Solid as a Rock – My Brother 10

They come without fail, on my birthday, on Mother’s Day, on Christmas, and other occasions, cards from my brother. He does this for every close family member and friends.

Glenn is thoughtful.

My brother in one of the HBCU sweatshirts he collects.

They come regularly – a beautiful blouse or dress that he saw while shopping. They always look great on me and garner compliments (even the ones I didn’t like initially). “Wear this to one of the theater openings you go to. Wear this when you’re doing a presentation.” He has good taste. He knows what will look good on me.

Glenn is a shopper/stylist.

The gifts he gives are never costly. He doesn’t make a lot of money but he knows how to stretch a dollar until it screams. He is the bargain-whisperer. He will sift through the same rack you looked at and pull out things you’ve overlooked. He can find things that are marked down to the lowest price. When he lived in Boston, he would frequently find things at Filene’s Basement that were on the final markdown and had to be taken to the charity-window to be priced. Even today, a gift from Glenn is not going to cost more than ten or fifteen dollars but it will be fabulous.

Glenn is cheap thrifty.

With no fanfare, Glenn discovered somewhere in his teen years that he had a magnificent voice. He kept this to himself. My Mom found out when a friend told her that he sang in the choir and was going to be in a play at Mizzou (University of Missouri-Columbia. She attended the concert, unannounced, and heard him sing for the first time. Turns out, he had perfect pitch!

When Glenn lived in Boston for a few years, he auditioned for and sang solos in the annual performances of Black Nativity presented by the National Center of Afro-American Artists. This was in the days of Mrs. Elma Lewis, John Andrew Ross, and Vernon Blackman, who were tough taskmasters. They didn’t play so you know he had to be good. He sings at churches in St. Louis and has been part of the IN UNISON Chorus of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for several years.

Glenn can SANG! (He is so-so talented.)

Glenn has a quiet demeanor but he is not silent. He is caring and principled in his work with students at Hazelwood Central High, going beyond his duties to do more, like organizing a Leadership Conference for students to learn about post-secondary paths. In this role, at College Summit, and as a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity where he lead the St. Louis Kappa League Program for several years, Glenn organized trips to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), facilitating leadership and community service projects.

Glenn is a role-model and mentor.

Nearly every day, Glenn visits my Mom, checking on her, doing the chores she needs doing, shopping for her (when she lets him – duties he shares with our sister), and being an all-around great son. Before Covid-19, he would take Mom and her friends to the movies and to other outings so they wouldn’t have to worry about parking or driving at night.

Glenn is an exemplary son.

Glenn is an active alumni of Mizzou and is still very much in touch with friends from college. Despite not having gone to an HBCU (although he wanted to), Glenn is an active booster of Black colleges and has been collecting sweatshirts from each of the colleges.

Glenn is a college-booster.

Caring, kind, quiet, and talented, Glenn is also principled. He is the most trust-worthy person I know. I would give him the secret formula, the combination to the safe, or a winning lottery ticket and know that he would keep them secure.

Glenn is honest.

As you cans see from the photos, Glenn is also handsome. He inherited my mother’s fashion flair, love of clothes, and delight in shopping for clothes. He has even been in a few fashion shows, something that I would never have imagined the shy brother I knew would do and do and do again.

Strike a pose.

Glenn is debonair.

Can you tell that I adore him? Probably more than I’ve expressed to him…ever. Leontopolis Thomas says it best in this lyric about his dad, “If there was ever a man who was generous, gracious, and good…” That’s my brother. This tribute is overdue. Glenn, I love you.

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About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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