Did you live with all three of your siblings growing up?
“For the most part till I around 12, when my sisters started moving on. They came back to the house a couple of times but we lived together steadily till I was 12.”
How any years are between all of you?
“My oldest sister was born in ’56, my next sibling was born in ’59, my brother was born in ’64 and I was born in ’67.”
There have been a lot of studies on characteristics of people based on birth order. “Like saying that the oldest has leadership qualities, stuff like that. Do you think there’s any truth behind those studies?
“I don’t give a lot validation to that about my family. My eldest sister I never saw as a leader in our family. My other sister, second oldest, definitely was. My brother beat to his own drum, like my oldest sister. I always thought I had leadership qualities when I was younger, playing sports. I find myself less of a leader now and more of a follow the pack type of person.”
One of the studies says that some characteristics of a youngest child are: thinking others are more capable, expecting others to make decisions and take responsibility, and that they tend to get their own way more. Does any of that ring true to you?
“I think a lot of what you just said describes me a lot! I definitely got away with a lot more when I was younger. When I grew up, my mom worked a lot (my parents were separated when I was 8 and divorced when I was 12). She was out of the house a lot, so growing up I had a lot of freedom compared to my siblings.”
So, you think as a child, you were “textbook”?
“Yes. And I think they’re still continuing. A lot of that is still me. I’m very laid back and I find that I don’t necessarily follow, but I don’t take a lead. I’m in with the crowd and blend in more so than stand out. I find that I do rely on other people to take care of me more so than me taking care of myself. I do take care of myself, but I find people take care of me more than not.”
Older siblings typically take on role of caretaker of the younger ones. Was that how it was in your family?
“Definitely my sisters. They were both very maternal and took care of me quite a bit. My brother wasn’t a BAD brother, he just wasn’t around a lot, went out and did his own thing. That’s the way that rolled. I was always being taken care of by my mother and sisters.”
Was there a lot of fighting between you? Did you try to tag along with them a lot?
“I never was a tag along person with my siblings. Maybe when I was a little younger, up until I was a teenager, I guess I was.”
“Fighting? We had quite a bit. My brother and I had a lot of fights and got physical quite a bit. Maybe not a lot, that might be an exaggeration. But we had some big, knock down, blow out sort of things. I vividly remember chasing each other around and taking things and throwing them at each other. It got pretty bad. Even with my sisters, we butted heads quite a bit. Our dynamic was different from most people’s typical family. We’re closer to a dysfunctional family than the average American family.”
Are you grateful that you had siblings, that you have people to fall back on, like in the instance of an aging parent?
“I’m not as close as I’d like to be with my siblings. They all live out of the area. But it is nice to have another person to rely on with an aging parent. My mother lives in a facility, living close to my oldest sister. Having someone there to take care of some of her needs is good. Again, I’m not that close to my brother and sisters. I’m much closer to my friends. I find they’re as close as family sometimes and I have a wonderful wife.”
Do you have any children?
Do you ever feel like he is missing out on having siblings?
“It never really occurred to me that way. I think he’s a well-rounded child with great friends. He has a ton of passion and caring for ideas and people. So I don’t think he has missed out by not having a sibling. He grew up close to his cousins, and has a sibling type relationship with them. Probably would’ve been nice to have a brother or sister with him though.”
Some famous folks who are the baby of the family include:
Ryan Gosling, Tina Fey, Angelina Jolie, Prince Harry, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and Billy Crystal.