Dave was the biggest of big brothers. He was always doing things for me. When McDonald's was giving away the character glasses of the 1970s-80s, he would always bring a glass home to me, even if I was asleep.
When I was around 12, I nearly drowned. I had never swam in anything besides a horse trough and had no idea that there wasn't a bottom or that a pool had a deep end etc. My mom and step-dad were invited to an event and they brought all of us children. The host, seeing such a large group in our family(and most certainly not thinking) yelled, last one in the pool is a rotten egg. I took off like the rest of the kids, and the next thing I knew I was lying on the poolside and my step-dad was yelling at me. I remember he was yelling things like, didn't you know that there was a deep end? I was ever so ashamed and wanted to crawl back to the station wagon and go home. But we stayed until well past dark(summertime), and I cried by myself under a tree. Dave came to see me and brought me food, and my mom came and hugged me but I remained alone.
It was only later that mom sat me down and told me what David did. David knew immediately that I was in trouble and went to me and began trying to save me. He nearly drowned himself. It was my mom, in a polyester pantsuit that walked on the bottom of the pool holding me up that saved me, and then she pulled David up as he had made it to the edge of the pool. Mom said she tried to swim but the pantsuit weighed her down.
This moment impacted my life.
After my step-dad died ( in September of the same year), I asked mom if I could take lessons to learn to swim and learn I did at the local YMCA.
When my children were born, even though we could barely pay rent, Bill and I put the kids in swimming and I was at the city pool(well it was called a city even though it had about 5000 people) every single day in the summer. It was a major goal that my children learned to swim and we scrimped in every area to ensure that they had lessons.
Sometimes when I awaken at night, I think about Dave, struggling and nearly dying to save me...and he was a kid himself. A good deal has happened since that scary day, and Dave has had some serious highs in life and some even more serious lows in his life. But to me, the Dave I remember is the brother that stood as everything for his little sister.
I pray that David recovers and is able to enjoy the rest of his life, as I love him as only a little sister can love a big brother.
Here's Dave with me by his side.
And yes, those are cleats on his feet
and saddle shoes on mine.
ps...Cathy I am sorry I cut your head off in this photo.