Oh Brother!

My brother Henry turns 70 today.

I’m suffering from a fairly strong case of cognitive dissonance. On one hand, I know we have been around for a fairly long time, but, on the other hand, 70-year-olds are old, and we aren’t old.

For many years I followed in my bother’s footsteps.

I wanted to do everything he did. After he graduated from high school, he left almost immediately to start the summer quarter at Georgia Tech, and he basically never came home again. He went into the co-op program, which meant that he alternated quarters going to school and working. There were no summers off. During that time he worked at Union Carbide in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

He continued at Georgia Tech right through his PhD in materials science. After that, he moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where he did a post-doc at Carnegie Mellon. When he finished that, he moved a little outside of Pittsburgh to New Kensington and went to work at Alcoa.

He lived in a house across the street from a church that had Revolutionary War-era graves.

Eventually Alcoa bought a company in San Diego that did government-sponsored, classified research, and Henry moved out there.

Henry had always liked Atlanta, so after a few years he took the opportunity to move back there to work at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. He worked there for several years and then moved to Chattanooga, Tn, where he worked for a company that could use his materials-science experience. Here he is at about that time.

In a way I continued to follow Henry, but I never managed to pull it off quite the way he did. It took a long time, but I eventually ended up in graduate school at Georgia Tech, and, strangely enough, I ended up working in a field not too different from the one my brother worked in.

Our paths diverged pretty radically when he quit his job in Chattanooga and moved to lower Mississippi to work with a Presbyterian disaster relief organization helping people who lost everything, or almost everything, in Hurricane Katrina.

When he came back home, he decided to attend Presbyterian seminary school in Virginia. Once he was a bona-fide preacher, he returned to Chattanooga, where he remains today. Somehow, I think this is what he was meant for. I’ve never heard him preach, but I remember how he used to practice, even at a young age. Here he is preaching to a neighbor.


5 thoughts on “Oh Brother!

  1. Happy 70th birthday to your brother. Seventy does seem like the turning point of age, doesn’t it? There’s no pretending anymore, it’s old! Roger turned 75 a month ago. Now that’s ancient. LOL!

  2. Too old to rock n’ roll, too young to die! Some days I feel 70 tho. We will have to aim to check out that next eclipse!

    FYI: Actually, Mark understates his story, 4 colleges, 4 dean’s lists (I think) and convincing a stodgy old admission dean at GT that having a BA in Journalism did not preempt pursuing an engineering degree – as shown by taking all the math and chem undergrad prerequisites in 1 year to get full admission. I think he said he made one “B” but I’m not sure of that.

  3. Karen — My brother was up there from around 1966 an on for a few years. I only went up there once when my brother was without a car for a quarter. I don’t remember much about it, but then it was around 40 years ago. I imagine a lot has changed since then.

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