My Brother, David Vinson Craig
I have to search my memory very hard to remember a time that I didn't know my brother, David Vinson Craig. He was born 25 July 1939 and I was just barely four years old. It seems he was always in my life, and no need to remember any further back. He was the sweetest little baby boy God ever created -- at least that is how I felt about him. He was not a burden to me, ever.
Due to family circumstances and the times we grew up in, I was usually responsible for David's safety and care. Needless to say, he minded me pretty well. He was an even tempered and easy going boy, so there was little conflict between us. Not that he was perfect, nor I, but for the most part we were good friends, as well as, siblings.
I don't want to get into our family dynamics, but depending on each other was very important to both of us. For a short time we were separated from each other, and it was a big relief to be united with David after that separation. I was age eleven and he was age seven that summer that we were back together again. We were not parted again except for normal things like when he went to college, etc.
When David was a little boy, we went to the movies every time the program changed at the theater. It was about all the entertainment that was available, other than comic books and the radio. Of course, we saw the newsreels every time we went to the movies and the thing that caught David's attention was the air battles in World War II. He would lay on the floor for hours drawing airplanes and doing the sound effects as he drew the air battles. He was a good artist from a very early age.
David was a "charmer," to say the least. People liked him and he had a way of winning people over so easily. I was the opposite -- I seemed to have to have time to grow on people. He was very outgoing and I was shy and introverted. We were quite the opposite in personality. As a young teenager, he was funny and loved to make people laugh.
He had a photographic memory and therefore learning came easy to him. One time we had a player piano out in the garage at 1815 P Street, in Gering, Nebraska. One of the piano rolls was of the song "Malaguena." David played the music roll a couple of times, watching the keys do their magic, and then I looked over and he was playing "Malaguena" just like the piano roll sounded. He had memorized the movement of the keys as they went through their routine. I was amazed that it sounded so much like the piano roll did.
When David was about age fifteen, he went to work out at the Scottsbluff Airport. He took flying lessons for his pay, and he could have passed his license test, but he was too young. This is where he was in 1954 when the big tornado hit the Platte River Valley and took a side trip through the Airport. David laid in a ditch and watched the whole thing pass before his eyes.
David earned top honors in High School, and later when he attended South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City, South Dakota. Our mother and stepdad, Laurel L Evelyn, helped David as much as they could for college expenses, but he supplemented it by scholarships and also by working summers for the Peter Kiewit Construction Company. Our dad was able to pull strings and see that David had a job each summer to help on expenses. One summer David worked with our dad in Greenland. This project was building the huge radar domes that kept an eye on our adversary, the USSR. David graduated from college in May 1962.
On June 17, 1962, David married Glenda Rose Hall at the Methodist Church in Gering, Nebraska. Although I was "heavily" pregnant, I was able to attend the wedding. Two days later, on June 19, 1962, I had Laurel Ann Meier. David and Glenda took off immediately after the wedding to go to David's first engineering job in Los Angeles, California. They drove a 1951 black Chevy panel truck that our step dad, Laurel Evelyn, bought for them to transport their belongings. David was a Californian for the rest of his life. They adapted to the California lifestyle immediately.
After a few years of working for Los Angeles County, David embarked on his own as a civil engineering consultant. He and two partners started their own business, Rotter, Craig, Silver & Associates. He was still in that business when he died in 1980.I will never forget the 26th of March 1980 when I received the call that my brother was dead. I was speechless, of course, and numb in disbelief. He was age 40 years 8 months and 1 day. My mother and I drove to California for the funeral and it was a very sad trip. I think of him so often, and it helps keep him alive, if only in my memory.
When I think of David, I see a carefree and happy young boy. Even in difficult situations he managed to see the bright side of things. He was a pleasure to know and people remember him for his easy going personality. It is funny how the tables turned as we became adults. As children I was the "boss" and saw to David's needs and safety. When we became adults, he was the strong one and helped me in so many ways. I feel privileged to have had a brother like David Vinson Craig.
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