Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘sister’

SUZY Q: Her Name

Dad called her Suzy Q all the time though that was not her actual name. Sue was her middle name. I asked him once what the Q was for. He said it was for questionable. I think the question was mostly what she would get into or up to next. Right from the very beginning with her first toddler steps, it was apparent my sister was a pistol and born without the fear gene. Tiny toy pistols were exactly what Santa got her for her first Christmas.

We celebrated it in Colorado Springs. Dad was reassigned to Fort Carson after he got back from his tour of duty in Korea. He found a little house for us to rent and part of the rent was refinishing the floors. After sanding the floors and putting fresh finish and wax on them, mom would set the two of us on an old GI wool blanket and drag us across the floor to polish it. The polishing was done once a month and it was our favorite activity. Mom developed a very strong back and arm muscles dragging us around.

Mom had to keep my sister in jeans and a t-shirt all the way back in the 50’s. Sis was not still enough to keep dresses intact. Rough and tumble, into everything, mom ran herself ragged trying to keep her out of danger and mischief.

Keeping an eye on sis

If sis was no longer interested in eating the soup we had for lunch and mom refused to remove the bowl, sis would turn the bowl upside down on her head letting the soup drip over her face and clothes. Quite pleased with herself, she cared not one whit about the spanking that followed. Food was not something that we were allowed to waste, no matter how bad it tasted. Mom was not much of a cook and groceries were not plentiful. There were plenty of spankings but she would just strap on her toy gun belt with twin pistols and charge on.

bowl on her head

On that same Christmas, I received a doll. Only one gift each, it was quite precious to me. I came home from first grade after the holiday and could not find my doll. My one-year old baby sister had somehow managed to get the doll past our mother and take it outside, tossing it in an open sewer pipe. Fortunately, she had only tried to bury it, not dismember it. She told us in what words she had that she didn’t like the doll. It had to go.

We were only there six months, then it was off to Fort Riley, Kansas for another six months before his next tour of three years in Germany. Oh, what fun my sister was going to have there.


From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of a Different Kind of Life

My sister came by this week for a short visit and was asking some very pointed questions. She was having a great deal of guilt because she thought she had cheated me out of a childhood. Even our mother admitted to friends that I raised the kids. My sister was sad that I could remember few joyful memories of my childhood. They were there; they just don’t stick like the hard times do. My joy came later when I had my children though it was balanced by the difficulty of my other relationships. I think that’s what life is, yin and yang, light and dark.

I assured my sister that my life has had many good moments and it continues to get better and better. I had the impression when I was very young that I came into the world to take care of people. It’s what my astrology and numerology chart say also. I’m the caregiver, nurturer, teacher, etc. I tell friends that I was born 108 years old. If our parents had been more capable, I probably would have found someone or something else to take care of, but as luck would have it, our parents had very little to work with or perhaps the plan all along was for me to be in charge of all of them. Yes, I raised mom too.

Grandpa holding my baby sister a  few months old.

Grandpa holding my baby
sister a few months old.

I read stories every day, of people with less than idyllic childhoods but most of the stories end up with these people growing into the most wonderfully capable, kind, caring people. Ours was not stable or nurtured but it certainly was interesting. Each of us turned out to be kind, caring, productive members of society.

When friends ask my sister why her life has been like a carnival ride, she tells them it was because a five year old raised her. We both know that’s only part of the truth. She came into the world with an agenda of her own. Part of that agenda was to challenge the world’s archaic thinking and she is doing a fine job of it. It’s a tougher job than any I’ve ever had. Her enthusiasm in life balances my stoic quietness. Thank goodness. Yin and yang once again.

Ready for the challenge

Ready for the challenge

She was all mine to love and discipline. Me at 9, she was 4

She was all mine to love and discipline. Me at 9, she was 4

I told my sister that we didn’t get the cottage home with a white picket fence and Mr. & Mrs. Cleaver weren’t our parents but we got something else. We had an adventurous life and an extraordinary bond. We were never afraid to say “I can do that”. There is still so much to learn and experience. We are still alive and the adventure is ongoing. There are questions to be asked and answered. Would I have traded any part of my life for a more carefree existence? I don’t think so. Our lives are different than most and continues to evolve in that direction. I am in a unique position to create the life I want to some degree. Other than this stupid illness (Bells Palsy), nothing is holding me back. Life is supposed to be fun but mostly, I want it to be interesting. Different, odd, unique, adventurous, even downright hard is better to me than ordinary. I volunteered for it and I wanted to make sure she had no guilt left when she left here.

Would you prefer simple and ordinary over hard and different?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself