mount Congreve Garden, Co, Waterford

I’m the youngest ‘child’ of the three in our family and Tuesday brought the opportunity to spend the day with ‘big bro’ who has been pretty much everything to me ~ hero; giver of my fringe when I was still in my cot; practice and mixed doubles partner in tennis since I was three and he six; chaperone;  advisor on men ~ beware the intentions of all men from age 14 to 114; grammatical/spelling corrector ~ he’s an English teacher and writer and not so long ago noted that it would be a help if I knew how to spell grammar correctly ~ I was absolutely certain there was an towards the end; the person who has always known how to make to laugh ’til I get a pain in my cheeks; reminder of Mother and Dad ….. as we parted at the South End of the Quay in Waterford I watched him walk away with Mother’s knowing look and Father’s words: It’s a mile from one end of the Quay in Waterford to the other ….. 

'Big Bro' and Me
‘Big Bro’ and Me             Photo: Frank Tubridy

Yesterday, I met a friend and she talked of all the rowing that had occurred between her and her sibs when they were young. I only ever had one row with ‘big bro’ and that was when he (accidently) broke one of my precious records ~ I can’t remember now which one it was ~ but it was the era of Quick Joey Small which was HIS and which was No. I in the Irish Charts in January 1969.

The reason I remember this row so well was because my screaming and roaring were so loud that Father, who was with a customer downstairs,  came thundering up the stairs of the bank house where we were living to find out if the place was on fire or something. By that time, I had got my revenge by cutting  tiny snips in ‘big bro’s’ favourite ties.

I don’t know about you, but I think that one’s place in the family order matters hugely. I don’t think I’ll ever see myself as anything other than the youngest. Nor do I think I’ll ever be completely at home being  a grown-up when my sibs are around.

The Three of Us
The Three of Us           Photo: Frank Tubridy









Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

12 thoughts on “Crazy Mixed-Up Kid”

  1. Smiles all around. I love stories like this! I am the eldest of three girls (we are each 3 years apart) and we had some doozies. But then, I was an “out and about” kind of girl who didn’t waste her time on her sibs! Lisa and Tracy played more together whilst I was hanging upside down on the monkey bars!

    1. Dale, glad you like it. I’m fascinated by your reference to ‘doozies.’ I don’t think the word has reached Ireland ~ or maybe I just missed it somewhere along the line!
      So interesting how sibs interrelate, isn’t it?

      1. Ha ha! Never realised it was a North American expression!
        nounNORTH AMERICANinformal
        something outstanding or unique of its kind.
        “it’s gonna be a doozy of a black eye”

        Yes it is indeed interesting. We have gone through waves of who hangs around whom! Lisa and Tracy when we were younger, Tracy and me when we had our kids; Lisa and me when she had her kids (she started younger than I did!)…

        1. Thanks for the clarification, Dale. I think I’ll start a whole new trend here in Ireland by using the word.
          Fascinating alright the way there are those waves of which sibs ‘hang out’ with which.

  2. I’ve got a younger brother who used to tell tales on me to my parents. One of his favourite things was to kick me under the table when we were at tea rooms and then shout “Stop kicking me, Sarah!”, then I’d get into trouble and he earned the right to choose his cakes first. Grrrrr D:

    I love your photo. The three of you looked very strong characters as children, which was probably why you argued, but being the youngest must have been very hard work.

    1. Hi Sarah, what an interesting ploy for a younger sib!!!!
      Glad you like the pic. Really, we never fought much at all ~ though we are very different and always were.
      I think being the youngest is probably the best place, especially when it gets to teenage years as the parents are much less strict ~ or, least mine were!

  3. Sarah, my sister Patty used to do that same thing. She’d hit me on the arm repeatedly and then yell, “Mom, Sandy’s hitting me.” My mom would say, “If I have to come in there, I’m going to whip you both,” and that quickly ended it. Smart mom.

    1. Sandy, amazing that you and Sarah ‘suffered’ the same way from younger sibs! Your mother clearly seems to have recognised what was going on. Perhaps it was history repeating itself in some way or another.

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