|Home - Letters - Captains - Photo Gallery - Video Gallery - Crew Registry - Ships Log|
|1983 Cruise Book - Seaplane Tenders - A Tribute - Obituaries - Links - Crew Messages|
From Roy L. Whitaker, Erby's Brother
Tribute To “Big Brother”
On a warm summer night in September, 1938, one of Erbys' wishes came true. He always wished for a baby brother, but before he had a chance to know this little brother, he found that Uncle Sam had a job for him in the South Pacific called World War II.
As I understand it, he was barely 18 years old when he left for the war. He joined the U.S. Navy. I was proud of him, as was his entire family. I even remember me being dressed up in a navy outfit, Pea coat and all, at the age of 7 or 8. He left behind that 5 yr. old brother he wished for. As time has a way of changing things, 4 years passed making him 22 and me 9, and coming home from service, finding home different and everybody older.
War took its toll, as it seems to do with so many people. Soon after that, Dad died in an accident making you know who the man of the house. As baby brothers so often do, I guess I did not agree with this new man in the house. You fill in the rest…………………
Then, in no time at all, he got married and then he was gone again, and guess who the new man of the house was? But, at times, he was the weekender who came back, to take me to get haircuts, and who knows what else? One of my memories was getting a hamburger and coffee at a drug store, which, by the way, is still on White Bridge Road.
From that time on, with a difference of 13 yrs between us, he had his world…. I had mine. Not until recently had we done things that brothers do together. We went for car rides, long talks sharing old memories of the train set he gave me at age10 and a passenger train he did not want to keep, talking about southern gospel music, of all things. I forgot about his love for that. Together we watched football games on television and really enjoyed each others company.
But as fate would have it, heart attacks, strokes, and other illnesses meant our time was limited. Even with my busy schedule and his, I did try to contact him weekly to check up on him because I knew his health was his own worst enemy. We had heart to heart talks, just the two of us. I am so glad we did. I will always cherish the moments we had in time.
I got to know his love for you,
ON NOVEMBER 22, 2000
MY BROTHER FOUND RELIEF FROM
HIS EARTHLY ILLNESSES
YOUR PAIN HAS NOW SUBSIDED
I CAN SEE HOW YOU DECIDED
TO FIND PEACE OUTSIDE YOURSELF
ALL YOUR FEARS NOW ON THE SHELF
I WOULD HAVE TRIED TO SOOTH THE PAIN
BUT I FEAR IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IN VAIN
YOUR BODY WAS IN SUCH TORMENT
SUCH PAIN YOU HAD KEPT DORMANT
I LOVED YOU, BROTHER, OH SO MUCH
SO SHORT OF TIME, SINCE I FELT YOUR TOUCH
YOUR HEART WIDE OPEN TO ALL WHOM YOU KNEW
YOUR LOVE SO DEEP TO ALL WHOM LOVED YOU
YOU LOVED WITH YOUR SOUL, NOT JUST YOUR HEART
THE WORLD YOU LOVED AND PROTECTED
SOMETIMES JUST SEEMED TO FALL APART
BEFORE OUR BLURRED EYES, WE SAW YOU FALLING
OH, TO KNOW HOW LOUD YOU WERE CALLING
BROTHER, I’LL ALWAYS MISS YOU, I MISS YOU ALREADY I’LL MISS OUR TOMORROWS, MY HEART CAN’T BEAT STEADY
MY MEMORIES ARE BEAUTIFUL, AND KEEPSAKES TO CUDDLE