I’m not sure if the first child is always the favored child, but in our family that was the case. Robby had his way with my parents and got virtually anything he wanted. That is my perspective, though I admit a bit of historical reconstruction.
The Little Brother
The truth is that Robby was four years older than me and that was old enough in “kid years” to put us in two different worlds, especially when you throw in a pinch of dysfunction. When I went to first grade, he was in the fourth and was moving on with his life.
It took me to the third grade to adjust to school life, which put him in the seventh. And by the time he was in high school, he might as well have been part of another family. I did not know him at all. And he had Joey, who was a year younger.
The Big Rip Off
The most significant time that I remember being angry about his “most favored status” was when he wanted a car. My dad took $1000 from my bank account to buy him a Volkswagen. It was nearly all the money that I had. I was fourteen at the time.
Being a minor, my dad was in charge of my bank account. The “parental consent” clause gave him the ability to control the money. I remember having a savings book, which was the coolest thing to watch the money grow week by week in that account.
Dad took the money to buy Robby a purple, metal-flaked 1966 Volkswagen. I was ticked. I had worked for two years at Jud’s Restaurant bussing tables to save that money, and then, poof. What Robby wanted, he got. That incident was the beginning of the end for me with my dad. By the time I was fifteen, I left home, to live with my grandmother.
The End of the Road
The car was passed down to Joey after Robby went to prison. Then Joey went to prison, and I got “my car.” I was sixteen. By that time, the car had seen its best years. I re-carpeted it, added some cool speakers, and enjoyed it for a few months.
I skipped school with Chip Simpson to go to Greensboro, NC (100 miles away) to pick up some wrestling tickets for a big show they were having. On the way back, the car blew a rod, just outside of Greensboro, and we had to hitchhike home. We made it home “from school” at 11 PM. It was not a good day.
I had just started working for Hardee’s food chain that week and had to call in to let my boss–Steve Johnson–know that I would not make it that day. I did not tell him that we skipped school, blew a rod, and was hitch-hiking 100 miles home with a case a beer. Mercifully, he let me keep my job.
My dad had a wrecker service drop the car off at a mechanic friend. The guy said it would cost more to repair than it was worth, so I gave the car to the mechanic to cover the towing cost and his time.
That was the second time I got ripped off for that car.