My younger brother Mark was the sweetest, kindest and most loving person on the planet. Mark loved. Mark did not know anything else. He was a gentle old soul in child’s clothing. Mark had a laugh that was seriously infectious. When Mark started laughing, it led to more laughter. And then he would fall off his chair, roll down the hallway laughing and the next thing we knew we were all laughing so hard we were crying. That is the affect that Mark had on the conversation and on the world. He was love. Pure love. Everyone that knew him loved him and he loved back. Down to the core of his soul. He was an old soul.
Growing up with Mark was quite an adventure. He was so insecure. I recall the day that I went into his bedroom and found some things he had written on a piece of paper….”I wish I were dead”. I never realized the impact of that find until much later in life.
I think Mark was around five or six years old when my older brother Frankie Four Fingers and I decided that it would be so much fun to see if Mark would slide down the laundry chute. So, we coaxed Mark to the bathroom and he gleefully allowed us to place him into the chute, feet first. Not realizing that his jeans had loops and those loops could, in fact, get stuck on the screws inside the chute. We shoved him in like the two dutiful siblings that we are. I mean simply doing what normal siblings do…..terrorize their baby brother. We ran downstairs to the laundry pile in the basement and waited for Mark to come falling out of the chute. We waited. And waited. And waited. And the next thing we knew, mom and dad were home and it was time for dinner! So we washed up and headed to set the table and eat. About 15 minutes into dinner we hear this muffled cry….. “Mom, Dad….help!” Trying to follow his muffled voice, my mom was making her way up the stairs and to the laundry chute. I don’t know how much trouble we got into, as I mentioned before…most of my childhood was a blur and most of the memories were wiped away. I do remember that when things like this occurred, there was a leather belt or a wooden spoon involved. Reserved for Frankie Four Fingers and Mark. As the only girl in this Italian/Portuguese family, I generally got the “go to your room” punishment. The belt and wooden spoon were MOSTLY reserved for Mark and Frankie.
Mark was mischievous.
My dad worked midnight shifts at the police department so he would come home tired from a full night of crime fighting on the streets of Yarmouth. Naturally, my dad would come home to get some rest. My mom worked days as a hairdresser at a shop in Dennis and left my dad in charge while asleep. We would pile on top of dad while he slept and we would watch TV – who was in charge now? Ha! I remember one morning going out back to find my brother Mark playing with matches. Yeah…no good can come from that. He tried to burn the house down on Nantucket Avenue! My dad, completely down to skivvies and socks called the fire department and we spent the morning cleaning the disaster in the backyard. I don’t think Mark was ever released from being grounded for that one.
Mark was loved by many. Until his sad death in 2000.
A sweet brother, a kind father and a guy who just wanted to be accepted and cherished for the sweet soul that he was. Everyone loved Mark, for good reason. Mark was love. And gave love. And never turned his ear on a friend or family; not a single day in his life did he ever turn his heart on anyone. And we loved him for it. The world was a better place with Mark in it.
And we are all blessed knowing that he is now watching over each of us, laughing that infectious laugh all the way down the halls of heaven.