I do not remember how old I was the first time I met my big brother, Marvin. Marvin was born in 1935, offspring of a different mother than Terry and I who came along in 1948 and 1949. Marvin in those years, and basically most of his life, never lived anywhere close by where Dad and/or we resided. I was probably four or five years old the first time I saw him. He came to visit Dad and us, and Terry and I were, shocked and amazed to magically have a big brother in our lives that we had never seen nor really knew about before. And BIG he was ? Marvin stood 6 feet 2 inches and when you are just a little shaver that is a giant. That was my big brother, a giant.
So, all of my life Marvin was a big brother that visited now and then. Maybe that was what made Marvin so special ? he would appear occasionally which always created excitement in our lives because we did not get to see him often. When Terry and I were little guys he made his arrivals even more exciting because Marvin would always show up bearing gifts. It was like having a second Christmas for the year. I remember one time Marvin arriving in a convertible ? a big deal to kids that grew up in the 50?s ? and drove us downtown to the local ice cream parlor and buying us anything we wanted. That was my big brother. One time Marvin showed up with two ?captain yachting caps? for Terry and I which we wore everywhere and probably even to bed. If I remember correctly, Terry lost his and claimed it was mine that got lost and took my cap. Terry still owes me a yachting cap!
Marvin joined the Army which made his visits even more infrequent. Marvin got married and I remember that his wife and his first baby, Deeann, came to live with Dad and us for several weeks because they had to leave Greenland early, where Marvin was stationed at the time. It was nice having the company but it wasn?t complete until my big brother arrived. Marvin made a career of the Army which also dictated where Marvin was going to be and how often we would see him which again, wasn?t often enough.
I have many fond memories of my big brother, Marvin. The best memory is probably under the worst conditions. It was March 4, 1970 and I was on a night sweep with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Division, somewhere near Da Nang when the night blew up and so did I. After surgery I was laying in a bed in a hospital ward in Da Nang ? a 19 year old kid, drainage tubes hanging out of my chest and my body still covered with the grit and grime of Viet Nam except for the portions that were bandaged. Not one of my prettier moments. My bed faced the main doors to the ward so I saw him as soon as he came striding through the doors! MY BIG BROTHER! I had known he was supposed to arrive in country at any time back then but I did not expect to see him magically appear again just as he had done when I was a little kid. I was never so happy to see MY BIG BROTHER, Marvin, as I was then! I spent five days hospitalized in Da Nang before they shipped me off to a naval hospital in Japan. Other than to use the bathroom or buy us some goodies from the PX, Marvin, MY BIG BROTHER, never left my bedside the entire time.
The years have rolled by since then, each year much faster than the preceding one. My visits with Marvin, sadly, were just as infrequent as they always had been. It was nobody?s fault - just life taking all of us in different directions due to families, careers and the naivety that we will catch up tomorrow. Then one day, you realize tomorrow is going to pass you by. Marvin contracted cancer and fought the good fight for quite awhile but cancer has a way of coming out the winner. I saw Marvin, MY BIG BROTHER, for the last time at his Granddaughter?s wedding back in September. A main reason I attended that happy occasion was to see MY BIG BROTHER while he was still Marvin. Marvin was shorter, thinner, very frail appearing due to the disease that ate away at his body but his mind was clear and he was still Marvin, MY BIG BROTHER. That is how I want to remember him.
I have always liked the Spanish phrase, ?Vaya con Dios? meaning Go with God. Yes, Go with God, BIG BROTHER! Go with God!
Tony and Lorraine kept me informed about how Marvin was doing-I was so
sorry to hear he lost the battle but he definitely put up a great fight. You all
can take comfort in the fact that he was a strong and brave man and always
met adversity head-on. He will be missed but not forgotten.