He had red curly hair – a smile a mile wide and a laugh and giggle that you knew right away who it was.
He was my younger brother – we were like a second family for my parents –
Donna and Roger were 15 and 10 years older.
We had a sister who died at birth in between the two sets of kids.
We fought like cats and dogs do – but we also were close.
He instigated a lot of it and would scream bloody murder as loud as he could when I had enough.
I was the one who into trouble but mom always knew as she later told me.
He was just o darn likable with that hair and giggle.
We played all the time together – cowboys and Indian’s – running the neighborhood –
He was always hurting himself – one time he climbed up on top of a attached shed at a neighbors house.
He was going to ambush me but I saw him and pretended to shoot him.
I saw what he was going to do and I yelled STOP – but he did it anyway –
always acting real life he sort of collapsed and rolled off the shed to the ground as if dead.
But there was a stone bird bath under the shed roof and when he came down he hit his elbow on it!
Off to the doctors office we went and then in the ambulance to the hospital to have surgery on the elbow!
He had to have a pin put in and that elbow was off to the side -making his arm seem crooked.
A few years later – we were on the front porch – and he had climbed up onto the porch railing – I told him he had better get down before he fell.
Well – as always – he gave me that silly laugh and giggle – and I could not help but smile until he did fall.
At the end of the porch beneath that railing – a 2 x 10 stuck out – he came down and hit that board with his other elbow and we repeated the same thing all over again with another surgery – now he had two elbows exactly the same!
But -it seemed like it was a perfect solution for him as it perfected his golf swing and he had a lot of power and strength in those arms – one time I was with him – and this was way before anyone was hitting the ball 300 yards.
We were playing the old number one hole at Smethport – he was a Freshman – me just beginning my senior year –
He hit that ball and because of how his elbows were now shaped – he hit it straight with power. That hole was a gradual uphill some 305 yards!
His ball ended up past the hole and into the yard behind it! Some 50 or 60 yards past! Uphill!
If I had not been there to see it – I would not believe it!
Gene Fazio – who was a card member of the PGA and a premier golfer in the Pa. and NYS area –
told me – “IF I HAD MY SHORT GAME AND MIKE’S DRIVING – I WOULD GO ON THE PGA TOUR”!
Mike was a scratch golfer even with those elbows.
Mike ended up bigger than me – he was as tall as my father who was a little over six foot tall.
The brother’s – Roger – Mike and I got our curly hair from my dad – my grandfather was bald.
Mike ended up around 215 pounds and played football – but he could kick that ball just like he hit golf balls.
Far and straight – he became a field goal kicker way before that was common in H.S.
His kick offs were always through the end zone and he went on to college at Mansfield University of Pa.
Where he became the kicker for the college football team.
He graduated in Criminal Justice.
As I said before he was always doing something and getting hurt!
He was riding my bike one day and I told him to get off as he was not big enough to ride it!
His legs could barley touch the pedals – sure enough his foot slipped and he came down on the cross bar –
off to the hospital we went again – operation for a rupture!
My brother in law Bill nick named him JUICE!
I really do not know why other than he was like electric – energy running through him – always a live wire!
Then one day Bill and I were sitting on the front porch –
and he said “HERE COMES JUICE”!
And then Bill said “JESUS CHRIST”!
And Bill hollered at him – “JUICE- PUT THE ROPE DOWN”!
But too late!
Mike was walking up the street twirling a dog rope with a clasp on the end of it over his head like a cowboy!
He got it too low just after Bill yelled to put it down and it started to wind around his head lower and lower.
It came around and smacked him right on the mouth –
“KNOCKING OUT HIS FRONT TOOTH”!
Off to the dentist office we went – oral surgery to extract what remained in his mouth of that tooth.
THAT IN A NUTSHELL WAS MY BROTHER MIKE!
Red hair – bearded – always smiling and that silly laugh – giggle.
I MISS HIM as he passed away when I was 35.
My brother MIKE – loved – close as brothers are – gone way too young – but never forgotten.
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