Who are the Bryant Brothers?
My graphic designer first asked me the question and recommended I write a series about the Bryant Brothers. I mentally scoffed, “They don’t exist. How would I do that?” So I asked her what she meant. “The brothers came from somewhere,” she told me. “Maybe they were people you knew, or they developed from stories you heard, or perhaps they were born from experiences you had. Come on, share.”
After some inner searching, I found Jamie was right on all counts.
I knew the Bryant Brothers.
I grew up with the real-life version of them all—including Mason, the brother who deepens the Bryants’ bond through his traumatic passing. To write the novella series, I pulled from his experiences and recalled some I shared alongside. Mason, Jack, Dan, and Gabe aren’t just fictional brothers, but my brother, Eddie.
My brother Eddie was my hero. Most little girls fall in love with their dad, but I’m pretty sure my brother had my heart first.
Though Mason isn’t the subject of his own book, he is in every book in the series. The same as my brother, no longer in my physical experience, is enmeshed in my daily life.
There was a five-year age difference between us, and Eddie was my hero. Most little girls fall in love with their dad, but I’m pretty sure my brother had my heart first.
He was funny and cool. He kept people on their toes, and Eddie had a James Dean sort of dark, dangerous charm in my little girl’s mind. (Eddie was ten when I recognized his inimitable qualities. 😅).
I was spending time alone with the most enthralling person I knew.
The summer before I started Kindergarten, early Sunday morning and well before 7 AM, I got to help my brother Eddie deliver his paper route. It was a higher honor than anything.
My first shared memory was the summer before I started Kindergarten. It was an early Sunday morning, well before 7 AM, and I got to help him deliver his paper route. For me, it was a higher honor than—well, than anything. I was spending time alone with the most enthralling person I knew. Just me and him. He and me.
Carry the heavy, Funny Pages-wrapped papers? I can do that. Not talk to you unless my life is on the line? No problem. Walk ten paces behind you, so no one knows you’re with your kid sister? It makes complete sense. Let me slow down.
For my efforts, he rewarded me with a puny stack of coins, a stale cookie from an elderly customer who couldn’t afford to tip, and one of those godawful orange circus peanuts that should never have made it past the assembly line at the candy factory.
I was blessed, and that day will forever live in my heart as one of my childhood favorites.
I looked up to my brother every day of his life, and I still do. But, like Mason, he suffered much, mainly holding the pain inside, and died younger than expected.
As the only male child, my brother held a special place in the hearts of my three sisters and me, and we were all close to him, particularly after the newspaper delivery years. We found great joy in his presence as he could uplift you like no other. He made everything funny (You’d be wise not to sit next to him at a funeral), and have you laughing for, no joke, decades to come.
I miss the gifts that having a big brother brings, but I don’t get caught up in all that was lost. Instead, I channel the memories and create narratives around them, distilling the best parts to recreate the treasure of brotherly love.