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A Brother's Death
Digital History ID 4148

Author:   Dick Clark

Annotation: Television personality Dick Clark was 14-years-old in 1943 when his older brother joined the Air Force.

Document: That summer I did little more than hang around the house. I went outside only when my mother had had enough of me and wanted the house to herself for a few hours. In the evenings and on weekends I helped my father work on a little square of land behind the building that he'd designated as our "victory garden."

We'd plant, hoe, water, and wait for mom to call us in for supper. We talked about Brad, where he was, and how the war was going. Brad had been offered a post as a flight instructor, but refused it. In September he was sent to Europe to fly fighter missions. That fall he sent home a photo of himself in uniform standing in front of a P 47. I took the photo and showed it to the kids in school ....

I was in the lobby [of our apartment building], shortly after Christmas 1944, excited that I had a week off from school. I'd picked up our paper off the pile, tucked it under my arm, and was waiting for the elevator.

Mr. Lindblum, the building superintendent, came in. He was an old friend who sometimes let me run the elevator and use his workshop in the basement. He stopped by the telephone switchboard when he saw me.

"Dickie, I'm sorry. You know how I felt about Brad. I don't know what to say"

I stood there, staring at him. He didn't realize he was the first to tell me that Brad was dead. I took the newspaper from under my arm, opened it up, and held it in front of my face, pretending to read it. I didn't say anything. I kept turning the pages.

Source: Dick Clark, Rock, Roll and Remember, pp. 14-16.

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