Day 8: Sibling Music Ed

This entry is part of a post-a-day-month-long-blogging-blood-pact (I keep saying that. I mean, challenge.) with my pals Amanda Hollinger, Monica Wyche, and Ami Worthen.

My older brother and sister are as integral to my musical education and memory as my parents. In fact, it’s not a leap to suggest that much of my personality was formed by my early musical influences courtesy of my siblings. Which might explain a lot.

My brother, 12 years older than I, bought me my first three albums: The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, The Dobbie Brothers The Captain and Me, and The Doors album. These are the songs that remain strongest in my memory:

Did I mention my brother also bought me my first 45? And it was this. I’m serious. As the youngest child, my parents were perhaps a little more “hands off” with me.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the hallway, my sister, 5 years older than I, gave me a slightly different musical education. Also, she liked to feather my hair. What?

Seriously, can you even stand Dennis DeYoung’s moustache here? Is he some kind of bartender?

I loved Barry Gibb. My childhood was filled with crushes on moustached men. It’s inexplicable.

Author’s note: my sister made me sing this song in front of my parents, aunt and uncle when I was 6. Have I mentioned how shy I was as a child? But really. Debby Boone?

Stay tuned. The musical melee has only just begun. Oh wait, that’s The Carpenters.


Induction Into The Half Century Society


Brother & sisters, in earlier days.


I’d like to take the opportunity to induct my brother, Steve Badman, into the Half Century Society. Yes, dear readers, today, my big brother, my childhood idol who introduced me to the finer things in life (Bugs Bunny, Pink Floyd and Adidas sneakers to name but a few), turns 50.

I spoke to him this morning and neither of us can figure out how this happened.

50! (Insert leg kick here.)

Other than wiping a dog drool-soaked tennis ball on my sister and me and accidentally breaking my arm, Steve has been a model of brotherly love and support.

It couldn’t have been easy growing up as the eldest child and the only son. I’ve thought about that quite a bit since our Dad died a little more than a year ago. At Dad’s wake, an old friend of my Dad’s who I barely remembered, walked right up to Steve and said, “You ARE your Father 50 years ago.” (Clearly he didn’t realize how remarkably OLD Steve already is, but I digress.) Steve handled the moment with his usual sensibility and grace, thanking Dad’s old friend and shaking his hand. Though I know Steve mourns the loss of Dad, too, I also know the grief of a son losing his father is something else entirely.

Since Dad’s death, I have leaned on him more. I ask him for financial advice, pester him with car questions (“It’s making a weird noise.”) and generally view him as my go-to for all big life decisions.

He has, as usual, stepped up to the awesome responsibility of big brother and temporary Dad substitute with great sensibility, poise and patience. He also sends me his favorite articles and cartoons from The New Yorker. (I should really consider renting him out.)

To my brother, I raise a glass and toast your half century of existence and thank you for all that you add to my, much more youthful, existence. I had to do it. Ya maroon!