I Just Lost My Big Brother

Ted and Harold in 1940

Ted and Harold in 2015, 75 years later 

Harold Sherman had recently celebrated his 94th birthday. Despite the deep sadness of his passing, we can try to be content that he enjoyed a long, bountiful life. He died with his children and grandchildren at his side.
We started our lives together, but it seemed the world decided we would part early and never again really have the opportunity to be brothers. When I was four and Harold seven, our father died. It was 1929, the year of the Great Depression.
Our widowed mother, with no income except $15 a week from charity, two years later placed her two boys in an orphanage residence school. We were there for ten years, and saw each rarely, mostly only on Sunday mornings for an hour after chapel services. It was called brothers’ line.

Then, just when we had completed high school and were ready for our freedom, America was in World War 2. The brothers were again separated when Harold joined the Air Force, and I served in the Navy. After that, there was college, marriage, careers and everything else that kept us from ever living within thousands of miles of each other.

For Harold’s 94th birthday on March 1, I sent him this poem:

Remember we played in Dad’s hat store?

Then when Dad died, together no more.

I was only six and you were just nine,

Sundays too briefly in the brothers’ line.

A decade later, as we saw freedom’s door,

We were again separated to serve in war.

It seems destiny always keeps us apart,

But forever you’re big brother in my heart.

And when the time comes to say goodbye,

I hope there’s a brothers’ line in the sky.

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