Bruce, jack of all trades but master of one: Brotherhood

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Me holding my newborn Julianna back in 1994, and Bruce, looking ready to get beat at a game of horseshoes.


Everyone should have a brother Bruce. Mine turns 55 today and has been the best brother anyone could hope for. I have four living brothers, our youngest brother committed suicide in 2016. Bruce is now the baby of the family. Recently we mailed him a check as a small token of compensation for work he’s done over the decades. He should have cashed it a week ago, and will soon, hopefully. But that’s Bruce for you – he is always ready to help and never wants anything in return.

Until lately I could not repay him for his services and devotion to our family. This was my first repayment of many more to come.

He’s the kind of guy who has multiple talents, jack of all trades but master of one: He’s mastered brotherhood. While nobody’s perfect,  Bruce has helped our family to the tune of $20-$30,000 in savings for his know-how in the fields of plumbing, electrical, heating and much more. Bruce has even started his own business, B and C Fire Safety in Levittown, PA. We spent most of our years growing up there together after moving to the suburbs from Philly.

One of my first memories of Bruce’s outstanding abilities was a sit-up competition with his brothers. Frank, the oldest, probably had already moved out and didn’t participate. I think I did about 150 sit-ups and David and Joe did somewhere around 100. Bruce finally took his turn and didn’t stop after beating us all until he’d done 2,000 or 3,000. Yep, I think he did 3,000 before he stopped and, a little while later, my mom took him to the hospital because he hurt himself trying to prove a point.

While on school vacations we played horseshoes in our backyard all summer long. He is six years younger but was always competitive. In my 20s I won a little more than him in my backyard, but now that we’re older he’s winning more than me … rats!

The years I have on Bruce mean I got married and had kids before he did, which means he would, as a young man, find himself babysitting for us from time to time. One of those times is memorable for a few reasons. He noticed a cop car in front of the house early the next morning. When he came outside he was told by the officer that I was sleeping on the sidewalk and they had been called to check it out. Let’s just say my 20s were good for me when it came to horseshoe throwing, but I still had some things to learn about life. Anyway, Bruce rescued me after the cop woke me up and I was trying to convince Bruce we should take the cop car and go home. As I sat at the kitchen table and tried to explain myself, I literally fell asleep again and slid under the table.

I’m sure we’ve laughed about it a few times over the years, but Bruce would never judge me. He’s always there for me and still is, calling on birthdays and holidays and still helping us take care of our first house and Pop’s house back in Levittown Pa. He’s 55 today and should be relaxing in the sunshine wherever he is.

Happy birthday Bruce! Everyone should have a brother Bruce, lucky for me, I’ve got one.


Jim Robidoux likes to write occasionally about the things on his mind. He enjoys fan mail, jrmetalman@comcast.net, and happens to be married to the Inklink publisher.