The Shapers – My Brother Mark

Shapers. We all have people in our lives who influence us. Some directly, some by request, and some so subtly we may not realize it . We choose, ultimately, those who we wish to borrow from and those we wish to learn from. In over 20,000 days I’ve been influenced by hundreds, perhaps thousands. But there are some who are more significant than others.

The term Big Brother has several different connotations. There is the famous George Orwell meaning from 1984. Or the television show inspired by the same concept. And there is also the organization that matches up volunteers with youth in need of guidance and nurturing.

Then there is the literal big brother. I have two. One I wrote about here.

Big Brother Mark

Mark was the big brother that I did know as a kid. We are just under 3 years apart, and when he was a senior in high school, I was a freshman. He had car privileges, but that also meant he had me as a nearly constant passenger. I don’t have any big brother horror stories. He never ditched me or kicked me out of the car. He and his friends included me in a lot of things. After he and his wife, Debbie, were married, they had apartments near by and I spent some time with them and their friends and their kids. Until he moved to California. Northern Ohio was not the place to have a year-round career in motorcycle repair.

Kinda quiet most of the time, Mark has a fun, dry sense of humor. I was reminded of this recently, when in an episode of Modern Family, one the characters is walking around the neighborhood in his tee shirt calling for his dog Stella. He suddenly realizes that he is re-enacting a scene from A Steetcar Named Desire.  I started laughing not because the of show, but because I remember Mark talking about naming their dog Stella just so he could do that!

I think the most important thing I learned from Mark is the value of being who you are and doing what fuels you. He hasn’t followed any formulaic path in life, he has followed his heart – which, thankfully, he has recently had repaired!

Happy Birthday Mark! It was great seeing you last month, and I hope we can find more time to spend together in the future.

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