MY Sibling ,,,, Three Brothers and a Sister

18 Jul

My brother Jim called today (7/15), and as always we chatted for about 30 minutes.  We didn’t say a lot we asked about each other’s health and spoke of our families and what was on our respective agenda’s and teased each other as we are and always have been prone to do.   But during this conversation, Jim admitted that he has been reading my blog and has found it interesting, but complained (maybe a touch strong a word) there wasn’t anything in my blog regarding my sibling, to which I blew him off, saying I wrote an entire blog about my sibling. Well apparently I wrote that blog in my mind, because a quick review of the posts I have done so far would indicate a mind is a terrible thing to waste (and doesn’t transfer well to blogdom).  So this blog will be dedicated to my sibling.  Probably one of the topic’s I know the least.

First I need to introduce the guilty.  James Robert, (Otis) born 8/52, John Howard (John) born 10/53, Nancy Ellen, (Nanc or Nancy) born 8/58, and Edward Connell (Ed) born 10/61.  I didn’t add the exact date because they need some privacy but not much.  I was born 10/49 ergo I am the oldest.  As sibling go, I have very good brothers and a very nice sister, and I love them all. We are different in so many ways and similar in even more ways.  As we have aged my feeling for them has grown, from them being sibling to having a very good friendship with each of them.  It wasn’t always this way.  The living arrangements as kids had me, Jim, John and then Ed sharing a room, which probably made Mom think of the mess of the century.  Nancy had a room to herself, and of course Mom and Dad shared a room.  I don’t remember us fighting in the room (we did that every place else), but we were certified pigs.  As far as size goes, I am the runt in the family (even my sister is as tall as I am).  But I have better nicer hair (and all of it).  Mom was shorter than me but trust me, she wasn’t the runt in any litter.


Jim, Ed, and I, all had minor brushes with the law.  John was an Eagle Scout, and Nancy was the daughter, never having been a daughter I never understood the special treatment they are afforded.  As kids, Nancy never EVER got into to trouble, but I did numerous times for allowing her to involve herself in mischief.   Each of us boys all turned out to be fantastic dads and providers for our families. Nancy hasn’t married but I suspect she would have been a good mom.

As I proceed with the post you will notice a lack of detail.  It’s not because I have a need or desire to leave out a lot of detail, I just don’t have it.  My family moved to Louisville in 1965, once there, the family settled, and has lived in Louisville, KY since.  I left Louisville in 1969, and except for 10 days here, 20 days there I haven’t lived in Louisville in over 40+ years.  Yet Louisville KY is home.

Being the oldest I found many ways to test the patience of our parents.  I was very good at this.  I learned many lessons, and passed them on as best I could.  Each of brothers and my sister learned from my mistakes in the way of their own choosing.   One of my brushes with the law, presented me options.  I have spoken of this at length in my post titled “A decision that changed my life.”  In the spring of 1969 I joined the Navy, and left Louisville, never to live there again.

Thru my Navy years I was lucky to see my brothers and sister once a year and then it was normally no more than 7 days at a time.  As I grew and matured in the Navy, my brothers developed their own lives and worlds.  John married right out of High School, Jim and Ed went on adventures together or separately, and Nancy off to College to become a nurse.  When I was home it was very rare to see my sibling more than in passing.  Our paths didn’t cross that often, but when they did cross we shared time together, caught up, and then went back to our own lives.  Thank God for phones and the internet, or I would never have communicated with them.  From this lack of communications grew to a lack of knowledge.  But for the last 15 years we all have made significant efforts to communicate, and visit.   I am not saying that me living in Florida (for the last 10 years), with a nice pool has anything to do with it, but it sure hasn’t hurt.   But reality of what has helped us the most in growing together after so many years is the passing of our parents, and our own issues (health or otherwise).

Jim a few years younger didn’t really learn a thing from me, and being of independent mind, tested our parents in ways I hadn’t thought of.  Jim was also a good student and high school track star, btw Dad had been a track star as well, so there was some level of comradeship between them.  Jim being a fair student also stuck a positive cord with Dad.   Jim listened to his own drummer, and followed his own heart.   After HS he became an adventurer of sorts, travelling all over the US, sometimes by bus, sometime by car, and a lot by thumb.  He has seen many sights and had many experiences.  There have been many a time when we chatted, I wish I had taken part in some of his adventures.  Jim married his wife and they have been together forever.  While Jim and his wife have had no children of their own, Jim had been a great dad to the children his wife brought into the relationship.

John was/is the good son.  I was in the Navy during his HS years, but I understand he was a good student, he has been involved in scouting since his earliest day, becoming an eagle scout, and having both of his sons become eagles as well.  He married his HS sweetheart right after graduation from HS, and when to work for the city of Louisville.  He had a very successful career, he has since retired and works part-time because he doesn’t know how to sit still.  He and his 1st wife had 2 boys, both of his boys graduated from Univ of Louisville with honors, and are both on their ways to successful careers.  Both also followed John’s path thru the scouts and have become Eagle scouts.  John’s 1st wife passed away after a long long illness, and he has since remarried.  His current wife is a very lovely lady. John and I talk on a regular basis, he enjoys taking cruises.

Nancy is the only daughter in the family, she has no completion, and was clearly dad’s favorite.  Nancy was another I didn’t know much about when she was a kid, she was so much younger and was a PIA.  Most of our interaction was me taking heat for allowing her to cause mischief.  Nancy has been a nurse since graduating from college.  She has worked in pediatrics for as long as I can remember, and seems to love her job.  She also has loves dogs and has Dalmatians for as long as I can remember.  Her dogs are spoiled but loved.  Most likely had she married her kids would have been spoiled and loved. Mom and Nancy played scrabble, one on one, and very cut throat.  When I was home visiting, I would be invited to join the game so Nancy could snicker at me.  Most of the words I could spell were not in the accepted Scrabble Dictionary, I rarely won any game of scrabble against either Mom or Nancy, but I would find way to annoy Nancy during the games, just to annoy her.  And while Nancy’s vocabulary was larger than mine, I was never afraid to challenge her words.  It didn’t matter if I lost the turn or not, it was the messing with her that was fun.

Ed, he is the youngest in the family, and I believe he followed my example of displaying a lack of effort during the HS years, like me he barely got thru HS.  It wasn’t until a couple years after HS that he applied himself and worked his ass off to become a master electrician.  He now is the inside and outside plant manager for a small hospital outside of Louisville.  I don’t know what kind of athletic he was or if in participated in HS sports.  He and his wife have decided to go their separate was after 25 yrs of marriage, but they raised 3 wonderful kids.  Two girls and a boy, both girls have joined the workforce and are doing well. Ed’s son excelled in HS and has gotten an academic scholarship, and is well on his way to a successful future.  Ed and I have grown extremely close over the last few years.

I have limited knowledge of other family dynamics, but in what I see, I find many similarities between myself and my sibling, and those of other families.  My brothers, sister, and I have grown closer as we have aged.  We have grown closer with the passing of our parents.  And other personal issues have helped us continue to grow closer.   I am grateful that I have such good strong relationships with my siblings. And I am happy we share the love we share.

This post was a long time coming, and one I enjoyed writing, you now have a little more info on me and my family, I hope you enjoyed this journey.  As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to offer them.  Take care and have a pleasant day.  — Bill


Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Ramblings


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10 responses to “MY Sibling ,,,, Three Brothers and a Sister

  1. Chatter Master

    July 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    This was a wonderful snapshot of siblingdom. I chuckled. I nodded my head in understanding. I sighed in wishing as siblings we could all still be closer. Great post Bill.

    • FlaHam

      July 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Colleen, Thank you very much, that was more difficult to write than I thought it would be because I don’t have a lot of childhood memories. I was out of the house and in the Navy before I could really develop anything meaningful. Thank God over the years we all have made the effort to be good siblings. Take care, Bill

  2. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    July 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Hello James, John, Nancy, and Ed.

    FlaHam you crack me up, wrote the blog in your head. Why does that sound so familiar. But, now that it transferred from there to the “real” written page it’s a delightful post.

    Be well, my friend.

    • FlaHam

      July 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      Paulette, I do believe that Jim, John, Nancy and Ed would like you as much as I do. Oh I do remember writing a short paragraph about each of them, but were it is written I don’t have a clue. I hope your well, sorry we haven’t had a chance to chat recently. Please take care, Bill

  3. gita4elamats

    July 19, 2013 at 2:07 am

    Nice to meet your siblings, Bill. (。◕‿◕。)

    • FlaHam

      July 19, 2013 at 7:41 am

      Ela, I am sure they would enjoy meeting you as well. Take care, Bill

  4. Wanda

    July 21, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I know I like you and, based on your descriptions here, I’m sure I would like your siblings as well.

    It’s interesting that your two of your brothers found different ways to get into trouble than you did–like your sister, I hardly ever got into trouble, mostly because my older brother sort of over-achieved in that area. Outdoing him would have probably landed me in reform school!

    • FlaHam

      August 1, 2013 at 6:45 am

      Wanda, My brothers are all a version of me in some way shape or form. I really believe John (the one that was never caught), had his adventures, but he has such a cloud of good luck and self control that I can understand why he was never caught. Since I posted that I have spoken to each of them, LMAO they are all like Allison, they don’t remember it that way, and I had to tell them, duuh, because these are my memories not theirs. I did fat finger my sister’s middle name (it’s Eileen not Ellen), which was a accident on my part, and again shows off my lack of editing skills LOL LOL. She was very graceful in pointing out my error. Take care, Bill

  5. Nancy Hamilton

    July 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    This is the first of your blogs I’ve read. Interesting take on our lives. BTW the name is Nancy Eileen (not Ellen) and I’ve worked OB for 32 yrs not Peds…just saying. Hope the cruise is going better than you could have hoped or imagined. Love you Bill.

  6. DeeDee Granata

    July 25, 2013 at 8:23 am

    This one made me miss my 3 sisters and 4 brothers. Love your sister’s response. 🙂 Happy sailing.


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