‘Fun facts about Youngest Younger Brother Doug on his birthday’
Okay. I am officially Older Than Dirt. A person whose diapers I used to change has just turned sixty. Gosh. It was shocking enough when I turned sixty.
The person in question is my Youngest Younger Brother Doug; the diaper-changing happened during my B-Team Mom years, which, if so inclined, you can read about here.
This brother is so much younger than me that, for all intents and purposes, we grew up in entirely different families. “Confessions of a B-Team Mom” talks about that too. Heraclitus is mentioned. (A name I still find rather, well, unsettling.)
But enough with stuff I’ve already written about. Today I’d like to tell you about this Marvelous Man who was once the object of my babysitting attention. My Baby Brother Doug.
I’ll start with how smart Doug is. Super-smart. So smart that he studied neuroscience. I remember him saying once that he had to get back to school so he could “give the rats their fix.” (He was studying the effects of drug addiction on the brain at the time.)
But the neurological world was a lonely one, and Doug, deciding he wanted to hang out with people, not rats, went into optometry. He’s been super-successful at it, and now runs a group practice. Nice man that he is, he still finds time for charity work. You can read the article that goes with this photo right here.
Doug also cares about his family. He shows up for birthdays and our Kid of the Month Club, where each of us takes a turn spending a week with our Mom out in Washington State. (Doug’s there right now, in fact.) And I’m still touched and impressed that Doug — along with both my other brothers and my one-and-only sister — all made the effort to get to The Child’s wedding last summer.
Yes, Doug turned out to be a pretty darned swell person. I wish I could take some credit for his wonderfulness, but even though I was a dandy diaperer, I wasn’t around enough after that to be any kind of influence, good or bad.
But gosh. I can’t end this glowing birthday tribute without telling you the story behind its title. Here goes:
When I was a kid, there was no Carlyle Lake in Carlyle, our hometown. It wasn’t Army-Corps-of-Engineered until 1969. (You can see Teen Doug at the Lake, relaxing on top of the Sir Launch-A-Lot, Dad’s pontoon houseboat, in the photo at the top of this post.)
Pre-lake, if you wanted some wet summer fun you headed to the municipal swimming pool. Which my siblings and I would do on our bikes. I was twelve when Doug was born, so he wasn’t one of the sibs who, along with me, would clothespin playing cards to the spokes of our bikes to make a cool noise while peddling to the pool. He wasn’t with me when we’d peddle home slurping on frozen Milky Ways either. (Though he could have done this a few years later with my other much-younger sibling, Laura.)
Anyway. One day Doug was at the pool with our Mom and her Gal Pal Mrs. M. (Hi, Ruth! The good part about being old is that I can call you “Ruth!”) Actually, they were at the kiddie pool, because he was a “kiddie” at the time; three or maybe four.
At the time, he shared a room with his older brothers. Our house wasn’t air conditioned back then, and the upstairs was super hot in the summer. On top of that, Doug “ran hot.” Oldest Younger Brother Scott said they could spot his sweaty little head shining in the glow from the streetlight. He told me that he and Roger used to bounce a rubber ball off Doug’s head when he’d stand up in his crib. Doug apparently found this hilarious — even more hilarious than Scott and Roger did.
All this room-sharing meant the brothers were on rather intimate terms. According to Mrs. M, Doug saw one of the lifeguards strolling by and pointed out that said lifeguard had hair on his legs. “Scott and Roger have hair on their legs too,” confided Doug. “But all I have is prickly heat.”
Here’s hoping you had a most marvelous birthday, Doug, even though it was Big. At least now you’ve outgrown your prickly heat.
Amagansett, New York. April 2023