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My Little Brother Marc
My little brother Marc was born one year to the day after
me. I always said he was my first and best birthday
present! Marc was also born way ahead of his time.
He was a big fan of Halloween long before Halloween became a
big holiday, for example, and while the rest of us kids wore
those cheap plastic costumes from Woolworth's he invented
and made his own. My favorite was his spider costume.
He dug through the throw-away clothes bag and found some
wildly colored long sleeved shirts and sweaters. After
cutting out eight of these he stuffed them with the
leftover fabrics and then sewed each end up tight. To one
end of each he attached different bright mittens and gloves
he'd also stuffed with fabric. He attached the eight
arms or rather legs to an old black turtleneck sweater and
he wore his black corduroy pants with it. He made himself
antennae with wire and painted ping pong balls and one of my
old plastic headbands, spiked his hair straight up with
Vaseline (another idea ahead of his time) and wore very dark
sunglasses. Some people thought he was weird. A few thought
he was cool. I just loved it!
In the early 1960's he invented the walkman. Truly, he did!
He would put his transistor radio, which was actually pretty
heavy, in his backpack and attached the
big clunky headphones they had in those days and wear them
wherever he went. He could only listen to the radio but it
was certainly a start.
And you know the strange colored foods you can find on the
stores now, like purple ketchup? Well, again, Marc was way
ahead of his time. When he was about 10 my mother asked him
to mash the potatoes for dinner. He did. He also added
blue food coloring. We kids thought this was marvelous! My
parents were not thrilled eating blue mashed potatoes
covered with brown gravy although if you closed your eyes
you couldn't taste the difference. Once, when we were
teenagers, he made me a rainbow birthday cake using food
colors. It was my favorite birthday cake ever!
I have three things that belonged to Marc. One is a very
old Singer sewing machine, another is a birthday card which
incorporates many mediums including calligraphy,
watercolor and wax resist which he designed and includes a
poem he wrote for me, and the third item is his own personal
teddy bear. The latter actually belongs to my oldest son.
Marc gave Jack his teddy bear for Jack's second Christmas.
He'd only seen Jack once when he was about ten months old
but I'd write him letters about him. I was impressed by how
Marc didn't push himself on Jack but just sat there looking
at him and smiling while he talked to me, reaching out and
lightly touching his hair and then one of his hands until it
was clear Jack felt comfortable with him. This
was astounding from a young man almost 30 who'd had no
experience with babies at all. Marc also left me with a
love for zany ideas, the unexpected, silly puns, and
seeing the world from a different point of view.
Marc was killed by a drunk driver in February of 1982, three
months after my second son, Owen, was born. I still miss