Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mind like a sieve.

My sister~in~law, who occasionally maintains a blog at duchess&theduke, is considering writing a book about my brother, Mark, for my nephew ~ the aforementioned Duke. I think this is a great idea as it will gather everyone's memories into one spot & help the Duke remember his daddy, warts & all. Fifty years down the track I still distinctly remember my reaction to finding out I had yet another little brother; 'Feed him to the sharks.' I have no idea why my parents did not take this very sound advice.
The thing is though, I have very few clear memories of Mark as a child. He was one annoying little brother & to say we did not get on would be one of the world's great understatements. I once threw him across a room & I riled him so much he threw a knife at me. It was war. I was a quiet & introspective kid. Mark, like my Ditz, was company incorporated. If he couldn't do it with company it wasn't worth doing. Actually he could easily have given Dino's quote as to why he came to school; to socialise & play sport. It certainly wasn't to learn.

We grew up & found that blood meant we shared a few more things in common than the odd gene or two. He became someone I actually liked & whose company I could endure without wanting to kill him. He married a wonderful woman who is strong enough to live without him but I find myself in a quandary when I am asked to talk about my memories of him. There's just this blank space that Mark used to inhabit when I was a child but we didn't share. Boy germs. He was 4 years younger. I was already in pre~school when he arrived & year by year of my childhood that gap just grew wider.

My brothers shared a room ~ not always equitably. Mark was not the easiest person to live with. My brothers sailed together. Mark was crew, John skippered. This suited them. John was the competitive one, so much so that in one disagreement Mark lept overboard & started swimming for the shore. John hauled him aboard, not out of concern for his safety but because he would be disqualified if he did not cross the finish line with his crew aboard!!!

Later on they abseiled together, flew together, shared the same friends, went to the same youth group, same schools, enjoyed cruising together~ all things I was not a part of or simply did not enjoy. Even when we had a shared interest we came to it from totally different viewpoints. Take the Arthurian Legend. Mark read & loved the whole Le Morte de Arthur. He loved Talesien. Both make me wild ~eyed because they are historically inaccurate in huge ways. I'm not sure Mark ever understood what I hated about them. Mark loved living out west in a small country town. I'm an island girl. Mark had a knack for simplifying things; I complicate them. Mark was the life of everyone's party & had more friends than he could count. I am the life of no~one's party & a decidedly acquired taste.
Mark was the world's worst driver. He rolled the family minor minor so often on the same corner coming home that the residents, on hearing him coming, would wait for the inevitable so they could help tip the car the right way up again. Definitely a hands on learner! He kept rolling it until he learnt not too! His driving was so appalling that John always insisted on doing the driving to & from their flying lessons & someone is on record as saying it was as well the boy wanted to fly ~ far less to hit up there. I always said the difference between John & Mark was Mark would go with his gut & John would go by the book. I figured by the time John had worked his way through the book it would be far too late to rectify any problem & always felt safer if Mark was doing the flying. I still feel that way two years after Mark's crop duster ploughed into the dirt. Whatever happened up there in those final moments I know Mark met it with courage & determination & the joi de vere that was so much a part of him. He was one of the happiest people I have ever known.


Anonymous said...

What a great recollection! I hardly knew your brothers -- maybe met them once -- but I do remember your vivid tales about rolling cars and the escape of the blue-ringed octopus.

Mark sounds most endearing -- rather like you in many ways (let's face it; once you get talking you are the life of the party) -- and I'm glad you got to know him well as you both got older. Also glad you have such a good SIL.


molytail said...

Wow...Mark sounds like he was an amazing guy, and I think your SIL's idea of a book would be fantastic...I'm so sorry that you guys lost him. *hugs from the other side of the world* ...

I clicked over to the blog and discovered two of my favourite things going on - three, actually... motorcycles (Norm is a biker - I've spent many many hours on the back of his, roaring around in and out of the province), photography (she's got some fantastic pictures over there!) and then I spotted this...

Once the sun has set, we'll fire up the surround sound and projector to watch Mark's all time favourite movie, Top Gun on the big screen outdoors!

Not only does it sound like your brother was quite the character - he also had excellent taste in movies. ;-) ...I think the only movie I've seen more times than Top Gun is The Princess Bride. I have the TG soundtrack in the car - Cindy & Christopher love "Danger Zone" and we often get the most peculiar looks, driving around town with that old song blasting out the windows. *grin*

Ganeida said...

lol Everyone who knew Mark has a funny story to tell about him from the parents whose daughter he was dating & returned home past her curfew (he brought his apologies dressed in sackcloth & ashes) to the pilots he flew with. He once congratulated his minister on his sermon because Mark understood his point. I am given to understand it was a 3 point sermon & no~one seems sure which point Mark got!

Moly, Mark's bike was yellow (the yellow peril) & he took Liddy out while she was down on her own ~ 200kph, or so she tells me, on the open road. Glad I didn't know at the time. And frankly his taste in movies was apalling ~ but hey, you've read what I like!

The HoJo's said...

The last line of your post would be a good place to start :o)
I popped over to the blog too, wow!
Terribly sad for you and your family though.

Ganeida said...

Siano, I meant to say...Just how long have I known you, girl? Exactly! If I can't talk to you who could I talk to?

Hojo's; Sad? More, from my pov, frustrating,just because we will never know just what happened. We, his family, are not the investigating team but there are some things that make us think Mark had a stroke or heart attack prior to the crash; he was on final approach, coming in to land; he was in radio contact with the ground. Radio contact suddenly cut out & was never re~established & the nose went tail up. Every flyer knows you put your nose down to land & Mark was a very experienced, very careful pilot. He was a Christian so we have the hope of eternity but I feel for his son who was very close to his dad & had just got home from boarding school for his Christmas break when the accident happened. Ditz says crossly all my family likes dying round about Christmas & sadly that is all too true.

The HoJo's said...

So true. There is a certain peace in knowing what happened. I always find the what if's are the worst feelings.

Anonymous said...

Ganeida, I think it's been 28 years!! LOL

Wish you lived closer; I'm going into MAJOR meltdown over my upcoming job - totally new direction and totally new culture. And I'm meant to have (and use) lots of people skills and liaise with millions of people -- and you know how much of a people person I am (not) :P

Will keep you and Mark in mind, for courage. (God hears about it already, on an hourly basis. LOL)