This week my youngest brother turned forty, making this family officially Old.
He was born in the year in which Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience topped the charts (is it any wonder I grew to hate guitar-free '80s music?); Carlton pinched an Essendon flag by three points; Melbourne University runner Ralph Doubell pinched gold in the 800 in Mexico and Rain Lover strolled to an eight-length victory in the Melbourne Cup*. On the food scene, I ate my first Chinese meal at David Wang in Little Bourke Street and, just around the corner, Hofbrauhaus opened. (The latter restaurant must have saved thousands of dollars over the decades by never having to print a new menu.)
My mother had brought home to the older ones a younger sibling in each of the winters of 1963, '65 and 68. I kind of believed that babies were a winter phenomenon. Being fourth in the sequence, I hence became Mr Middle. This meant that while I watched the older ones sail serenely up the decades as time went by, I was also able to vicariously hang on to the younger ones' ages as a kind of youth-enhancement by relativity.
So to me, my brother is still a teenager. Or at least a twenty-something.
Happy birthday, youngest brother.
*I witnessed this event. I was inside the rails with my father, a freelance press photographer. Adjusting his Pentax, he asked me to let him know when I saw the horses enter the straight. 'I can see them, Dad,' I replied. 'But there's only one.' He nearly dropped his camera in shock.