“Tootsie roll soul and little white shoes, Mama’s (sic) sure proud of her little, bitty Rock and Roll Baby, singing at the age of two …
he can barely talk but he sure knows how to sing the blues.”
Jeffrey and Brian have an older brother, Allyn. He is nine years older than Jeff, and ten years older than Brian, and he is my original “Rock and Roll Baby”!!!! He was dubbed that by my next door neighbor at the time, because he so loved to sing and dance … even before he could walk and talk. He loved the “oldies”, but he really liked disco, too, so he was also known as the “Disco Baby”. In fact, when Allyn was about six months old, there was a disco show that came on television one night a week, and he was fascinated by it. You have to be pretty old like me to remember it, but I think it was called “Dance Fever” hosted by Denny something-or-other. It was a disco dance competition, but no celebrities or pros, just everyday people doing their disco thing. Allyn would sit in his little walker and bounce to the music, trying to sing the songs. He would laugh and clap and then cry when the show ended!He was a “victim” of my singing, just like his brothers, except that, unlike Jeff and Brian who quit singing with me when they were about 9 and 10, Allyn sang with me until he reached the teenage years, when he decided he really didn’t like to do much of anything with his Mom, whom he found to be “totally out of touch” with the world. Anyway, before then, Allyn always slept with the radio on. I would put him to bed, turn his radio on, kiss him and tell him goodnight. But, he did NOT go right to sleep! I would peek in on him, and he would usually be standing in his crib, dancing and singing to the music. If a song played that both of us especially liked, he would call me so that we could sing and dance together with the radio. We loved that!
When his brothers were born, Allyn would sing to them, too. He knew all of the rock and roll lullabies that calmed them both, so if I was travelling, he would fill in for me. He was so very proud and excited to have his brothers, as he had been an “only child” for quite a long time. He loved to play with them, but he also loved to bedevil them, cause them to get into trouble, and make them do things that both he and they wished later that he hadn’t. But, hey, that’s an older brother for you. Allyn has grown into a fine, very successful and amazing young man, but he will always be my Rock and Roll Baby. Through Jeffrey’s illness, he was with us as much as he could be, though he had a very demanding position in DC. When the Doctors recommended that the best treatment for Jeff was a bone marrow transplant, Allyn was tested to determine if he was a match and would have gladly donated his marrow to save his brother. As it turned out, Brian was the better match. I think he was disappointed that he couldn’t help his brother in this really personal and direct way. Allyn took the loss of his brothers extremely hard. Once again, he finds himself an “only child”. Still, he manages very well and continues with his very successful career. He makes me smile, and he makes me very proud. Here’s the thing … there are so many leukemia and blood cancer patients in need of marrow matches who are not lucky enough to have siblings who may be a match. Even if they do have siblings, there is only a 1 in 4 chance that one may be a match. But you can help … join the National Marrow Donor Program and BeTheMatch for someone in desperate need. The test is quick and painless, and you could save a life.
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