Thursday, March 17, 2011

SATURDAY REWIND : DEDICATED TO MY FIVE BROTHERS!

This week our rewind is a blog posting that received the best reviews of any posting so far. I want to thank all the people who read & commented I really appreciated it
This post is dedicated to five men, five men that I have known for their entire lives.  I am the oldest of 6 Italian brothers and I love them all. In one of my blogs recently, I spoke about what influenced my style and I mentioned some movies and some photographers that I really respect. I was thinking about that the other day and I started wondering who had influenced me in my life, not my art. I came to the conclusion that I could not separate the two. Whatever or whoever influenced my life would have to have influenced my art.

As I thought about it, many people came to mind including my mother who died much too young. She taught me compassion, forgiveness and that all people no matter what race are all the same and should be treated as such.  My wife, Phyllis has taught me so much about love, understanding and made me realize that a mistake is just that, a mistake, that you forgive mistakes without any retribution. I have let my wife know how much I love her and how much she means to me. I try to do this everyday in words and actions.  My mom died suddenly and I did not have the time for a final goodbye. I didn't have a moment to tell her how much I loved her and how grateful I was that she was my mom and how she tried to teach me so much in a relatively short time: how I could speak to her about anything without fear of losing that love.

These thoughts made me think of my five brothers. I did not want to have any regrets about not telling them how I feel about them so I thought this might be a way of doing just that. For the rest of you reading this, I appreciate your following this blog and invite you to read this post. I guess I should apologize for not speaking about photography in this one. I usually write about the toy shop of life: our art. I do not mean to say it is not important to each of us but hopefully it is a small part of our lives. At least I think it should be. Our families and friends should take up the largest part of it. I thought I would tell a little something about each brother and what each has taught me about life. I guess I'll start with youngest of the six, my brother Ricky.

Ricky is 48 years old and I remember Ricky as a young boy being a happy kid, at least thats my memory of him though he might not agree. He did get into trouble as a youngster. He was sent out to the car from a restaurant at which the family was eating, on more then one occasion.  But it was the kind of trouble that all young boys get into, especially in a large family like ours. He might have been trying to stake his claim as being there. " HEY I'M HERE! I'M THE YOUNGEST BUT I'M HERE" Unfortunately, being too loud about saying that can get you sent to the car. lol.

Ricky and my brother Paul were very young when my mother died and the only two sons in the house when it happened. I know that losing your mother always effects children, especially at a young age and so suddenly, but at Ricky's age it must have been really difficult. I know what I felt and I was 13 years older and might have been better equipped to deal with the loss.  For whatever reason, Ricky hit a rough patch in his life and went through some real trying times. Even with the support of his family, he struggled to cope. Then he met a women, Roseann, married and with her help and a lot of determination found himself. He now has two wonderful children, has been married for over twenty years and is doing great one day at a time. Last year driving his motorcycle to work one early morning, there was an accident. Ricky was thrown from his bike and suffered major trauma to his back. It was touch and go whether he would ever walk but now he is able to walk and drive a car. He might be in pain the rest of his life and may never be what he was before the accident but knowing Ricky, I would never bet against him. Ricky has taught me that you can't change who you are but you can change the way you live your life. He had been an inspiration to me before and now after.

                                                            Ricky with his family!

Paul is fifty years old. Paul lives in the same town in Florida as we do. We came to visit him last year and loved it so much we moved here. I remember Paul as never being in trouble as a little kid. That may not be accurate but it's the way I remember him. I do know one day playing around, I broke his collar bone. I think I was practicing a wrestling move I saw on TV. Maybe that is why I do not remember him in trouble. Guilt can do that to your memory.  I remember Paul being a quiet, slightly overweight kid, ( it ran in our family), neither of which he is now. Paul is a fiercely passionate, complex man. He is quick to tell you when he feels you're wrong but will always be there to help out if you need someone. He has a great work ethic and an even better sense of humor. He has a laugh that makes you want to laugh with him. He is a big gift giver, not just on appropriate times but on any day. He might send you something in the mail that he thinks you would like or need, without even telling you he has sent it. When Phyllis and I started receiving Florida magazines in the mail, we knew they had to be from Paul and we were right.
Paul is proud of who he is and yet a humble man. He's very respectful yet quick to anger but just as quickly can forget it. I  am very proud of the man Paul has become and proud to call him my brother and friend.

                                                                       My brother, Paul.

Bobby is 56 and as a young kid had to endure the taunts of the other young kids. He was born with what the doctors and family called a lazy eye. The young kids called it far worse names and it must have been difficult to be a child dealing with that. Bobby found strength in the need to deal with it plus his wonderful wife and two children. As a young man in his twenties, he and his partner, Doug opened a business on the Boston Fish Pier and turned it into one of the most successful businesses of its type in Boston. With having to run such a large operation, Bobby has become unwavering in his dealings with people yet he has always been there for family and friends with a job or more when they were in need. He has been very generous to all his family. I have watched him take himself from the boy who did not graduate high school to a man who owns a very successful business. I am proud of what he has accomplished professionally. He could be a model for young people.
                                                                      Bobby with our father.

Vinny is fifty-eight and has worked at my brother Bobby's business for many years. He is invaluable to Bobby in the business and to all of us in the family. As a young boy,Vinny raised rabbits, played the trumpet and was the best overall athlete of all the brothers. Vinny married at a young age and like many of us, even though it was not as successful, produced a beautiful daughter that he is very proud of and rightfully so. A few years ago Vinny married a women with three daughters and the two of them are very happy and very in love. Vinny taught me to treat people with Christian values; to accept people for what they are and find some good in them.  He is a very peaceful, serene man, whose waters run deep. He would be the first to stand beside someone he loves, against anything.

                                                       Vinny and his wife, Susan.

Pete is sixty or sixty-one. I can never remember, although I do remember his birthdate is March 23rd.
Like many brothers, Pete and I loved each other growing up as we were throwing punches at each other.
As a kid, I remember Pete as a good athlete, who in the 70s bore a strong resemblance to George Harrison or maybe Serpico. He married his childhood sweetheart, a wonderful girl named Joyce.
They had three wonderful kids; twin boys and a lovely girl, Dayna. Much like our mother, we lost Joyce at way too early an age. It was a big loss for our family and an even bigger loss for Pete and the kids. They moved on with their lives, never forgetting Joyce but realizing that life moves on and that Joyce would be with them every second of every day. The kids are all very successful. Pete was doing ok but there was a hole in his life. He found a new love in a nurse named Susan. They married and she actually made him understand that their were places out there besides New Hampshire. They are very much in love and enjoy their lives together. Pete and Susan are currently in a tremendous fight, them against cancer. Pete was diagnosed with lung cancer recently and with Susan beside, behind and in front of him, they are waging the good, strong fight. They are armed with among other valuables, our prayers, our love, our compassion and our family's willingness to do whatever, whenever they need us. I know first hand that Pete is a fighter. (I think I still have bruises)



                                                                     Pete and Susan

So there they are my Five Brothers. We have fought with and by each other through the years. We have not spoken to each other and kissed each other through the years. We are brothers and we best never forget that. We have always been there for each other and need to put any small (in the enormity of life) problems to the side when the call is made. We have to be the guardians at the gate for each of us. If not, we will all face a very unhappy mother someday: a mother who was always proud of her boys. We will need to insure she will be that way when we meet her yet again.

Our Family Then


31 comments:

rimly said...

Jim, Jim, Jim, what a lovely post. You know your brothers so well and what a tribute to each of them. I think all of you are fighters. I am sure Pete too will fight his cancer, god bless him. As I read about them, I felt like I knew each of them through you. Thank you for sharing

melissa said...

wow jim... am honored to be a part of this intimate scenes with your family ;)... hmmm... really wonderful how you keep family ties close :)...

thanks for sharing:)

World's Beautiful Islands said...

U got a lovely family Jim.This is a great thing.I am happy that you're one of those I admire the work and I consider you my friend for this
http://mostbeautifullisland.blogspot.com/

peter said...

well said Jim and Thank you

peter said...

well said Jim, thank you

Royal Nirupam said...

Wow beautiful Jim. A super class post, enjoyed it thoroughly.
But I am sorry,you forgot to write about your another Italian brother.With mis spell t nationality i.e. Indian at Coochbehar..... lololol..

JIM said...

Thank you Rimly m Mellissa Islands,and Royal ( my brother from a different mother :)

And thank you Pete I appreciate you checking in

Mitzi said...

This post is simply beautiful Jim. To have such warmth to surround you all of your life is indeed a blessing. LOVED this post!

Ardith Haws said...

Love this! Thank you for sharing these feelings and priceless photos. These are the kinds of posts I love.

Richard said...

Jim,
Thank you ,I am very proud to call you my brother,you have always been there for me with love and understanding.
Ricky

Pixielashes said...

Gee Jim u made me cry!!! :') what a fantastic post!!! you obviously have a wonderful family and your boys are very lucky to have you as a brother but im sure they know that already :) Paul has the same personality as me by the sounds of it haha seriously that was nothing short of beautiful! Natxxx

Paul Brandano (nephew) said...

Uncle Jim,

What a gift to us all this post is. I have learned a lot about being a man, a son, a father and a friend from all of my uncles and especially my Dad. I can think of something about each of them that has helped to frame who I am as a person. I can remember being a young kid and hearing stories told by the Brandano wives about the Brandano boys in their youth. Now that I have a family of my own, I realize that the Brandano genes are strong and I am lucky to have some of your traits. Great blog uncle.

Tameka said...

What a wonderful tribute to not only your brothers, but your entire family. I loved reading this! Thanks for sharing these wonderful memories with us. As usual the photos that accompany the stories are just as beautiful!

Mummy@Bod for tea said...

Wow five brothers! I can imagine the fun you guys had growing up together, and the bruises! Lovely post, thanks so much for sharing :D

Sherry said...

Lawd, Jim. You made me cry. I'm still wiping my snotty nose. Nothing touches my heart more (and makes me cry) like a mother gone too soon...and siblings. There are four sisters in my family. I hope someday we can ALL get over the 'not talking' part and just appreciate each other. You have done an admirable job honoring your family.

Kriti said...

Jim - this was the by far your best post ever. Will pray for Pete everyday now. What a lovely family you have - but me being me - I have to admit the best looking man in these pictures is your Dad : ) I will have to come back and read this again.

Pete Brandano III said...

Uncle Jim,

Thank you so much for taking the time to pay tribute to all of my Amazing uncles and Dad. We are all really lucky to have each other. During this tough time with my dad's fight it is more important than ever. We are all so lucky to have such a thoughtful uncle in you. Everyone got a tribute but you! So, here's mine:

Uncle Jim is the artist of the family. He is truly TALENTED and I have always admired it so much. Like the other Brandano uncles, he has a huge heart. Over the years that heart gave us a few scares, but Uncle Jim stopped double fisting T-Bone steaks and turned it all around. He dropped the weight and has been extremely diligent about eating healthy. Luckily he is an amazing cook so he finds ways to make just about everything taste good. You may not know it, but he and my amazing Aunt Phyllis met as kids and married decades later on Valentines day. It is for her that he takes such good care of himself these days. They have one of those marriages that will last a lifetime. Uncle Jim has always been an idol of mine and that will never change. From his long career teaching the disabled to live productive working lives to his second life as a successful professional photographer he never fails to give me something to shoot for in life. I love you Uncle Jim...

Sherry said...

...and Phyllis! I can't forget her. You really need to tell us more about her or get her blogging!! She sounds like a kind hearted soul!

sulekkha said...

Wow...JIm, Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us. I am overwhelmed at the love dripping from your post and pray that you all live happily and enjoy this great love for many years to come.Excellent post

chejom2010 said...

wonderful family jim...thanks for sharing ...god bless your entire family..

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Very touching, interesting and I can tell, heartfelt. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your brothers. This post tells me a lot you too.

JIM said...

I really want to thank everyone who commented . This post was a very personal one and i thought about doing it for weeks. I appreciate the kind words and even more so the pledges of prayers. I will gratefully hold you to those. If you all will give me a minute to especially thank my brothers Pet , Rick and Pete's two sons who commented. I love you guys. Pete you and Paul brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate your very kind words. We have always shared of your parents pride in all three of you. I remember you three in Arizona and to see what you have become makes us swell with pride. To marry two such wonderful young women is a great accomplishment. You both are very lucky young men. Your mother is very proud of all three of you.
Thank You for always allowing us to be part of your lives. Now get your *** to Florida lol

Vivek Chamoli said...

Hi Jim,

Lovely post , its one of the best I have came across in the blogosphere , the bond you shared is amazing.

And you photography is a instant hit :). Pics are as always makes me go lost in them.

Thanks for sharing :)..Loved it.

take care
keep smiling.

Ann said...

Wonderful post. I grew up not too far away, but not in a large Italian family, but still fun. Sorry for the loss of your Mother so young--mine is still alive & kicking at 90! Will be reading more!

Build Muscle Fast said...

great stuff! usually people are not as brave to post something so personal.

Daniel Willis said...

Great Stuff Jim

FAYErydust said...

I am surrounded with 4 guys (my 3 brothers and my dad) ever since .. As of now, I want to kick them one by one but sometimes I think I was blessed to have them. Reading and seeing your post make me smile and remember them. :)

sweepyjean said...

Beautiful post, Jim. Thank you for sharing it with us. You and your family are fortunate to have each other.

Debbie said...

Jim, wow what a special post. It was always just my little sister and me. I always wanted a brother or another sister, I guess I like the "big family" feeling ... Enjoyed your post nothing like "family" and you have a lovely one.

vaisakhi said...

omg jim tat was so sweet so touchin...readin this makes me feel like i ve known ur family 4 yrs....n dont worry ur bro is gonna be ok...:)....u love will help him fight cancer...great post..:)

Dukie/Charlie said...

Hi Jimmy,
I was messing around with the computer looking up people that I knew ... and up pops the family photo!

Your Dad and Mom and the "bunch" of you guys are always in my mind. I so enjoyed hanging out at your home and being accepted as an extension of your family.

Jimmy when you see this give me a call. Would enjoy hashing over years gone by. (Your dad has my #.)

Thanks,
Dukie/Charlie