Brothers

Left to right: Edward Lyon, Charles Lyon, Robert Lyon. Photograph taken about 1979 Photograph from the collection of Charles Moore.

This is another of what I call a front porch picture. It is of three brothers Edward Lyon, Charles Lyon, and Robert Lyon. Edward and Charles were my wife’s uncles while Robert was her father. Edward was born in 1916, and Charles in 1912, while Robert was born in 1924, making him the baby of the family. Their father died in 1939, after a lengthy illness. While this was going on the Great Depression was in full vigor and had taken a toll on the Lyon household. The result of their father’s illness and the lack of income was the two older brothers had to leave school and forfeited their education. One had to quit in high school, and the other never made that far. They took jobs where they could find them. They clerked in stores, general labor or working in a fiber plant; this brought in money so their mother could maintain home and family. The one thing they made sure of was that their younger brother stayed in school and graduated high school. This is something Robert would remember for the rest of his life. Robert was to become an attorney after serving in World War 2. While his brother Charles did not have any children, Robert paid the college expenses for Edward’s oldest child.

The three brothers were to remain close for the rest of their lives. They lived during the age of the bi-plane to seeing a man land on the moon. All went through World War 2, with one earning a purple heart. One brother sent a son to Vietnam, and none of them relaxed until he returned. Families raised, employment was obtained and lost, visits and vacations were shared. Weddings and baptisms, and good times were enjoyed. As in all families, times of sorrows made their visits. They buried their Mother Alice in 1961 and closed ranks when a family tragedy struck. Finally, they had to bury each other and their wives. Edward’s wife was the first to die in December 1980. Robert was at this time battling cancer and in the middle of his treatments. He was in no condition to travel the three hundred miles for the funeral. I remember the tears he shed that he “could not be there for his brother.” Robert was next to die in January 1982, just 13 months after the death of Bea, Edward’s wife. I was in the hospital room with Robert in what would be the last weeks of his life when Edward came to visit. Robert and Edward greeted each other warmly, and then Robert asked: “where is Bea?” Just for a second a stunned look came over Ed’s face, but he recovered quickly saying “she could not make it.” Charles died next in 1988 then his wife Eunice in 1998. Edward was the last brother with his death in 2002. Doris, Robert’s wife, was to die in 2006.

The picture below was taken sometime in the early to mid-1930s when the three brothers were much younger

“Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.” – Susan Scarf Merrell

 

From left to right: Charles Lyon, Robert Lyon, Edward Lyon. Photograph taken in the early 1930s. Photograph from the collection of Charles Moore.

 

I will share with you one amusing family story that I was to learn. Charles and Edward were to live near to each other in the Nyack, N.Y. area for all their lives. Robert would move well up into the northern corner of New York. It seems that Charles’s and Edward’s wife’s got into a little dispute. The relationship between the two ladies was to get so frosty that the husbands were not to speak with each other as to do so would greatly upset their wives. So Ed and Charles took to meeting each other in a local bar. The best part was that neither man drank and was what we would call teetotalers. In fact, both men were quite religious, and a bar would be the last place one would look for them. That was the idea. Their wives and friends would never think to look for them there and the chances they would run into someone they knew was small. This went on for a while until the two wives worked things out and all was made right. However, their secret meetings are still only known by a very few people.

 

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49 Responses to Brothers

  1. Su Leslie says:

    They all sound like fine men. Meeting in a bar was definitely inspired — a nice way to keep their own relationship intact while managing things on their respective domestic fronts!

  2. Sheryl says:

    It’s fun to see the pictures of the three brothers both as children and as older men. It’s wonderful how the brothers remained close across the years. The story about the two brothers in the bar made me smile.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I also liked the pictures, I think they show a lot about these men. You can see the ease and love they had with and for each other in the picture when they were older.

  3. Wonderful post. I enjoyed meeting Charles, Robert and Edward!

  4. Oh Charles, I love this story! What a sacrifice the older siblings made for their younger brother! That is a legacy to be proud of. I am related to a long line of Lyons from Scotland I think, but I have not developed it well. By DNA this is true for sure. I love your stories, and this one is great! Helen

  5. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Truly a brotherly love story Charles.

  6. KerryCan says:

    I love that part about meeting in the bar–and that the men transcended their wives’ issues and stayed close. I’m going to a family gathering this weekend with relatives I haven’t seen for years. When we take the front porch pictures, I’ll think of you!

  7. Jim McKeever says:

    Wonderful memories, Charles. What a strong family, forged by love, loyalty and the economic conditions of that era. And the bar meeting tale is a classic! Good stuff.

  8. Amy says:

    Charles, this is such a warm and touching tribute to all three brothers. What a remarkable relationship they had. I am glad the two wives worked things out because it must have killed Charles and Edward to have that rift. And thanks for the photos also—so wonderful.

    • chmjr2 says:

      We can tell so many family stories from photographs. So much is left unsaid in a short blog, but that is what a family history book is for.

  9. Loved hearing about the three brothers – all fine men!

  10. Thanks for sharing. A testament to lives well-lived.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I love the picture where they all seem to be in church clothes, all looking different directions while someone is no doubt telling them “hold still, I’m trying to get a picture.” Great memories.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I am happy you liked the post and the picture. I picked this picture because it was not posed and I think showed how close these three men were.

  12. judyg1953 says:

    I loved this story of the brothers. A gem for sure!! thanks for sharing.

    • chmjr2 says:

      Thank you for reading my blog and your comment. These three men were not the type to talk about themselves, so I am glad to get the chance to do so.

  13. Jan says:

    What a wonderful post. It makes me wish I had known these brothers! Thank you for sharing their stories. I think it’s really great when family stays close and is there for each other.

  14. Loved the closeness of these brothers. I do believe their spirits were united and are still united. In this earthly existence dealings with in-laws can be so complex. It is really something how family schisms start. The thing is to get on with your own spouse and children and not let it continue to drain the relationship. I’m glad the two brothers found a way to keep in touch even though it was covert.

    Sometimes, though, a break is irreparable. I think that if one chooses, I mean a consciously made choice, not to stay in touch because of some reason, then the right thing to do is leave that family member in peace. Go your own way and get on with your own life never bad mouthing them but just sticking to your resolve. I have in my own life made decisions like that and found a degree of reticence the best thing. I know my own reasons for not relating anymore and have no need to go on about it with anyone else.

    • chmjr2 says:

      While this post was about family closeness I have seen breaks in the family and have written about them in this blog. It takes a lot of work and effort to stay close at times. I wish we all could stay close but that will never be the case. I think you have the right idea that when it is not possible to do so it is best just to move on and not adding any fuel to the fire.

  15. What a lovely tribute to these wonderful men, Charles. Thank you for sharing. We need more reminders like this to support and sacrifice for each other. Family should be the first line of defense in times of trouble. Your wife’s family definitely understood that.

  16. marilynyung says:

    Man, I love this post. The sacrifices Charles and Edward made so Robert could finish high school and go on to college is touching. Would siblings do that today??? I just wrote about my grandmother’s brothers. They would have been the approx. age of Edward and Charles. That quote from Susan Scarf Merrell… perfect.

  17. Luanne @ TFK says:

    What a charming story at the end! The honor and loyalty that the brothers showed to each other would serve as a good example to our current society, as a whole (I am not targeting young people).

  18. Anabel Marsh says:

    Such a touching story – the way the two older brothers made sure the youngest got his education and then he passed the help on to the next generation, never losing sight of his roots.

  19. Michael says:

    You’ve painted a very moving portrait of the Lyon brothers.

  20. Katoomba21 says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, you can see how close those three brothers were

  21. A very touching story…thank you for sharing and reminding what is really important in this old life.

  22. dlpedit says:

    How funny! Sounds like your family research is turning up some gems!

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