Russel, my brother. 1918-1992

Jerry's View: The Bully

This week I celebrated my dear departed brother Russell's birthday. I
will grieve alone. His wife succeeds him but lives in California. I
will send a message to her. Russ would have been 95.

He used to pound me a bit but never anything fatal. I was two years
younger and 30 pounds skinnier but I was his private punching bag; a

I was actually quite proud of his impatience with me and it was okay
that he soothed it by knocking me around. He also protected me.

He was skinny too but spent many hours trying to overcome his
shameful biceps and skeleton rib cage. He kept his store bought bar
bell set in the garage and worked out everyday all by himself.

I kept my bony body out of there and peered at him silently
through the window.

Russ loved to fight but never picked one. He got pretty good with his fists.

I had a large, red carbuncle on my back in grade school. A bully
heard about it and pulled my shirt up to smack it. I howled and he
grinned. His name was Rupert Reedy.

I told brother Russ about it but he did nothing. Years later, when
Russ was doing his stint in the Navy, he entered the Mid-Pacific
elimination bouts on board ship at Pearl Harbor. Maybe it was fate.
Russ was matched against that bully Rupert.

Russ pounded the peas out of that school bully and wrote me a
letter about it. He also won his weight division.

Russ once rassled Alfred Lavagetto for ten minutes in a vacant field
owned by a farmer and won when he managed to push Alfred's head into
a fresh cow pie. We called Alfred pie-face after that.

Dirty Nick Telemchuck was a reform school kid. He was really mean
and tough. He followed us home and offered to whomp Russ and me both.
We knew Nick was dangerous so we climbed out our sister Bernice's
window and stood on the porch roof and yelled at him and called him
names. He had a serious overbite which made him look even meaner. Russ
thumbed his nose which was really bad because it meant kiss my foot or
something like that. Nick gave up and never bothered us after that.
Maybe he got arrested.

In high school Russ was running down the hall. The hall monitor
stuck out his arm striking Russ in the nose, making it bleed. They had
some angry words and agreed to meet after school to duke it out. His
name was Sylvester Durkee; a boy with a hot temper.

Somehow word of a rumble got out. I went to watch like a whole
bunch of other kids.

A fight was always exciting.

Durkee was tough but led with his face.Russ knocked both of his
front teeth out and I really felt bad because I couldn't see how he
could ever bite an apple. Maybe his dad would have to buy him some new
teeth that you can take out and put in like my mom did.
Russ had a real sore fist for a while.

I never ran in the hall myself. Happy Birthday Russ.

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