What It’s Like to Have a Brother

Being An Only Elgon

Brother Baris Circa 1940

Today would have been my brother Baris’ seventy-eighth birthday. Although I never met him in life, his ghost haunted my childhood, figuratively speaking – same as with my two older sisters.

The simple truth is that had he lived, maybe one, two or all three of us other kids would have never been born. You see, each of us was our parents’ attempt to replace him.

Baris’ life was difficult from the outset. My parents were dirt poor, staring out their marriage living in a chicken coop on a farm where my dad was a hired hand. As a child he suffered a head injury when he fell. Never fully recovering from that he suffered periodic seizures until his death in the spring of 1945.

Joyce, Genette and me in 1957

I say that my sisters and I might not be here had he lived out of a general sense that our parents might have been…

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