California is my home state. That is were I was raised but I was not born there. I grew up envious of my brother's boasting that he was a California Native. My mother, father, and brother were living in a courtyard apartment in Hollywood when my mother took my brother to her home town in North Dakota. My mother had ten siblings, so some of them were still living at home. My mother was seven months pregnant with me when she traveled to North Dakota for a short visit.
During a heavy blizzard my mother went into early labor. Like the town I live in now, the closest hospital was thirty miles away. Since I could not wait any longer to find out what the world would challenge me with, I was born in North Dakota but my home was California. Bummer.
My brother used his title as Native Californian many times to tease me. You know how big brothers have the knack of finding things that get under the skin of siblings and know when to shove it under the fingernails? Well, my brother was an expert.
One summer something happened that embarrassed my brother. I grew a few inches and he did not. I was actually taller than he was. I enjoyed teasing him and made the most of the height I had achieved. It was short lived, excuse the pun, as he flew past me in the fall. But for that one summer....
There was competition between us and I learned to play baseball with my brother and his friends. I would become so good that I was picked for the teams first. I played first base and could hit a ball farther than most of the boys. Okay, yes, I was a tomboy. But it gave me a connection to my brother. We lived in many places, all out in the country. Lots of boys to come and play but no girls. To this day I have good reflexes and can catch something in the blink of an eye. Doesn't come in handy at my age except when something is going to fall and I catch it automatically.
Like most of my other relationships, my brother and I saw each other sporadically over our lifetimes. He married more than once and so did I. He lived in various states and so did I, rarely living in the same state at the same time. My brother always managed to call me on my birthday to wish me a Happy Birthday. So today I am going to do the same. I will call my big brother to wish him a Happy Birthday and tell him how glad I am that he is my brother and I am no longer jealous he is a Native Californian. He lives in Montana now. Yo, Bro, I love you.