They were so close to being twins. My uncle J.D. was born in December, my father was born the following October, only 10 months later. When my uncle went off to first grade, my father sat dejectedly on the doorstep waiting for him to return home. But before they could go off to play, my schoolteacher grandmother would review the day’s lessons with my uncle. My father naturally joined in.
When my father went off to first grade the following year, the teacher realized he already knew the lessons, so he joined my uncle in second grade. The boys graduated high school together and went off to LSU together in 1946, where they shared an overcrowded dormitory room with returning World War II soldiers. The following year, my uncle went off to the military academy at West Point.
Years later, my uncle confided in me that he had felt bad about leaving my father all alone at LSU. But when he returned home at the end of the school year, he found the teenage boy he left had become a self-assured young man. “He did fine without me.”
About Photo+Story: Inspired by a competition at the RootsTech 2018 genealogy conference, the series distills family stories to a single photo plus 150* words or less. (*this one’s 200 words)