Our Military Life Blog

The Great Brain – Week 1

John is the youngest of three brothers, and being the youngest can be rough. His brothers Sweyn and Tom are always getting everything first, including the diseases that mamma likes to pass on to the rest of the family and move them through. Tom is a genius, and is always trying to find ways to turn a profit or get something that he wants from his youngest brother.

Tom’s latest chance to make money comes when their father buys the first indoor toilet in the little town that they live in. Tom and John gather kids from the area, and charge them a penny a piece to sit on the back porch and watch the hole being dug for the cesspool. The plumber, Mr. Harvey, is not a fan of children, but he seems to enjoy the cheering and encouragement he is getting from the crowd of boys on the back porch. When it is finally all done and the crates with all the different pieces are being delivered to the house, their next opportunity arises. As the wheels in Tom’s head begin to turn, all the pieces are assembled and the adults are allowed into the house by papa in small groups to see how it works. The next day, Tom and John begin to take groups of kids through the house, until mamma arrives home to put a stop to it. As their older brother Sweyn falls sick with the measles, Tom and John know that they are going to be stuck in the room with him until they are good and infected as well. They are hoping they can sneak out to play for a little bit first, but mamma catches them and makes them change back into nightclothes to be with Sweyn. As they begin to get sick, Sweyn is better and enjoys rubbing the good foods and play time that he is getting into his younger brothers.

John has had enough with being the last to get sick all the time. When his friend Howard Kay comes down with the mumps, he decides to sneak into his house and get himself infected first. When he finally comes down with the mumps, he cannot contain his excitement! Mamma is a little suspicious, but the ones he needs to worry about are his brothers! When John begins to rub it in to his brothers what he has done, they decide to give him the silent treatment – for an entire month! It won’t start until they are better, and the silent treatment is the worst thing that they could do to him! When Tom comes up with an idea to end the silent treatment, it means John giving up his prized Indian belt that he got for his birthday. It is a steep price, but is it worth it?

This week we are reading Chapters 1-2


  1. Where do you fall in your family? Are you the oldest, middle or youngest?
  2. Tom seems to find ways to make money wherever he goes. What do you think of mamma’s decision to repay all the kids they have taken money from?
  3. Why do you think John allows Tom to take advantage of him so often?