Doug.jpg My friend Chris called me yesterday to tell me how nice my brother Douglas is. He is so nice she had to call me to rave about him for a while. He is THAT NICE. He had called her to invite her to go to my choir performance and that he would be taking everyone out to dinner beforehand. She was actually high on the wonderfulness of my brother and she had to tell me. I was working and she didn’t have my complete attention. Then I got distracted by a 1947 Maya Deren movie of kittens. I am probably everyone’s most infuriating friend.

But I knew what she was feeling. My brother Douglas is the kind of person who says the things that we all later think, “I should have said that.” He says them. He is direct, honest, funny and sweet. It’s a heady thing sometimes, talking to him. Then we talked about how nice my other brother Peter is, but a different style. Douglas is effusive-nice, and Peter is quiet-nice. I once said I wanted a jewelry box and had been looking and looking for one, but I couldn’t find any that I liked. The next Christmas Peter gave me a jewelry box that he had HAND MADE. Plus, he’s gifted in how things are put together, so when you pull out the top tray of this box and put it back it always softly shooshes into place with this very satisfyingly perfect cushioned plink-feel. It’s hard to explain. Anyway, Peter has a good heart too, and manages to communicate what Douglas communicates, but in his way. Anyone who has ever gotten a perfectly crafted thing knows that it is love made into a physical object, and is every bit as comunicative as words.

Peter2.jpg Seriously though, I lucked out brothers-wise, they really are special. AND THEIR WIVES, Robin and Karen. Great people attract great people. I will never forget how Robin and Karen cared for my mother when she was dying. Robin is an artist. I’ve got a couple of her pieces here! Karen, I think she should be a school principal. She’d be like the cool principal. She is great with kids, but she has a wicked sense of humor. AND THEIR KIDS, Greg, Ellie, Nicole and Christopher. Greg is a writer too, although he may decide to go in an entirely different way with his life, he’s 16. But he’s really good and could be a writer if that’s what he decided. He’s a sweetie. Totally Doug and Robin’s kid. His sister Ellie, who is 9, is a handful, which for me is BIG compliment. I love a girl who is a handful. Go out there and KICK LIFE’S ASS, Ellie. Christopher, I know him the least, but he’s an aethist!! YAY. He’s also young, 17, so we’ll see if it holds, but one more for our team maybe!! Nicole is at Stonybrook and she loves animals like me, so of course Nicole is the BEST ONE. Just kidding. They tie. I keep meaning to ask Nicole how she likes Stonybrook because one of the women who I’ve been interviewing for this book (her grandmother was a medium I am writing about) has a daughter who is thinking of going there.

The top picture is Douglas on the beach at Amagansett, I think it was 1975. The next picture is Peter, around 1973. This is the Peter I grew up with. He was NEVER not playing guitar, and he loved Jimmy Hendrix, and while I can appreciate the man’s talent, I was not a fan. Many a time I plotted against my brother’s guitar. I wonder if they felt the same way after my millionth rendition of Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag?

Oh, and please be noting that they are both blonde. I’m the adopted one, right??

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

5 thoughts on “Brothers

  1. A Principal??? Those poor kids wouldn’t know what hit them. That was a very nice post. They deserve it.

  2. Such a nice post 🙂 Would’nt you love to overhear your brother’s describing you?!
    Back in North Carolina after seven great days in New York. We didn’t get to the cupcakes though. Curses. Ah well, I guess we will just have to go back. My favourite memories are “Rent”, walking the Brooklyn Bridge (we took the subway across and walked back so we could have the great Manhattan skyline view the whole way. It only took 15 minutes. Who knew?), stopping for tea in the Village after hours of walking, and just watching the world go by (I think it was called College Cafe). The most vivid memory (from both this trip and last) however, is that first hour after getting off the train in Penn Station. Coming up out of the station into the glorious chaos of it all. All the excitement from months of planning and anticipating. For me it’s that feeling of Christmas from childhood that I’ve never been able to recapture as an adult.
    Thanks again for your suggestions 🙂
    And PS, I think your “after desk” looks great.

  3. Ok, I just have to say, what is with the bad punctuation in my last comment? Must go read “Eat, Shoots & Leaves”. Yikes.

  4. This is a poem my brother, Mike, wrote so long ago. I send it for you and Peter. He is now with them.

    Death’s angel came
    With a flash and a blaze
    Took Jimi’s life
    And left a Purple Haze.

    All Along the Watchtower
    They hung their heads and cried
    Even in Electric Lady Land
    They couldn’t believe he died.

    With disbelief sitll floating
    Tears still not dry
    Death’s angel struck again
    Like lightening from the sky.

    Now poor Janis lies dead
    Free from her Ball and Chain
    Everyone stricken with Kosmic Blues
    But no one can explain.

    Why it’s oh so hard to see
    Death’s for Cheap Thrills
    A user’s destiny.

  5. Oh man. I’m so sorry, Debby. What happened to your brother? They guy clearly had a heart, that’s so sad. How old was he?

    Nadine, I’m so glad you had a good time. I honestly would have felt bad if our city here had let you down! I would have felt like it was part my fault.

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