The first of many stories about my Brother Phil…

As Promised here is the first of Many stories about my Brother Phil.. Some pre notes and such:

1. I am writing as the memories come to me not in any specific order.
2. These are my and memories and may not be the same as actual events or how anyone else remembers them.
3. I welcome enhancements to the stories, If I forgot something remind me of it.
4. I encourage everyone to write their own versions as we are trying to tell one Man’s story and no One’s story can be told by just one person.
5. I reserve the right to change any of these when ever I want.
6. If you can’t read this with out scrutinizing my writing style, spelling, grammar, or anything else that should be followed in proper literary fashion you may want to stop now.. This will probably give you fits. If you wish to be my personal editor let me know and I can send you advance copies for chop.

I am only four years older than Phil and Kathy is only 2 so our early memories are fuzzy. I don’t remember him coming home for the first time. I don’t think that our house was finished yet at this point. I have seen pictures of us three together when he got home but as I said have no recollection of it.

My first prominent memories of Phil are of him being sick. I am not talking about a cold but really sick. I am not sure about Kathy but I sure as hell didn’t understand how sick he was until very later in life. I remember he was small, I would now call him frail. He had allergies and asthma really bad. Mom spent what seemed like weeks sleeping with him for fear he would not be able to breathe. We had a futon in the family room/kitchen that they would be on. He was allergic to almost everything and anything would/could and often did set off a terrible reaction in him.

It scared me to hear him wheeze and labor to breathe. It scared me so much that all I wanted was for him to stop. He would still bring up the fact that I would threaten him if he didn’t stop wheezing or breathing loudly whenever we shared a room. Kathy will tell you that he loved to torture me with how much I picked on him when we were young and was a little proud of himself that he learned several ways to take care of his big brother if the need ever arouse again. To this day I cannot sleep if someone in the room is snoring, wheezing, or even breathing heavy.

I don’t know how long it was before he started getting shots but the attacks got fewer when he did. He had to have shots every day for a while then it went to weekly for what seemed like ever but was probably most of Elementary and Junior High school. I was gone by this time but think he was still getting shots in high school.

I will tell you I resented him a little bit because while growing up he couldn’t do anything that may set off an attack. He was allergic to almost everything so he couldn’t be around dust or pollen. Any hint of wheezing around my mom and he was protected from anything and everything. While we were young I don’t know how much he played it but in my head I know he played it. This meant that he couldn’t help clean the house (my memory wants to tell me not even his room) or help with any thing out in the yard. This left chores up to Kathy and I. Now they were not hard chores really but to a couple of kids this was not fair and I am sure you are all aware of what happens when children don’t think it is fair.

As Kathy tells it, after I had left the house and he got older our Mom had a “let him suffer” kind of attitude about it so it wouldn’t “handicap” him and almost tortured him sometimes making him mow the lawn and get him to run around. She wanted him to out grow it. When he started playing soccer she never gave him an inch to whine and would actually yell at him to “get up and cry about it later”, but that was usually after a slide tackle that would have him lying in pain and at
the chiropractor that week. Phil would look at her like she was crazy
and get up and finish the game. Kathy looks back at this as the true Boot Camp Phil went through.



2 Responses to The first of many stories about my Brother Phil…

  1. Art,
    Being so much older then Phil(two years) i to picked on Phil too. My tactic was to say Kathy was my Kissin Cousin. He hated that, even as adults. He would do that angry laugh, and shake his head with his face all red, not knowing if i was going to get punched or not. I still refer to Kathy today as my kissin Cousin. I wonder if that bothers Ray. I hope so. I can’t wait for more stories.
    Cousin Andrew

  2. Art Dykeman says:

    It was brought to my attention that I need to be careful with my use of ERMAs Easily Recognizable Military Acronyms So I will try and spell them out first.

    MTF = More To Follow

    Phil was going to school in Brockport studying Criminal Justice. I had been in the Navy for a little over 5 years, a First Class Petty Officer, and was stationed at the Naval Ship Yards In Brooklyn NY NY (we were moving the base functions to Staten Island). I had been there for about 6 to 8 Months I guess and the 1st gulf war was happening.

    I was working in the Cabinet/Carpenter Shop one day when my Chief came in and told me I had a phone call in his office from a Marine Master Sergeant. My Chief then started to ask me why was a MSgt was calling me, What did I do, Was he going to see a report from base security, why didn’t I tell him I had done something to the local Marines, Who else was involved.. Well you get the idea.

    So my Chief escorts me to his office and sits down to wait for the hammer to drop. I pick up the phone and although it has been a while the whole conversation that went something like this (this conversation has been reformatted to fit your screen and has been edited for content to maintain a G rating):

    Art: Hello this is Petty Officer Dykeman
    MSgt: Hello Petty Officer I am MSgt (I can’t remember sorry) and I have your brother in my office and he tells me he will not enlist in the Marines until you say it is Okay.
    Art: MSgt please put my brother on the phone
    MSgt: Stand By
    PJ: Hi Art
    Art: Phil listen to me very closely
    PJ: Okay
    Art: As soon as we are off the phone tell the MSgt that you need time to think it through and walk away. Do not let him hold you there or say anything else to you about promises or job or anything. Do not sign anything, I mean anything. I will meet you at home this weekend and we can talk about this.
    PJ: But I want to do this
    Art: Great but don’t do it until we talk. They will promise you all kinds of stuff but in the end you will only be a grunt. If you want to go that s fine but I want you to know what you are getting into before hand. Don’t sign anything.
    PJ: I know what I am doing.
    Art: Just wait and meet me at home this weekend.
    PJ: Okay
    Art: I am serious about this wait
    PJ: OKAY!

    We hang up and my chief says “At least you didn’t screw up. You know he just signed the papers, right”. I said he better not have but even if he did it is only delayed entry papers and he can still get out of it.

    So I go home and guess what my Chief was right, PJ had signed to join the Marines and was leaving in a month for Paris Island. He was joining to be part of security forces and had his first set of orders guaranteed (in writing) that he would be stationed overseas at a security unit for his first tour. I tried to explain that the security thing is the hook to get you so that after your first set of orders you will become an ordinary grunt in the Marines. He said he didn’t care and was doing it.

    That was the only time we ever talked about his decision to join. He never told me that I was right and I never rubbed it in knowing I was. We did talk about our military futures when ever it was time for one of us to re-enlist or renegotiating orders. We tried hard to get stationed close or at least at the same deployment locations (another story entirely when we were deployed together)

    I didn’t know how strong minded he was until then. Now I can look back and see that he chose a path and followed it, right or wrong, he went with it to the end regardless of what his big brother or anyone else said.
    Although we never talked much about some of his decisions, when we did he was always firm in his conviction that this was right for him at this point and time. Believe me when I tell you that he went down some paths (bringing a few of us along for fun) that were definitely questionable (another story(s) for another time) but he was better for it in the end.

    He was very proud of the decisions he made. I don’t believe he had many regrets about them. If you had ever talked to him about a decision he made that seemed a bit off to the rest of us you knew it was his way, right or wrong. It was just the way he chose to go, no matter the state of mind or condition he was in when he made it.

    I am proud that he was strong enough not to listen to me or anyone else that tried to sway him. Although it was short he had a wonderful life, family, career and was happy doing it the way he wanted.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: