Monday, August 17, 2009

I Had A Brother

No matter how often I think of him during the year, I always think of Ken on his birthday, August 17. My parents adopted him in May 1952 when he was 9 months old. Wendy and I were so excited to have a baby brother. I was four and Wendy was five when we got him and we enjoyed being able to be little mothers to this new brother.

I remember when he was 'delivered' to us. Wendy and I were playing at a friend's place down the street when we saw the car pull up in front of our door. A woman got out carrying a baby and left without him. For quite awhile after that I thought that the social worker was actually Ken's mother and that she was going door-to-door looking for someone to take her baby because she couldn't take care of him.

Ken immediately became a dearly loved member of our family. He was a quiet, sweet little boy and we doted on him.

These pictures are from my scrapbook. I don't have a lot of pictures of Ken. Just before he died Mum made a pictorial story of his life but I don't have that here with all of his pictures. These ones will have to do. If you click on these pictures they'll show larger.

The McCarthy family - 1986 - Ken, Pat, Wendy, Dad, Mum

As an adult Ken settled in the same village that Mum and Dad lived in and was a great help to them as they got older.

Our kids loved their Uncle Ken - he had an easy way with them and was always loving and kind. Before they met their Uncle (we were living in BC at the time and he was in Nova Scotia) we had the kids convinced that Ken was a giant who would have to duck his head to come into the house - we loved telling them stories (mostly fictional) of this mysterious uncle. When he finally came to visit us the kids were really excited to see him and relieved that he wasn't really a giant - just taller than our shortish family. We had a cliff at the foot of our street, from the top of which there was a beautiful view of our neighbourhood. Ken took the older kids (the oldest was about 9) on a hike to climb the cliff. He ended carrying one of them all the way up it without complaining. He became Amy's hero for that feat of strength.

Ken was a very hard worker, working in road construction as a blaster, as a volunteer fireman, and a miner in a lead and zinc mine. Everyone in the village knew and liked Ken - he had many friends. If anyone needed a helping hand, Ken was there for them. He moved west to Alberta for a few months but soon went back to Nova Scotia where he felt most at home.

He was completing his shift in the mine one day when the guy who was supposed to relieve him called in sick. Ken didn't hesitate to volunteer to take his shift as well. It was during this shift when he was scaling the ceiling of the mine, that it collapsed on him, crushing his chest beyond repair. He remained on life support for almost two weeks before succumbing to his injuries. It was devastating to our family, especially to Mum and Dad. The community was in shock and it was heartwarming to see the positive affect he had on so many people. He was 39 years old.

Happy birthday Ken. It was great having you as a brother. 1951-1991