I've often thought about what it was like growing up with Mike. I've told people some of my stories about what my brothers did and what they put me through! Not knowing otherwise at the time, I figured everyone else had a similar fate...if they had two older brothers. I'm now certain that I had it pretty rough as a little sister! Right, Chris?!
First of all, Chris was the mastermind behind many of the shenanigans. Somehow, he was able to talk us into doing things that he wondered about, but would never do himself.
Chris was the one who talked Mike into climbing into Grandma and Grandpa Hardie's laundry shoot on the second floor of their home in Dubuque. A little commotion among the adults was raised when Mike got stuck in the shoot between their 1st and 2nd floors. He couldn't get out! And there was Chris standing at the top of the shoot.
Chris also talked Mike into climbing (fully) into our dryer. I think he said something like, "I bet you could never fit into the dryer, but it would be cool if you could." After Mike was up to the challenge and climbed in, I heard the door slam and the dryer turn on. Thump, thump went Mike...at least a couple of times!
And Chris, how did Mike ever get locked into our deep freezer chest in the basement?
I didn't escape their torment...
Both Chris and Mike talked me into thinking it would be LOTS of fun to slide down the stairs in a sleeping bag. After they conned me into getting zipped in my bag, they picked me up and THREW me down. Does anyone recall that there was a wall at the end of our stairway?
They also thought it would be fun to teach me to box. They, of course, said none of it would hurt since we had those really padded boxing gloves. What was I thinking? Hadn't I learned?
Of course, around every corner in our house lurked a potential ambush or terror just waiting to happen. Unfortunately once, when Mike figured I'D be coming around the corner to our stairway, it was instead MY DAD! After sufficiently "surprising" my dad, Mike got to see what it was like to fly up the stairs!
I guess I don't need to go on and on with more stories. You get the point!
What I will say is that Mike also had a very tender, loyal, and generous side to him. I know this because I caught him bragging about me a few times. I remember when he was in 6th grade (I was in 4th), he told our school music teacher about how well I played the piano. He mentioned that I could play the whole song (Colour My World, by: Chicago) their class was learning for their recital...and offered my services to accompany their class in singing as well! He gave compliments freely and made people feel good.
Mike was very excitable and loved to socialize. He was energized by people...his friends. He must've had lots of Grandpa Hardie genes in him!
That's the Mike I grew up with.