The Competitive Brother and the Housemate

Art came from a competitive family. The firstborn of seven brothers, he bore everyone’s expectations to excel in life, but he was going to have to work at it if he was to outshine his siblings.

He had a mind for finance, so no one was surprised when he moved to the big city to get a job with a bank. He knew better than to expect anyone to hand greatness to him. It was going to come through hard work, and that meant he would start low on the corporate ladder.


Living in the big city with a beginner’s wages, Art also knew he would have to live modestly. He was grateful to find a place in a boarding house where he could live until he made enough to get a place of his own.

We already mentioned that he came from a large family, so he adjusted to the crowded conditions better than most. He didn’t resent having people around. Rather, he was delighted to develop new friendships. It helped him overcome the loneliness of being separated from his family. Additionally, in the world of finance, it never helps to have connections. You never know when you might need a favor from an old friend.

That’s just one of the reasons Art was delighted to strike up a friendship with one of his fellow tenants. He was about the same age and was also trying to find a way to make a name for himself. Art was more than happy to make some introductions. Before you knew it, Art’s housemate was also a co-worker. It was an entry-level clerk position, but he was grateful for it and threw himself into his duties.

The young man didn’t stay at the bank, however. Art all but forgot about him as he devoted himself to climbing the corporate ladder. His hard work and determination paid off. It wasn’t long before he was sitting in an office as vice president of the Commerce Trust Bank.

Of course, all accomplishments are relative — especially when you come from a family of overachievers. As impressive as Art’s accomplishments were, he had to hand it to his youngest brother. Milt was Art’s junior by 33 years, yet he managed to become the president of three major universities: Kansas State University, Pennsylvania State University, and Johns Hopkins University.

As you know, there always seems to be a special blessing upon the eldest and the youngest in a family. It’s the middle children that seem to struggle to find their way. When you have a family of competitive brothers, however, be prepared to have your expectations turned upside down.

Son #6 went into politics and was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. That’s not too shabby of a record for a middle child.

It was the third child whose star would outshine all of the other brothers. Well, technically it wasn’t just one star — it was five. That brother was named David, but along the way, he switched his first and middle names and went by Dwight. The world called him Ike. He was the one who led the greatest military operation in history and who made it all the way to the White House: Dwight D. Eisenhower.

One can only imagine Art’s pride as he watched his little brother be sworn in as the 34th President of the United States.

One also has to imagine what was going through Art’s head as his eyes fell upon his brother’s predecessor. The tenacious little guy who handed the keys to the White House over to Art’s brother was Art’s old housemate and the fellow who owed Art a debt of gratitude for getting him a job as a bank clerk: Harry S. Truman.

A Schoolboy Crush, a Teacher’s Kiss, and a Quest for Greatness

They certainly weren’t the first boys in history to develop a crush on their teacher. Who could blame them for their innocent preoccupation over Miss Brown? Matilda “Tillie” Brown was young, pretty, and she had that special gift of teaching and encouragement that caused her students to want to do their best.

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When History Hung on a Minor League Baseball Career

David loved athletics of all kinds, but it was football and baseball that really drove him. Later in life, he would be remembered for other things. In those formative years, however, it was all-consuming passion for sports that not only defined him, but very nearly altered the course of history.

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