Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The never-say-die Davies brothers

The baby on my mother's lap is my sister Ann at her christening, with grandparents, aunts and uncles. On the floor, very bored,  my brother Clint's face shows how he feels about it, while I played with a toy.
I have two brothers, the one who grew up alongside me, and the one whom I helped raise, and I'm very proud of both of them.
My high school grad photo.
Clinton Fraser Davies was the class clown before he ever entered a classroom. Entertaining people was his goal in life, and he tried hard, to say the least.
His escapades probably reached the pinnacle of success when he climbed out his bedroom window onto the porch roof, and from there up onto the peak of the house roof, in order to carve his initials into it with a butcher knife, but it would be wrong to say Clint's life was all downhill from there. He continued to entertain, eventually learning to do it by playing trumpet, but he always preferred making people laugh.
Now, many decades later, Clint is still almost as old as I am, and should be enjoying retirement alongside his lovely wife Maria, but his ever-nimble ever-surprising ever-enterprising mind has him embarking on yet another business venture now, even as I write this.
Can't keep a good man down, I know...
And as for me, well, I was something of a lowbrow poet, and now I'm lucky if I can manage to visit Facebook every couple of days, and to post something for Our World Tuesday on my blog here at least two weeks a month (while aiming at once a week if I can).
My much-younger brother, Rob (aka Roberto) was also the clown of his class, whether it was in Canada at the beginning and end of the school year, or November-through-April in Mexico.
Our parents had planned their retirement to the Baja Peninsula without ever planning on a new baby, but there he was.
Our poor father was terrified when Robbie was born, because he thought he might lose Mom, whom he adored. They had been high school sweethearts, and were engaged before Dad left to go overseas with the Canadian Army Show, where he was a scenery-painter as well as a musician. When he returned to Canada after his years spent keeping up the morale of Canadian troops in Britain, he and Mom were married.
Clint and Dad. Clint was  in
the Royal Canadian Navy
when Rob was born. While stationed in
Victoria, BC, he pawned his trumpet
so he could buy a motorcycle, but
it wasn't long before he wrecked the
motorcycle. His reaction was a
typically Canadian "C'est la vie."
Then I arrived, followed by Clint, then our sister Ann, as well as another baby girl, Barbara, who only lived a few days.
Years went by, and no one gave thought to another sibling.
But Robbie Davies was determined to make his mark on the world. He was born into the intensive care nursery in a hospital in Vancouver, BC. I was working and living in the city, so was able to visit him every day, reporting his progress to my worried mother who had to stay in the troublesome-mothers ward, without even seeing him, until they finally let her get up to visit him, before she and Dad were able to take him home some weeks later.
Assured that his beloved wife would be okay, Dad turned his attention to the wonderful little mite who had surprised them in what they thought was the beginning of their old age.
By the time Rob was two years old, he let us all know he was talented, beginning slowly by drawing a row of short vertical lines right across the bottom of a blackboard.
"What's that, Robbie?" asked Mom. "Grass," he replied. Mom immediately phoned Dad at the family printing shop and said, "Bring home paper. This one's an artist."
And so he was, and still is.
Rob as a young man
When he reached high school, Rob was told he couldn't keep disappearing to Mexico every winter because the school was on the semester system, so he stayed behind while Mom and Dad went south, living first with our sister for one winter, and then with me for several more while he finished high school and attended college...taking every art class he could find.
My townhouse was close to the high school and, for the most part, I enjoyed having a steady stream of boys coming in and out, saying, "Hi, sis," and hoping I'd prepare them a snack when I got home from work.
I'm very proud of Rob, to say the least, and although I was able to travel to New York to witness him receiving an Emmy Award when he was working for Warner Bros. in Los Angeles, and although he came home when the Warner Bros. studios were sold, and established Atomic Cartoons with three friends, I am proudest of him for his accomplishments other than art:
Robbie Davies, to my great relief and joy, has been a proven survivor from his birth onward. He has survived cancer not once, but twice now, both times feeling there was something wrong in his body, and taking himself off to get medical help immediately.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if every cancer patient could self-diagnose like that? Survival was his goal from the very beginning, starting in an intensive care nursery, and onward.
I am intensely proud of him.
I am thankful, also, to our wonderful parents for allowing me to take an active part on "the committee that raised Rob." I assumed, because he was born when I was 21, that I would some day have children of my fact, I used to drive from the city to the suburbs every weekend, in order to learn how to bathe him despite my innate clumsiness. Nature proved otherwise, however, but I was more than compensated by my part in the raising of Rob.
Posting for Lady Fi's wonderful meme Our World Tuesday


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
so glad to hear the news, dropped in at the end there! Lovely precis of the history. YAM xx

Jenn Jilks said...

What a beautiful post! Such love in your family. xo

Cathy said...

Lovely tale. Thanks for sharing with us.
The Golfer was 21(had 3 younger sisters) when his mother produced another son. Unfortunately his brother being 13 yrs away from the youngest sister has had no relationship with any of them at all. He lived at home with his parents until they died then moved away. No sight or sound of him since.
Some 'late babies' cope - others don't. You're brother definitely has. ~ Cathy

Lady Fi said...

Oh, how I loved reading about your life and that of your family. Such talent and love!

Betty Crow said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. My son was the class clown. I started hating to answer the phone for fear it was his teacher. :) Thank you for visiting my Devil's Tower post. I'm with you on the climbing these days. I have a 3 step stool that I use to reach things on the highest shelf in the cabinets and it gives me anxiety. :)

Angie said...

Kay - you had me with the picture! There are amazing similarities between your mother and other people in the photo and my mother/family. And then I started reading the post and I was gripped - before I knew it I was at the end. What a wonderful post - thanks for sharing this story. And thank you for visiting my blog - I hope we become frequent visitors for one another.

Penelope Puddlisms said...

Aww … what nice photos of Rob, your dad, Clint and you and a good historic accounting of how the Davies family grew and coped with whatever life threw at them. I think there’s a rather healthy funny bone in the Davies family that you all share and it sees you through. :)

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful and loving post ~ you are all survivors and wishing you a Happy Weekend ^_^
Great photos too!

(A Shutterbug Explores)

Wandering Wren said...

You are a thoroughly entertaining, engaging family, I loved this post! Our family enjoys humour too, we find it helps with most things if you can find it!
I will look forward to reading more.
Wren x

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a lovely family story .... there's quite an age difference between you and Robby... I'm 11 an 12 years older than my two sisters (we had a brother 3 years younger than I, but he died at 49).... anyway, I thought 11 years was quite an age gap. i thought I helped raise my sisters because I rocked them occasionally -- until I was old enough to realize that not only did my 40 something mother have two babies (also surprises like your baby brother), but also a rambuctious 8 year old boy and a moody pre-teen daughter... she had her hands pretty darn full. When I had kids of my own, I did get a chance to tell her I finally understood what she'd been through.

You were a good second mom to your baby brother -- I loved 'the committee that raised him' ... everybody could actually use one of those. A child can't have too many people loving him or her! As your brother's life certainly proves!

Fun60 said...

Thank you for sharing your family history. It is so interesting to hear about your siblings and their different personalities. Many happy memories there.

Gattina said...

I have been a single child, so I have adopted sisters (no brothers ! men had always been an annoyance to me) But I have some "sisters" since more than 60 years and really good friends.

Stewart M said...

Nice post - I think the first time I help H (my son) was about the second or third time I had held a baby - it was a shock!!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Phil Slade said...

What a lovely family story Kay. No wonder you are so proud of baby Rob with his Emmy award. I didn't realise you had so many siblings and I think that is one thing I would have liked - a brother, rather than a sister with whom I never got on and who is now many miles away in South Africa. Keep posting. it's hard I know when there are so many competing interests.

Sue sends her best too. Phil.

Dimple said...

I love family stories; this one is heart-warming! Thanks for writing and sharing it!