My Brother, John
John was the second child in our family, but certainly not without importance
in the family dynamics.
I can remember the day of his birth. I was
solidly sleeping on our maternal grandparents’ living room sofa,
when I was abruptly wakened and informed that I had a baby brother. At
that moment I was unaware of the significance of that information.
amazingly small creature was brought from the hospital to a small bassinet. A
small girl, I looked over the side and into the bassinet and spied my
sibling. I was surprised that he looked like a small,
wizened, old man.
Fortunately he grew to a baby with the most sparkling
eyes I have ever in my life seen. He had chubby cheeks and apparently
knew some secret joke for he had an ever-present large smile.
As a toddler he was always happy and content. My new family member
seemed to be able to entertain himself with absolutely no assistance.
He developed yellow, curly hair and a wobbly gait. He loved to prove
that he could walk and stand without the aid of anyone else.
He was so
intense and like his brother after him, could see a bobby pin on the
carpet from across the room. He would make for any object of this size
and carefully lift it with his small fingers. He would turn the
object over and over trying to discover it secrets; not finding any,
he would return it to its original position.
I remember pulling him around in his little red “Flyer” wagon
through our neighborhood with his blue “blankie.” If
I wanted to play with the local children, there he was under my watchful
eyes. I loved my little, happy brother and did not mind taking
him along. By the way, the eventually tired, blue “blankie” went
the way of my other siblings’ “blankies”…”oh,
whoops, left it at grandma and grandpa’s.”
All of a sudden
he had many little friends with which to play. He no longer needed my
assistance, so I was no longer watching his every move. Besides,
our other siblings arrived; and as it is in life, it was someone else’s
turn as the new baby.
One summer was just not John’s summer. He
was about six years old. His head happened to meet with a baseball
bat; two days after his scalp stitches were removed, he fell backward
from a school yard swing and broke both arms; and two weeks after his
arm casts were removed, he was hit by a car while cycling through a crosswalk. His
young body was thrown high and back and he suffered a compound fracture
of his leg, plus various other contusions and abrasions. The point
of this tale is that he was in the hospital for, oh so long. And
once again I was able to help him by phoning his room to read him about
his favorite character, Uncle Wiggly.
As a little boy, he was so eager
for adventure. He completed his
boyhood years into his teen years. Building his own telescope and
grinding its lenses, he would often be found watching the night skies.
I know his most enjoyable summer was spent with cousin, Blaine Beaudin. The
two of them stayed with grandma and grandpa Kuiper to paint, complete
some odd jobs and spend some much needed cousin time. He and Blaine
spent much time in their kitchen, patiently talking with grandpa.
he entered a world I could not share. And as such it was when
he graduated high school he became a solid Christian and joined the submariners
to sail underneath the seas on the skate class, nuclear submarine, USS
I’m sorry I could not be there to hold his hand as I did
when he was young, but my heart was always with him.
Linda Oury Rogers
My Nephew, John
I thought of this poem when I heard of John’s passing. It’s
a poem I read long ago. I love John and he meant a great deal to
me in my life. I will miss him.
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf a flower,
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief.
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing Gold can stay.
Robert C. Oury
The sons of thunder;
And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself
wanted. And they came to Him. 14 Then He appointed twelve,
that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, 15 and
to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: 16 Simon,
to whom He gave the name Peter; 17 James the son of
Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges,
that is, “Sons of Thunder”;
John often quoted this passage to me saying the he and I were like James
and John two former sailors (although not fishermen) “Son’s
of Thunder” rough around the edges but still called by Jesus for
his own purposes.
John and I shared many common experiences in our lives but him being
the older brother he would get the opportunities to experience them before
me but once I got my turn we would then have similar point on which to
converse in quiet times of reflection over coffee or an adult beverage.
We both shared honor, duty & service for our county in Uncle Sam’s
Canoe Club, although he having served in submarines and I in the surface
fleet John would be quick to point out that he served in real ships and
I only in targets.
We shared opportunities to travel the globe and see and experience the
many and diverse peoples and places but always knew where home was and
we would rather be here in America than anywhere else.
We shared a life’s work in the computer industry. Both taking
advantage of the training and experience we gained from our time in the
Navy. If John and I wanted to turn the conversation to just him
and I we only had to start talking computer geek and we could lose most
everyone else in the room.
We both shared love. Love found, then lost, then found again.
We both shared the Joy and heartache of being a Husband and Father.
We shared loss, the loss of our grandparents and the loss of our Father.
But John had to endure so much more the loss of his son which he prayed
was an experience that I would not share with him.
One other thing we shared was a relationship with Jesus Christ. John
and I talked much about our faith, about why a couple of sons of a son
of a sailor would be of any concern of God. We would pose questions
about God’s plans for our lives our past failures and triumphs.
What was God going to do next? And when would he come back to take up
We often could only speculate on the true answers, but John once again
gets to now know all the answers first, from the Lord himself no less,
and I will have to wait for my turn, but we both know that we will be
together again to share our experiences only this time in the presence
of the creator of the universe and maybe that cup of coffee.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no
more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for
the former things have passed away.”
5Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all
I am going to miss my brother very much. I had hope that he would
be able to give me pointers on being a father with my own kids but I
will now just have to remember his last words to me on that – “Just
love them” he said to me & you’ll learn – You’ll