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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

the life of my brother mark...

   mark was delightful,heartfelt,empathetic,bright,funny,handsome,talented,artistic,gifted. one Christmas he decided we needed a fireplace to hang the stockings from,so he made one from cardboard. he painted it to look as if it were made of red bricks,made a fake log fire with standing flames also made of cardboard ans colored yellow then a red nightlight placed between the fake logs and even had the set of the objects that stands in front holding the poker and broom. it was really quite amazing and yes it even held the stockings when the were filled.
   he also taught me how to wrap presents with multiple papers, making different angles cross the boxes and how to make bows of different shapes and sizes,how to lay ribbon to follow and hide the seam of the different papers,how to weave the ribbon pieces into different patterns to frame the bows and take old Christmas cards and cut them into gift cards or little standing figures into little scenes.

    for halloween he wood make a spook house in what was called the L-barn. he wood hang masks on the walls with flashlights shining upward under their chins,brooms were placed into holes in the floor and dressed in scary costumes and from below him would push them up through the floor to scare us when we got near (and there were plenty of holes so he could change the room between tours). there were boards balanced so you would walk up till it tipped straight ad then walk down the other side. he would charge us a penny each time we went through and when we ran out he would give them back so we could do it all over again. he had just has much fun recreating it for us as we did being surprised every time.
    mark somehow new at a very young age that farming would not be his lifes work,he started singing solos at school,performing the supporting role of freddy in my fair lady when he was 13 and singing at weddings while still a boy soprano. at 15 he went on to join THE KIDS FROM WISCONSIN,which included being the opening act at the state fair grandstand for such acts as SONNY+CHER,PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS,CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL,RED SKELTON AND MORE, during the school year he would also perform at waukesha civic theater. he was the first male cheerleader in mukwonago schools history and also the first male gymnast. after high school he went on to THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS touring and performing at places like DISNEY WORLD,plays in milwaukee at center stage dinner theater and a tent theater of which i cannot recall the name,i want to say the carousel tho i'm just not clear on that.

       then he was off to chicago for a while,then LAS VEGAS at the LIDO,from there it was on to PARIS to perform at THE LIDO DE PARIS with SHIRLEY MACLAINE. after which worked on a NORWEGIAN cruise line on THE ROYAL VIKING SEA an elite cruise ship that cruised completely around the world...passengers could travel part of the trip or all. i believe it was after this that he got his favorite job of all,TOURING WITH THE LOVELY AND TALENTED MITZI GAYNOR she treated 'her boys' like family. MS. GAYNOR note and flowers for our mothers funeral in 1987 just months after we had seen the show in milwaukee.

        i had just gotten married a few months before mom died of cancer,then in 1989 i was finally able to get pregnant,that thanksgiving mark was home...we were all at dads for thanksgiving dinner,mark got up from the table and picked up an old heavy wooden cutting board we had had forever.but, this time as mark picked it up with one hand,from next to the stove,it broke and the largest piece swung down and caught him in the arm causing him to bleed. there was much commotion happening at the table with everyone talking and finishing the meal. somehow, even though he was just 3 feet away,i was the only one who saw marks reaction when he saw the blood running down his arm or to see him place the cutting board in the sink and to hear him say 'NO ONE TOUCH THE CUTTING BOARD IT HAS BLOOD ON IT. it was a surreal moment,it felt as though mark and i were suddenly moving at a different pace from everyone else. they were at normal speed and sound totally unaware anything had happened...while he and i seemed to be slowing down and speeding up,each at our own was all out of sync.
      i got up from the table and immediately poured straight bleach on the cutting board in the sink making sure not to touch it.i then went to mark and told him what i had done...and asked if i could help him, he said NO. he was quite upset and kept saying how stupid it was for him to break the board that way. 

                  it's late,i'm very tired and have an appointment here in the morning...i will try to continue this tomorrow if i'm able...


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