My brother, David, was 4 years older than me. I had 3 older brothers, but David was special. I don’t know if anyone else ever saw his pearly white wings, but I did. They extended from his shoulders, up high into the air. You see, my brother, David, was my earth angel.
David and I didn’t always get along. Early in life, when I was about 13 years old, I received a used bike from someone. It was my pride and joy! I’d ride it back and forth on the dirt road in front of our farmhouse.
Two weeks after receiving my bike, it was no longer in my life. I just returned from riding the dirt lane, threw my bike on the ground behind Pop’s car and ran into the house for a drink of water.
I was about to take a swig of water when I heard a loud crash outside. I ran to the front door and saw David, who was now 16, had backed over my bike and crushed it. Would you believe my mother insisted it was my fault for laying the bike on the road behind Pop’s car? HMMF!!!
Later, after David joined the Army, he gave me driving lessons on his car. I was astounded, after having gotten my driver’s license, that David handed me the keys to his car while he finished his stint in the service. I was more astounded that my parents allowed me to use the car and drive to school.
But, as siblings will be, I got my revenge from when David demolished my bike. One day, on a wet, slick road, I rolled his car into a deep ditch and demolished it. I wasn’t hurt, but I made sure I never bought David another car!
David never complained about losing his car. But, he did get me in trouble one time when he was home on leave. He was out late with the guys. About 1 a.m., he appeared in my bedroom, whispering, “Carole, I have a girl downstairs. I didn’t feel she was safe to drive home. Can she sleep in your bed?” I agreed and went downstairs with him.
We just made it to the top of the stairs, when Mom opened her bedroom door. As her eyes bulged, David did his best to explain the “bundle of girl” he had in his arms. Mom then told David to give her coffee and get her home. I was ordered back to bed.
After 13 years of marriage and a divorce, it was my brother, David, who gave me a job. I did bookkeeping for his sanitation business. I, with 4 children, lived in his house with his 6 children for a few weeks. I had to wait until an acre of his land was approved for zoning for me to place a modular home on. The parcel of land cost me $1.00, with the understanding when I leave I give it back to him. All rent free.
While living near David, he plowed a couple rows of field for me to plant a garden, in order to help provide food for me and the children. The weeding, picking, shelling, and canning was work, but I always had food on the table. I was grateful for the help, even though I wasn’t cut out for the work that went with it.
David, with the support of his wife, did everything for me.
One summer, they took 3 of my children, plus his 6, on a 2-week vacation. Millie, packed the food, the kids clothes, and her and David’s clothes. All David had to do was get in the van and drive. I was in charge of the business while they were gone. Trust me, I didn’t give anyone a vacation.
After working for my brother for a few years, I felt, I should be more independent and strike out on my own. I felt I’d become a stronger person if I wouldn’t lean on David to do so much for me. He might not have understood at first, that I needed to be totally independent, but, in time, he did.
For 13 years, I was employed as a secretary to the nursing office at Cedarbrook Nursing home, in Allentown.
Even into my independence, I still called on him. David and his workers moved my furnishings 3 times. First, from the home I lived in during my marriage. Second, to an apartment I rented in Allentown. Third, he moved me to a townhouse I bought for me and the children. During this time, David was running a business so it wasn’t easy for him to do these extra things for me. And I never paid him, except a lunch for the help.
When I was planning on buying the townhouse, it was my brother, David, I went to for financial advice. He said, “You can do it!” I was scared, but I did it.
David and I had a standing joke about how much I owed him for demolishing his car. So whenever I picked up Millie (his wife) and she offered gas money, or when I helped her cut wood for winter (after David died), I’d say, “Subtract it from my bill!”
Before David died, in May, for his birthday Millie had the siblings for a Pennsylvania Dutch meal. David always asked me to say a prayer. Sometimes I made up a humorous one; other times I’d find a family dinner prayer on the internet and read it. One year, my prayer was a thank you for all the things I mentioned in this article. I was teary-eyed till I finished thanking David for his help.
David’s heart was made of pure gold. I have no idea how much I owe my brother in all the years he kept me under his wings. But, I do know, no amount of thank you’s, no amount of money, could ever repay David (and Millie) for the help given to me in my life. My brother, David, will always be my angel. Always!
Carole Christman Koch grew up in Berks County and has been published in numerous publications. She has a passion for writing and has many stories from growing up on a farm to raising children to humorous stories about her and her husband to everyday stories to season stories and more.