Fifty years ago, I was probably still in denial. We had a perfectly good thing going. I had finally gotten used to the fact that I had a little sister and she was almost tolerable. Then, surprise, surprise, Mom and Dad told us there would be another baby coming into our lives. They’d only intended to have two children and a couple of cute little girls was just fine. One day, the dentist asked Mom if she was pregnant. In shock, she laughed and said that there was no way for that to be possible, but he knew better than she did. Come to find out, another baby was about to join the young Greenwood family. This would take some getting used to by everyone. Dad had always told Mom she was emotionally capable of raising 2.6 children and he wasn’t sure where that extra .4 was going to come from. Something would have to give. I’m not saying whether it was either Carol or Jim; you’d have to ask them.
You might notice in some of these pictures that Jim had a black eye. I know he wants to blame that on me, but I insist that he got himself into trouble all by himself. Of all of us, he was the one who broke an arm and the one who nearly electrocuted himself when washing the carpeting during a thunderstorm. He spent an entire childhood testing the limits of everything he encountered, including the limits of his sister’s tolerance. The church in Sigourney built a new parsonage while we were there and as we moved from the old house to the new one, Mom discovered many little piles of burned … whatever … in our basement. I think we were very fortunate that he didn’t burn the place down. He tore things apart, much to Mom’s chagrin, but what she didn’t realize was that he wanted to see how they went back together. He learned how to explore, despite her fears.
You won’t see it in these pictures, because we were a little older the day I decided that he would make a great horse for me to ride around the house. He was a strong little bugger. I pulled him up short one time, but not fast enough to avoid a corner made of bricks that jutted out into our dining room. Look closely at his forehead still today, there were a few stitches taken there that night. I don’t know that he ever really forgave me for that. As well he shouldn’t. While most people would be proud of a healthy scar on their face, poor Jim’s was right between his eyes. Okay, okay. I guess we’re lucky that I didn’t blind the poor boy. The best part, though? Carol and I got to spend the evening with some friends down the street who had a color television, while Mom and Dad made a quick run to the emergency room.
The three of us had a pretty happy childhood. Jim tormented and tortured us, We did our best to exclude him from all the girly things we came up with. Mom told us all to play nicely and Dad waited for the day we would finally grow up and stop acting like children.
We moved from community to community when the Methodist Church told Dad to move and the thing was, the three of us were always a unit in the world, no matter how we treated each other at home. We grew up, did different things with our lives, added family members, lost our parents (okay, they died, they aren’t lost at sea or anything), explored dreams, hopes and goals; met fears, disappointments and disasters.
The day before his birthday (you know, that one that shall not be mentioned), Jim has fulfilled another dream; one that has been there for a long time. His first book – Rookie Privateer – is alive and in the world for everyone to read. It’s been a great journey for him and I’ve been thrilled to be part of it and watch it take root and grow.
It’s the tale of a young man seeking to live beyond his immediate life and the twists and turns he takes to get to something bigger. Liam Hoffen faces down pirates and his own father’s expectations. He confronts his fears and decides to address their challenges rather than allow them to control his fate. He makes choices about who to trust and is surprised by the actions of those who should have been trustworthy.
It’s an adventure in space, the dream of a young man who sees the stars every day and wants nothing more than to fly among them. He will do what it takes to keep that dream alive.
You can find my brother’s book on Amazon in both paperback and for the Kindle. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read it now. I’ve laughed and gasped, rolled my eyes at his droll humor and gotten to know Liam and his buddy, Nick James, as they meet their new life head on.
Happy Birthday, Jim. After 50 years, I can say that I’m glad you showed up on that cold April day.