A tribute to an older brother
My story and account of my brothers search. Learning that your brother has drowned in an accident somewhere up in the deep cold waters of northern Minnesota was devastating to me then as it still is now. My story started long ago with my brother Larry Gilbertson helping a punk kid find his way in life. Most kids that are lost to the street don't have someone that cares enough about them to take them in.
I guess I'm one of the lucky ones , somewhere between a dad and a brother , that's what my two brothers have been to me Fred and Larry. Without there help and guidance I would have been in the same place I have sent many people in my carrier. This short story cannot do justice to my relationship and understanding of our family . Lets talk about Larry for now,my oldest brother. I grew up without him , he had left Florida and headed back to Minnesota when I was about four. I think I was about ten when we all piled into Fred's 55 oldsmobile and drove to Duluth,Mn for a wedding. My brother married a pretty girl,I just loved her at first site. Judy, with any luck I would find a girl like her one day too.
This trip I got to see my brothers twin six shooters and buggy he had built out at my uncles farm just outside of Duluth, Mn. The time we spent with him was all to short and left a urning to return one day and be a brother to Larry. When I was about fifteen once again Larry and Judy took me in for a while bought me some clothes and lots of advise about living with my dad where I had been in Fergus Falls, Mn for about a year or so. Life wasn't easy for a boy who had lived on the streets and had no discipline at all.
Moving on several years later after I had my head on straight I had become a jail guard for the Hillsborough Co Sheriff Office September 1974. It was just two or three days later I was told that my little brother Kirby had been killed by his step father in Atlanta, Ga. I had to be strong this time, and deal with things like a big brother I was to Kirby. Larry flew in from Duluth and my other brother Fred and I drove to Atlanta to search for my little brothers stuff. The house was an average little house with a craw space under it. I won't bother you with what we saw that day it was pretty hard for all of us.I took it pretty bad being to closes to Kirby by both my big brothers offered up plenty guidance for me the trip back to Tampa.
I guess it was in the spring of 1985 when I got one of those call you don't really want to have, my brother Larry had drowned in a lake up in Northern Minnesota. I only know I went into brother mode called Judy and was flying north with the hour. My brother Fred joined me later in the week. I stayed at Larry and Judy's home and planed for the trip up north to find Larry. This time was a little hazy for me too.
We made contact with the Sheriff o up in Grand Marie,Mn who was in charge of the search for my brother. I advised I was going to the scene no matter what, he agreed reluctantly. What a beautiful place I can understand why Larry would come up here. I guess like all of us we need a place where we can forget things at, this was the place for Larry. I had made the trip with Marl and Scott Larry's two sons. and it was a good I would have never found this spot without them. They were two pretty tough guys and guided me around as needed. WE spent about four or five days at the lake without finding Larry the search had been called off until a new team could be put. The camping area looked pretty clean Larry's canoe was still on the beach and there were no signs of foul play in the camping area.
Me and boys needed to return back home for now I think Fred was on his way up. Fred had arrived and we elected to have a little snort, I polished off a bottle of jack and was kissing a tree out side I guess it was time for me to unwind a little.
Fred and I returned to the Lake and just waited around a few more days without any results from the Sheriff, there was nothing for us to do but wait. Fred and I headed back to Judy's but stopped along the way to take in the beauty of the land it was almost like Larry was guiding us and could not remember where the hell we were even at.
Larry was eventually found and as people in the extreme north know there is a saying on Lake Superior that the lake doesn't give up its dead, the water is just to cold. The lake was as cold and dark so divers could not really go in. I don't remember much about the next day or so my self I think it must be a copping method to allow us to survive the trauma events in out life.
No matter how long its been it's never long enough to get over a lost, I lost a brother but more import those two young boys lost their father and friend. Judy I still love you and I always will.
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