ON THIS DAY IN 1943

The life I had been living was to change forever. I was an only child, and I was told that Mommy was coming home with an 8-day old brother for me. His name was Neil, and we grew to be very close. When he was a baby, he had a babble language of his own, and only I, at seven years of age, could understand him. Neil would babble something at Mom, and she would ask me what he wanted, and I could tell her.

As Neil became a toddler, I became his horsey, and sometimes I was his tiger that would protect him. He named me Tykie, when I was the tiger. In later years, I taught him to ride a bicycle, and swim, and some bad things too. Some weekends I took him to Saturday matinees at the Nortown, or the Eglinton, or the Avenue, all on Eglinton Avenue in those days. I took him tobogganing, and skating. In later years, he was on my pit crew when I was racing sports cars.

The relationship gradually faded when Mommy brought home another brother, Steve. Neil’s and Steve’s ages were closer than Neil and I, and they bonded more closely. My life took me to outside activities, and I grew closer with Steve when we were older, because there’s a 10 year gap.

Sadly, Neil passed away some years ago. The truth is, the Neil who is always with me is the kid that hung around with me for some years, and to whom I passed on both good and bad things about myself. Neil’s my brother still, because the years of shared learning and winning and losing are always with me, and I sometimes wander through them.

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