By Frank Junior Guertin
I have an older brother, Larry, who loved to cause trouble. He truly enjoyed doing terrible things to me that made me frightened or cry. I also have an older sister, Debbie, who was and still is a great sister. She always cared about me and was always kind and fun to hang out with. She always protected me and always made me feel good like an older sister should to her younger brother. Larry was the complete opposite. He never treated me like an older brother should treat his younger brother. Larry is the kind of person who is jealous over anything that took the attention away from him. Before I came along, Larry was the baby of the family. And when I was born, I became the baby of the family. And he wasn’t pleased to say the least. Larry didn’t look at me as his new little baby brother to love and protect. Instead, I was a threat to his attention and nothing more. Debbie and Larry were from my mothers first marriage.
To this day, I never heard my brother say “I love you” to me. For so many years that would always bother me. That was the very first time I felt abandoned by someone. And that wouldn’t be the only time. Over the many years of my life, I’ve been abandoned by a lot of people including other family members, close friends, relationships ending and people who said they’d never leave and left anyway. I blamed myself for it all. I’m very sensitive to that subject. Always have been. So with my brother Larry, that was my introduction to abandonment. It saddened me deeply knowing that my only brother in my life…hated me.
Larry knew my weaknesses and he used them against me every chance he could. Making me cry or react in fear was his goal for me. One day he over heard my mother saying how I cried when I got a booster shot at the doctors. So Larry chased me around the house with a red pen that he said was a doctors needle filled with blood. I ran as fast as I could to my room as I screamed. I’m was completely terrified. His other favorite thing to do to me was to hide in my bedroom closet, wait in the dark and jump out and scream really loud when I went into my room. And as he walked out of my room and went down the hallway, I would hear him laugh as I sat and I cried. He always got me too. But Larry’s best work was when he asked me to hang out with him and watch a movie with him. It was on the day of my Holy Communion. Larry said he would never chase me or scare me again if I stayed and watched the entire movie with him. The movie was The Excorsist. I was 7 years old at the time and didn’t know what the movie was about. I just heard that my big brother wanted to watch a movie with me and I was happy. So while my parents and family were downstairs celebrating my first Holy Communion, I watched The Excorsist with my brother. I stayed…and I watched the entire movie. The end result? I slept in my parents room for well over a month…utterly traumatized. And I heard Larry’s laugh, again. I couldn’t even sleep in my room. And his laugh was evil. Larry felt victorious to have caused me more fear and suffering.
“Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in.”Author Unknown
On a bright sunny Sunday afternoon, my brother Larry said he had a gift for me. He was holding a big black square picture in his hands. To me, this picture looked scary to begin with but Larry said it was a gift and I wanted to be accepted by my brother so I ask what it was. Larry said for me to look. So, I looked. It was a large photograph of 4 white face with big dark black eyes, red lights shining above, and one face had blood dripping out of his mouth. At 5 years old, these faces were tremendous. They were scary, but somehow I wasn’t scared. At all.
One day, Larry was out of the house. I’d like to say he was out with his friends but he didn’t have any cause he didn’t know how to make friends. So while he was out, I got curious. I ventured upstairs into his bedroom and found the picture. At that point I had enough of Larry’s shit. I decided to stand up and I face my fears. I wanted to see what this photo actually was so I wouldn’t be scared anymore. Then I can stand up to Larry and his scare tactics would fail him…and it did In more ways than I even expected. It turns out, the square photograph was actually the front cover of a record album. I learned that this record album played music. And the music was the rock band KISS. The demonic faces were Ace, Paul, Gene, and Peter. The record was KISS ALIVE II, which I played it on Larry’s stereo…loud.
I couldn’t sit still in my brothers room. I was in complete amazement. My heart was pounding, I was being filled with confidence and empowerment. For the first time, I felt strong, free and alive. I was being introduced to music. It instantly became my friend, my family and my protector. I heard sounds I never heard before and it was larger than life. It was like a light was turned on and I saw myself not as a child, but for the very first time as who I was born to be. A musician. This music turned all of my fears into courage and my feelings of abandonment turned into feeling embraced and accepted. This day changed my life forever. This was the sounds of rock and roll music. I didn’t feel afraid or scared of anything or anyone anymore. I was found by music…and music found me. And I was on my way. 🤘🏻