My brother Mike and Ronnie Pitts may be the only two students in the history of Romper Room to have been kicked off the televised nursery school. Spiffed and spit shined, the two boys misbehaved subtly throughout the hour-long show, upsetting even Mr. Don’t Bee, then launched into an all out brawl as the credits rolled.
The feistiness that made my brother a pint-sized local celebrity 45 years ago has driven him to impressive success in business, family and politics today. He and his wife Robin are raising four beautiful children, all of whom have sparks of their father’s feistiness tempered by their mother’s grace.
Born less than a year apart, Mike and I bickered our way through high school. I once spent a sweaty summer painting my dad’s warehouse green while he, then a summer inside salesman, poked his head outside regularly to check on my progress and compliment the company’s excellent indoor air conditioning system.
Over Christmas break one year I filled in for the company’s receptionist, where I politely answered the phone and efficiently transferred every single call to my brother.
As it turned out, Mike had a little more aptitude for business than I.
He and his partner Tim Sullivan built a manufacturing business that now operates out of 13 locations in four states, employs 150 people and continues to grow. An early riser, he hit the road by three or four a.m. in the years it took to build that company and said he’s proud that his employees share his work ethic.
In a move that took us all by surprise, he ran for office last year and won a seat on his city council.
There’s been no repeat of the great Romper Room incident of 1967, but with the increasing popularity of televised council meetings, we’ll all stay tuned.