Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Brotherly Love

I have all of my high school yearbooks; bought them myself, saved up my allowances for them.  My Senior year was the most important, and I lugged that green book around, to amass as many signatures as possible.  Arlo (who was a Sophomore at the same high school) asked to sign my yearbook, so I gave it to him to sign.  He had to take it with him, because we were enroute to classes.  Later that day, Arlo told me that he couldn't find my yearbook.  It was the last week of school, so we looked frantically, but never found it.  Arlo worked in the "Annual" class, so he said that he could get me another one.  On the last day of school, Arlo gave me a yearbook that was damaged, and said: "BAD COPY" on the front, because there were no good copies left. 

I wanted my book with signatures!  Most of the people who signed it had left school already.  But there was nothing I could do (strangling Arlo wouldn't bring my book back), so I swallowed, thanked him, and took the book.  To this day, there is only one signature in that book -  Arlo's. I wouldn't trade that signature for any others in the world.  

I also still have the little stuffed shark that Arlo won for me in a high school carnival; he pitched ping-pong balls into fish-bowls for it.  I asked him why he was giving it to me.  "Hell, I don't want it!" he replied. 

Arlo helped my family & I  move years ago, and we loaded up his truck before he told me that he truck wasn't running well.  I guess this should not have surprised me (knowing Hagler cars), but I wish that he had told me sooner!  I asked him what we should do, after several attempts to start the car failed.  "Well, it will start if I can roll it down a hill...."  We looked around. No hills. "Where are the hills?" Arlo asked.  "None close by that I can see!"  We got a neighbor to jump-start the thing, then shoved off.  Soon after we got going, we       heard something fall off the truck, and crash to the ground.   But all we lost was that full-length mirror, got everything else arrived intact.

Brotherly love is a strange and wonderful thing.  Arlo always sent me funny cards for my birthday and other occasions.  This was his comment in my 7th grade slam book:

 One year, I got a real flowery Mother's Day card from Arlo.  On the envelope was Arlo's usual greeting: "To a Real Mother...From her Soul Brother".  Inside the card were saccharine sentiments about the preciousness of having a sister such as me.  Brought a tear to my eye. Then I read Arlo's signature: "Don't look at me - I didn't write the damned thing!"

Arlo passed away from stomach cancer on October 5, 2002.  Prior to his death, his community planned an event to raise funds.  Arlo was not only a radio personality, he was the community's electrician, and also helped put on the Kate Wolf Shows each year - for starters.   

Many memories were shared at Mateel Community Center in Redway CA., during his Celebration of Life. As I told him the last time I saw him: "You are leaving the world a better place for having been here." It just wasn't long enough.

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