Sissy and Me
In the beginning, there were only the two of us-my sister and me. Although if I really were keeping track I would have to say, there were the three of us-Mother, my sister and me. Very few mothers worked outside the home in the fifties and certainly not in our family. My sister and I were only 19 months apart in age, and we were more than likely inseparable by the mere fact that Mother had to keep us nearby in order to make certain we were safe and secure. There were no pre-school programs or Mothers’ Morning Out programs so whatever we did; we did together as the two little Strange girls.
Mother always said that when she took the two of us anywhere, everyone always remarked about my sister’s hair. It was red, curly and different. For me, I only had boring, straight brown hair on my head. Today it’s not quite the same brown, thanks to L’Oreal and other hair products, but it’s still straight and boring.
The red head received all the attention, or at least that is how I remember it and how Mother told it. She told me once that she was convinced that I was more of an extrovert than my sister, because I was constantly trying to get my fair share of the attention. As friends, neighbors and strangers immediately cued in on the red hair, I would in my own way be waving my arms trying to divert the attention with “Me, me, look at me!”
I don’t know whether I believe this or not, but I am a Leo and I do love to shine and I love to take the stage and I love to stand in front of a crowd and……okay, okay, so I am an extrovert. I wouldn’t say that my sister is an introvert as I have seen her engage in her fair share of productions in her life, but perhaps it was more difficult for her than it was for me.
For my part, she is the one person who has known me my entire life and her presence is tightly embedded in all of my memories. Of course, we don’t always agree on what we remember about a particular event. At times, our recollections are very different; we disagree on the details, the tone, and the outcome or even the time of year, something took place.
Today when we talk on the phone, we analyze our childhood, and wonder if it really was that strange growing up. She will say, “Do you remember…?” And when I say “No”, she tells me I have forgotten everything. I just laugh and tell her that I only remember the very best moments of my childhood. The reminiscing continues and when we agree, not to agree, we tell each other “I love you,” and say goodbye.
And, if I somehow in my tales, I paint a more perfect picture than was actually the case, I do not apologize for that slight embellishment. I loved my family and I loved my childhood, and I love you too, Sissy.