When I was being born, Pete got to go stay with Uncle Jack and Aunt Jo. Uncle Jack had five daughters so Pete was probably a little spoiled. Uncle Jack also had horses (need I say more). Mom told me later that Pete refused to come home when he found out I was a girl (he already had two sisters at home, he wanted a brother). I suspect if I had been a boy, he probably still would not have wanted to come home.
Pete did not waste time worrying about me being a girl. He decided it didn't matter. I remember playing "Cowboys and Indians"(self explanatory if you consider the times) or "War" (roughly based on old World War II movies). We raced hot wheels and played cards. In other words, Pete made sure I was quite the little Tom Boy and I did not mind a bit.
Pete also did not worry about how old I was, he never talked down to me or treated me like I was any younger than him. If I wanted to do something, he assumed I was smart enough to do it. He taught me how to play chess when I was in first grade so he would have someone to practice with. I haven't played in years but I am still pretty good. We played scrabble and he tried to help me with my spelling.
Pete has always been a hard worker. He had a double newspaper delivery route until he was old enough to get a regular job. I think he used money from that to by me the first bike that was mine alone. I had been riding a little red bike that had belonged to who knows how many older siblings and I left it too close to the driveway. My Dad came home from work and ran over it. I was heart broken.
I remember Pete babysitting us. His favorite thing to cook for dinner was zucchini in tomato sauce. He was pretty good at it too. Back then he took his eating seriously. One day in particular I remember, he ate dinner at home with us, then went to his job at Dipoma's Market. Mrs. Dipoma, who was an amazing cook, had made eggplant spaghetti and knew it was his favorite so she saved him a bowl. He ate that too. A few hours later, my Mom sent me over to the store to pick something up, and Pete with his buddy Shawn were just polishing off a whole chicken between them. Mom used to say that he ate so much, he burned it off just carrying it around.
We picked on him and he picked on us. He used to be terribly ticklish. I am not. Self defense, when you are the youngest in a big family, you have to have some way to get the big kids.
Jimmy might have been my hero, but Pete has had a lot more to do with who I actually am. He was there, always, and he still is if I need him. We have had our moments when we did not agree, but I am very lucky to have him for a big brother. Me, Paula, Margaret and Pete last summer. I have the best family!
Happy Birthday Pete!