Opinion: Getting to know my brother — finally


Commentary by Ward Degler

I recently had a lengthy telephone conversation with my brother Roger.

He lives in Arizona, and we don’t see each other often. The last time we were together was at our father’s funeral several years ago.

I had just turned 16 when Roger was born. He was only 2 when I left home, so we never got to know one another. I’m not sure it would have made any difference if we had spent more time together.

The reports I got from my mom and dad were that Roger was an odd duck.

When Dad’s wind-up alarm clock died, he gave it to me. I reduced it to a gazillion cogs and wheels and then threw it away.

When Dad gave Roger a broken clock, he tore it apart, then put it back together so that it ran at twice the speed it had run when it was new. And backward.

When he was 10 years old, he built a computer from scratch. When he

attended the University of Arizona, it was in the engineering school, and he carried a slide rule on his belt. By contrast, I drew pictures and made-up songs.

Roger worked for a company that tracked wildlife. He designed and built

small radio transmitters that could be attached to ducks and geese to record their migration habits. I don’t know if he got credit for his creation, but he worked for the company until he retired a few years ago.

Now, he keeps up his house and does things on his computer. I don’t know what those things are and probably wouldn’t understand them if I did.

On a positive note, he and I connect by phone from time to time. And, slowly, we are getting to know one another.