Sandy, visiting our father, waking up in his Montecito haven unable to breath. Dad and Hanny first responders. Rushed to the emergency room: “Perhaps it is a reaction to some medication?” It wasn’t. It was the announcement of her imminent death. It leaves us, who are left behind, to speculate how this came about. Was it her smoking? Probably this is what lead to Kim’s career selection as an advocate, working to eliminate smoking? Was it the stress of her divorce and a husband she loved but who’s character ranged from optimistic and enthusiastic highs to homelessness and depression? Was it the disease of her daughter, where she spend endless hours in hospitals in her effort to save her life? Her daughter, encouraged to think big by her father, fueled by promises of her father to live in the fast lane, had to face up to a debilitating disease and reorient her life— a process that Sandy had to shoulder with little support. Or was it just fate. Her time too early, a time that all of us are going to face sooner than we expected. Especially in the fast moving world of the 21st Century, where death is ignored until it happens when reality takes the upper hand.
When I was born, we were 3 Reusche children; Sandy was the oldest. Not too long after birth we embarked on a military transport ship, and floated to Japan. Sandy was 8 and being oldest was co-opted by my mother to look after her brothers. I have many more memories growing up of Sandy looking after me than I do of my mother. Bobby was always the odd one out. I was never close to him. Nothing bad happened. He was just different genetically. He was emotionally like my mother (i.e., not emotional). He thinks it is a masculine logic; I think it is Scandanavian genes. Sandy, on the other hand bathed me, put me to bed for the first 10 years of my life. She told me that, if I got out of bed after being tucked in, evil spirits would get me and I was only safe if I was under the covers. It was her strategy to keep me from sneaking out of bed. Sandy and I had strong emotional bonds. We were truly brother and sister. Other family relations, with my father and mother, and even my brother Bob, were not close. Sandy and I confided in each other in ways that we did not confide with others. And, she is the only one in my life that could tickle me and make me laugh. No matter how much I pretended to not be ticklish, she knew it wasn’t true and how to prove it.
Sandy was always the one who had to babysit, first me, and then Scott too. During the years when the marriage was breaking up, she took over more and more of the responsibilities around the house. She also tried to protect me when fights were going on, and to keep me from witnessing the spectacles. In High School she dated a guy named Jim Galkey (sp?). When they went on dates I was dragged along. They’d be kissing in the front seat, and I was in the back seat learning lessons. Jimmy smoked which was cool in those days. One day we were hanging out and Jim lit up, and I told him: “Give me one.” He said, “sure” and did. Then they had a big laugh when I choked on the smoke and turned green. I think Sandy dated Jimmy until we moved to O’Fallon when I was in 6th grade and Sanday started in a community college in Belville, Illinois. I think that’s where she met Bob Weich, her future husband.
I remember the time when Sandy dated Bob Weich. How could I forget. I hate the scenes I can still call up in my head and witness, when my mother would see Sandy and Bob out in the car, necking I presume, and my mother would flash the porch light and then repeatedly slap Sandy and shout at her when she came in the house and closed the door. Sandy never fought back, but she never acquiesced either. And it didn’t stop her from eventually getting engaged and getting married.
- early relationship with mother
- relationship with mother adult years
- her life with Bob Weich, and her Oxnard home
- Kim’s illnesses
- linking up to Rich
- Kim vs Rich
- move to Oregon
- help with Aileen and Nabil when at Maxwell
- John’s moving to NL, John’s wedding, she asked me to talk for her
- portrait of her character
My memories of my older brother are scanty. I have asked him for help writing this memoire, but he shows no interest to do so. At least, so far. The most I can offer about Bobby (what I called him) is that I can’t remember close brotherly feelings, doing things with him. Maybe I have some kind of blockage from the years we lived together due to the divorce and how it impacted the kids. I can only remember something akin to competition told to me by our mother. I don’t know if this is true. Our mother talked it as part of her family history recollections. For some reason, Bob thought that life was easy for me. Whatever he had to work hard to achieve, Gary achieved it without really trying. Could it be possible that this competitive feeling characerized our entire relationship? At the same time, not having close brotherly affection should not be mistaken for not being true brothers. We were. It was always a kind of de facto relationship. He would always deal honestly with me, whenever we interacted. But, would we never proactively interact and seek out the other— I can’t remember much.
- At the Naval Academy. I always felt that this solidified his character, his connection to our mother, his right-wing tendencies
- At the funeral of Sandy, Bobby and Kim were the closest of relations. At least, that is what they wanted to show me.
- He and I share a history of multiple wives (Leah, Phyllis, Jane, Barbara, Linda— seems I’m missing a couple). Sometimes I wonder if fate is not playing its hand here, because our life sytles, choice of partners and our divorces are quite different- I don’t see much in common. The wife I liked the best until now was Phyllis, who I always thought was totally out of character for Bobby. Now I like Linda the best.
- Leah was dumped rather unemotionally, at least according to Leah. He arrived home one day and said he didn’t love her, and left. Leah thought the reason was that he didn’t want children. That part sounds correct.
- The family belief is that Jane tricked Bob to having children. This actually is a statement in Jane’s favor, not against. I must admit, Jane’s “Aussie culture shock” made it difficult for us to get along together and Jane gave me the impression that she didn’t like me, for what reason I don’t know. Some Jane stories: ironing underwear, folding and backing socks a la academy, Stephanie refusing to eat anything unless out of a baby class bottle, stories of perfectionism. American culture shock (all the normal symtoms of behavior I saw often in my life). Her time in jail. Her theory about toes.
- Barbara Taylor Reusche, Mystery writer, Louisville, KY, with twin sister
- Linda, I like her, but don’t know how she linked up with Bob. They are political opposites most of the time, and sees Bob’s character as being disrespectful of her. I don’t think this is true. I think it is just Bob. And his tea party leanings in disfunctional America.