Thursday, September 25, 2008


L –

This one is going to be harder. I know that my sisters are both going to be harder to write about. There is a fondness for your brothers that you can never feel for your sisters, at least for us three girls. I know they feel it too, it’s just different, some sort of ‘they-could-blow-up-puppies’ and it would somehow be forgiveable, but with your sisters there is a bond that comes from sharing the deepest secrets, your innermost fears and anticipations, your embarrassments, you can brag about your accomplishments – big and small – no humility or dignity required at all. Sisters could probably blow up puppies too – but the difference would be that you would have known before they did it that they were contemplating it, and why – and for some unG-dly reason, you would have found a way to support that (or you would be the one person on the Earth who could convince them to do something different). My oldest sister is eleven years older than I am. That’s a lot when you are young, she was feeling teen angst while I was still peeing the bed – the bed we shared. Our great grand-father lived with us when I was a baby/toddler – he died when I was three. He had the master bedroom, my parents had another bedroom, then we girls had a room and the boys had a room. After he died, my parents moved into the master bedroom and we girls split the two upstairs rooms and the boys continued on with the one room downstairs. Anyhow, we shared a room for a few years, and she was a tween (not a term in the sixties) and I was tiny baby. She adored me – or so she reminds me, more frequently than I think is necessary. I had a heart on the end of my nose and she loves to tell me about it. She was a regular wanna be flower child, she loved all the hippy stuff, but she also loved good hygiene – my mom says she was the cleanest hippy on the hill. She has a magical way of attracting all of the most unique people, all of her friends for her entire life have been the most interesting people in the room. She is the most generous soul you could ever hope to meet. For her gift giving is an art, and it feeds her soul. She is not complete when she is unable to select what she feels (and is almost always right) is the perfect gift. She is also hands down the most loyal person in the family. I think I’ve made it clear that we are all very loyal to each other and would support anything – but she is more loyal than that somehow. I can’t put into words her loyalty, but you dare not utter a syllable that could even be interpreted as against one of us – she will exact a vengeance, and she will make it clear to all who are witness that you do not mess with her family. She is also the most vengeful – I don’t remember her being as vengeful when we were kids, but she spent 17 years in Boston, and she picked up some character traits there that are as ingrained in her as anything she learned at home. She too, like Markie, loves completely and utterly and with a deeper passion than many people ever know – but rarely, very rarely. She has had two true loves in her life – she married neither. She never had children, but she has always made it very clear that it is her goal to be favorite auntie – and she has spent many hours finding just the right way to express her special love and loyalty for her many nieces and nephews. She is very careful what she lets people see of her inner self, very guarded. I would say that only one person outside of family really knows her at all – and it’s not the man she did marry. She did love her husband, and they had a good life for awhile, but he had addiction problems (he was recovered when they met and married, but eventually replaced drugs with gambling and eating) and that can tear a marriage apart. It doesn’t help that she also has a drinking problem – she wasn’t what I would call an alcoholic then, though she probably is now. She has always suffered from Alcohol Induced Psychosis however. I don’t want to give a long description of this – just to say my grandmother and my sister both have it – and it’s so unfair that my mother has had to suffer through the behaviour again and again all of her life. Drunks are ugly, but they eventually pass out or something. Psychotic drunks are far uglier, and they never pass out – they can go and go for days and days like some sort of demented energizer bunny. I don’t want to focus on that though, but I want to give a complete picture – so there it is, one of the ugly skeletons in the family closet. My sister is so much more than her drinking. She is one of the most beautiful women you could ever meet – she turns heads from nine to ninety. At one time, while she was living on the East coast, she was doing makeup for a Marilyn Monroe review and she looked so much more like Marilyn than the stars it was uncanny. She did herself all up in her Marilyn look and flew home. My dad said that walking through the airport men were actually stumbling and falling as she walked by. Mom always says that yes, she’s as beautiful as Marilyn when she does Marilyn, but she’s so much more beautiful than Marilyn when she doesn’t do Marilyn. She’s not just physically beautiful though, her soul is tremendous. Generous, loving, loyal – she exudes an excitement for happy things that catches anyone and everyone in it’s wake – you can’t help but get excited too – it can be Mom’s cooking, decorating the house for a holiday, a kids kindergarten recital, a rose blooming in the garden, a vacation, a baby, any happy occasion and she will involve and excite all who come near. She always wants to make everything bigger and better – if the neighbors had a piñata – she will have two piñatas and they will be stuffed with better bigger candy. If the last wedding had a well known band, she will have a better known band, and they will play all night. She’s also the queen of getting what she wants – it doesn’t matter how absurd it seems, she will find someone who can get it for her – but, it’s usually not for her, it’s usually for her to give as a gift to someone she loves. Oh and artistic, she is amazing – hair, makeup, decorating, clothing, ideas – always new and eccentric and people just ooh and ah. She also has an uncanny knack for impressions – she does so many so well – we laugh and laugh. I have so many funny stories, I can’t seem to choose one to share. So her artistic side, and her ‘hey-I’m-so-excited-side’ took over on a fishing trip one time. She packed a “fishing outfit”. It won’t sound quite so strange in 2008 as it did in 1985ish – keep in mind… she has always been ahead of her time. It was part glamour, part hippy – like pretty much everything she wears – it was like a collage of blue cotton rags, all hanging here and there on this shirt and Capri pants – she really looked like shredded blue burlap from a distance – and a turban of the same material…so this turban had shreds of fabric hanging here and there too. Her makeup was flawless – her hair just jutting out of this turban thing here and there, and she headed for the dock to drop a line in the water. She was clearly out to entertain my mother’s friends – as she had been bloody-worm-gut-your-own-fish fishing many times when we were growing up – but it had been awhile since she had fished. She headed down to the dock with her Boston accent and said to my mother – or perhaps no one in particular – “I’m here to fish darling, how do you like my outfit?” – my mother laughed at her and said, all those rags will come in handy for wiping up worm guts. She proceeded to cast her line out into the water, catch a fish right off and as she was reeling it in to the dock another of the seasoned fisher-women on the dock (also a very glamorous woman actually, but could dress down and be her raised in South Dakota regular gal when in the right company and venue) said to give it a tug to set the hook – so my sister yanks her rod and reel hard and the fish flies outta the water up over her head across the roof of the boathouse and down the otherside where I am sitting quietly fishing and reading a book – amidst quite a cacophony of squeals and drama from my excited sister – “I caught one, I caught one, I just put my line in and I caught one” – laughing and squealing. We never heard the end of the “lucky fishing outfit”.

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