But who was M? He was a neighbor boy who "liked" C and whom C "sort of liked." M quickly married C and they loved and took care of each other for the next 70 years. In his rough, vulgar, macho way, he was a lovely man whom i would have been proud to have for a dad, though i'm certain we would not have gotten along well.
To ease the pain of losing her first child, she quickly conceived another, who was born about fourteen months after me. I never met R. He grew up strong, like his dad. Like his grandfather, he was a musician and his mother had bought him an expensive guitar for the Christman of his nineteenth year. Then the truck he was riding in with three other boys went into a raging river. Though he was by far the best swimmer of the four, he was the only one who drowned. His body was found three months later, about the time he would have started studies at the local junior college. He had not yet turned nineteen.
I was a junior at college in Illinois that winter and i suddenly began to act weird. It became urgent for me to find my biological mother, to help her in some unknown way. After three months my weird behavior and thoughts and feelings went away.. I sometimes wonder whether something inside me felt my half brothers death and/or my mother's grief.
Many years later i met my mother and M, and i got to spend a few days with them scattered over a five year period before Alzheimers and then death took them from me again. I have seen pictures of R, he looks nothing like me, a handsome young man, just getting ready to go out and shake the world.
When C and M died they left a modest estate, a few hundred thousand dollars, surely less than a half million.* That money went to establish a scholarship in R's name at the junior college he would have attended. The scholarship will pay tuition, fees, and materials for "C" average students who otherwise would not be able to go to college. This year, five students were given scholarships.
My three brothers and sister were my family, but they were not my blood. I always felt a stranger in my own home. I cut ties easily and completely when i finished high school. Part of that i'm sure was my autism, part was probably a bad relationship with my father.
But some of might have been that my blood was flowing elsewhere, in some other family's veins.
So i think sometimes about my half brother, this young man who shared some of my genes
*Actually it a little more than $500,000.