Monday, March 16, 2009


Howard Gene was my only brother. He was born a few years ahead of me to our parents, Alfred and Esther. I could not pronounce Gene and so as a young child, I called him "My Sheen". Somewhere along the way he became known as "Sonny" to everyone but me. Our sister, Janice, was born fifteen years after me, so Howard and I were the only siblings for many years. We had a very good brother/sister relationship and I looked up to my big brother for help in everything. We were both in high school at the same time and I will never forget his Model A Ford Coupe that he drove us to school in each day. Now don't jump to conclusions that we were that old --- we were not!!!! We were just lucky to have any vehicle at all. I wish I had that vehicle today. We had so much fun riding to school in it. It shimmed and shook but always got us to our destination. Howard was a member of the football team and was the envy of the football team with his Model A. All the team members wanted to ride in it, the car even had a rumble seat. The car was painted red and black, our school's colors. Each day our Dad gave us fifty cents for gasoline (those were the good ole days in many ways).

I remember my brother had many cute high school buddies that would come to our house. I was just a kid sister and fell for each of them, but none of the boys even looked my way and they gave me no attention at all. But I sure looked their way!!!!

Howard went onto marry Roberta (now deceased); they had two daughters, Debbie and Darlene. (Howard on the left with first born daughter, Debbie). His marriage to Roberta ended and Howard continued to raise the girls and see them through their small town high school. The girls are grown and have their own lives now and both are in loving marriages.

My brother loved to go fishing with his friends (he is the good looking fisherman on the left) and some of these same friends often got together to make music. I have a recording that they made. He also loved to play cards with friends, either in his home or theirs, and looked forward to the Saturday night card games.

Howard went to as many OU football games that he could, both at home and away. I guess his high school football playing days made him a football fan forever. George and I went with he and his first wife to the Texas-OU game. What fun we had that day at the Texas State Fair and the football game, but it was a long, silent drive home because Texas beat OU that day.

Howard married again and found happiness with Carol, two stepsons, and a step-granddaughter. He also had his dogs that he loved dearly. His untimely death occurred on May 12, 1997. Carol was home from work that day, but had left to run errands, and upon her return, found him in his recliner. He had a heart condition and possibly the early signs of dementia. It was very sad to hear of his death. Many friends and family attended the service in Shawnee and he was buried in a beautiful cemetery in Shawnee, OK.

Howard had worked many years in the trucking business and had retired a few years before his death. He was a respected employee and well-liked by his employer and fellow employees. I can't remember him ever not working, starting right out of high school. One of his purchases after obtaining a few paychecks, was a television. Our home was a gathering place for relatives and neighbors, since we were one of the first to have a TV. As I recall, the test pattern was the best thing to watch!!!!

We all know life goes on after the death of a loved one, and there will always be a void in our lives after their death, but our memories of that person stay with us forever. I remember Howard with such affection and love. My first son carries the middle name of Howard. Today, March 16th, would have been my big 6'3" brother's birthday, and as I sit here typing this posting to my blog, I am thinking of "My Sheen" and remembering.


Kelly said...
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Kelly said...

What a beautiful birthday wish and tribute to your big brother "My Sheen!" His heart and love for family and friends must have been as big as he was! I know that he had great love and pride for his entire family (dogs included!)

Also, I bet he really did feel very important driving you to school everyday! I'm sure that his "buddies" really wish they'd have paid more attention to his "little sister" sitting next to him in his car!!

Happy Birthday to your kind hearted and loving brother, Howard, Sonny and "My Sheen!"

Judy said...

I just loved this story about your big brother. I always wanted a brother and had two sisters I love very much but thought a big brother would be great to hang around. This was a wonderful tribute to him for his birthday.

Debbie said...

What a beautiful tribute for Daddy....I know you miss him as much as I do.
I love you...

Margaret Cloud said...

What a nice tribute to "Your Sheen", it is plain to see how close you were to him. Memory is one gift from God that is precious, we use it all the time and it keeps loved ones that have gone on close to our hearts. Hope you have a great weekend.