So, what is my first recollection of Robert… My little brother? How far back does my memory go before it reaches him? It’s actually pretty clear in my mind.
I find myself on a beautiful, sunny day on 14th Street, walking with my mom. Mom and Dad walked a lot, one of the many benefits of living where we did on West 12th street; you could walk a short distance from our apartment and get to almost anyplace your heart desired. Ah, Greenwich Village.
On this day we were walking to Lanes , my Moms favorite department store on 14th Street.
It wasn’t a long walk, but not short either for a six-year-old trying to keep up with his pretty energetic mom.
I loved the walk to Lanes. It usually included a stop at a small “push cart” where Italian Lemon Ice was sold . Oh, that Lemon Ice. To this day I have not found an Italian Ice that matches the texture and flavor . After I had consumed my small scoop of heaven, I would actually chew the paper cup it was served in, just to get every last drop of flavor. I don’t think Mom was crazy about that habit, but she never stopped me.
On this particular day, after we had enjoyed our treat, she casually asked me; ” would you like a little brother ?”
“Wow, a litter brother?”, I thought. That would be neat… My best , and only, friend, Richard Zimmer had a brother and he seemed happy with him. Besides, if I had a little brother I would always have someone to play with and watch television with.
“Yes… I want a little Brother”, I said.
I remember a sweet smile come to Moms face when she said; “Good, I think we will get you one.”
I wondered where we would get my little brother? Maybe we would get him when we got to Lanes today? Did they sell little brothers there? Or maybe we would take a bus ride and buy him “Up-Town”, surely they had plenty of good little brothers up town. Better yet, maybe we would take a car ride in my dads big black car and get my brother in Brooklyn ,where Cousin Chris lived.
My consideration as to where we would get my brother was broken by another question;
“What name should we give him?”, mom asked.
I never thought of that! I guessed we couldn’t just name him Little Brother, that wasn’t a real name.
I thought Howdy would be good, after one of my favorite shows on Television, “The Howdy Doody show”, but Mom kind of choked when I offered that, I don’t think she liked it.
“How about Robert?”, she asked.
“Robert ; I liked that ,” I thought. My friend Richard Zimmer’s brother was named Robert too, so yes, I liked that.( I found out later that Mom and Dad actually liked Richards brothers name so much that they decided to name their next child Robert)
I nodded to Mom, “Yes, I like that name…”
She smiled again and said, “Well good then! We’ll call your new brother , Robert.”
And thus, Robert began to form in my little mind, as he was forming in Moms body.