Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘sisters’

SUZY Q Introduction

Two months after my fifth birthday my mother came home from somewhere. I don’t remember her being gone but I do remember her placing the baby in my arms. Somehow in my mind, that baby was a gift for me and she was mine. We were living in a tiny flat above Leo’s market across the street from my father’s family while he was doing a tour of duty in Korea. My sister was already several months old before he ever met her.

Kindergarten school photo.

Our mother had been very ill during her pregnancy. I tried to take care of mom when she was too ill to do the dishes or pick up a bit. A lot of her illness may have been about missing our dad or a lot of homesickness. We left Germany before my sister was born and my father’s family was not particularly pleased that we were part of his life. The rest of her illness was because there was apparently an RH factor involved and my sister needed complete blood transfusions after she was born.

Waiting for delivery

There was also not much in the line of groceries in our house or even in my grandparents’ house for that matter. Times were tough and tight with lots of tension all around but that baby made everything feel better. Of course living above Leo’s market helped a lot. I would smile and be rewarded with a treat or carry up something we needed.

In my best apron taking care of mom

This new baby was mine to care for and love. I learned to feed her and watch her when mom put her out on the porch in her pram for fresh air. Mom said babies needed fresh air no matter the temperature outside. She would be bundled up with only her fingers and face sticking out. I would come home from Kindergarten every day to take care of my baby. My baby sister was my first child.  As she grew up, I made it my responsibility to  keep her safe, entertained and hopefully out of the trouble her curious mind always seemed to find.

Pleased as punch with my baby.

That day began a journey that spanned more than 60 years. We are and have always been each other’s friend and adversary on occasion. No one realized what an adventure her life would take us.

Let the story unfold.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Where to start

It would seem an easy decision. It is not. This month has been so busy that I didn’t know how much to tell you about or where to start. I guess I’ll start with a day trip my sister and I took.

I’ve lived in my house for three years  and my apartment for two after visiting Portland many times over the previous 20 years. My sister has been my  tour guide, knowing this area like few natives do. Driving for Tri-Met (Portland’s city bus co.) for 15 years gave her an advantage not many have. Her passengers were always treated to a dialog of great information about the city if they were from out-of-town.

Beautiful wood carving

Her daughter has been accepted into the honors program at the University of Denver in the fall and sis is going to help get her settled. Yes, sis came to parenthood very late in life in a nontraditional manner but the deep love and caring are just as intense.

my sister at the mt

Little sister in front of Mt Hood

As a precursor to the upcoming trip to the mile high city, sis thought it would be wise to observe how well she could handle the altitude. Given her geriatric age (I’m sorry little sister, I just had to) and the fact she has pulmonary fibrosis, I agreed. So off we went to somewhere she had never taken me to see. The infamous Mt. Hood. It is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc of northern Oregon according to Wikipedia.

getting close

Almost there. Nice highway to it.


I see it clearly every time I drive down the main street to my neighborhood. It’s quite impressive all covered in snow. But I couldn’t photograph it well while driving.

Only an hour from my home, the ride was not difficult. Sis does all the driving since I can’t go that distance anymore. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was lovely. I must say though, when we got there, I was not quite as impressed. Being on the mountain is very different from looking at it from a distance.

not so impressive

High desert is just like where I lived in Arizona. Not so impressive close up.

Timberline Lodge was built by the WPA in 1936 to 1938 and it’s beautiful. We had a rather expensive buffet lunch where I ate my money’s worth making it my only meal of the day. By the time we were done with lunch and started walking back to the truck, the 6000 foot elevation began to signal her it was time to drop down a few feet quickly.

Dining room for the buffet lunch. Good food and great view

I knew I could drive if necessary for a short distance though it turned out not to be required of me. Sis has checked in with her medical team to decide what can be done to make elevation a bit easier to do. There is no question she will make the trip to Denver. It was quite an eye opener for us. I lived at 7200 feet before moving here and neither of us had a problem at that time. Lungs are a delicate thing.

I have been busy enough that more will follow shortly. Have you had any experiences you have waited a long time to enjoy?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of My Sister

I’ve come out of my cave this week. This may be the last of the hibernation. With the assistance of some wise words by a fellow blogger, I began to understand the reason for the retreat. When a blogger said she didn’t own a self-help book, I had to take a look at why I needed so many.

The last three years have brought many changes. Not all of the changes were pleasant, all were necessary. Through it all, I’ve had my sister to support me, along with my wonderful adult children. Sis has gone through so much more hardship than I can even imagine and we are both somewhat lacking an essential ingredient to make life as successful as it could be.

Lonely seagull waiting, watching

Lonely seagull waiting, watching

Self-esteem, not inflated ego, is absolutely necessary to healthy relationships. Unfortunately, you can’t get that from a self-help book. Three years ago, she came to my rescue with a big yellow truck and drove it 1800 miles while my daughter helped me pack and drove my car. This weekend, it was my turn to rescue her.

Sweet Downtown
 Port Townnsend, WA.

Sweet Downtown
Port Townnsend, WA.

She was left stranded with no vehicle and no phone four hours away in a lovely little town. Fortunately, she had her laptop and e-mailed me. We had to wait until Friday afternoon when my daughter got off work and could drive while I navigated the unfamiliar roads. Somehow, my daughter and son have healthier self-esteem and I’m grateful for them both.

Would have been nice to be stranded here but not in our budgets

Would have been nice to be stranded here but not in our budgets

The reason my sister was so far away was so she would be cut off from any support system. When a person you are in a relationship with starts to separate you from those that care about you, warning bells often go off. Many of us chose to ignore the bells. I’ve actually had the hair stand up on the back of my neck to warn me that I was approaching a bad situation. That, I listened to, thankfully.

That was the other reason I had retired to my cave. I felt helpless to do anything and devastated at the possible loss of someone else I loved. All I could do was sleep, eat and pray. Someone must have heard the prayers because the spell has been broken. I was going to leave her there if it had not been. It’s interesting the things we as humans will do to be loved by another. Intelligence has very little to do with it. Human behavior is something that I am absolutely fascinated by.

Ships reminder at the dock

Ships reminder at the dock

Now I feel like I can work again. I’ve been slugging away at a project that just wouldn’t come together until now. Hopefully, by evening it will be in the finishing stages. Pictures will follow if success is achieved.

Know your comments are always appreciated and taken to heart. I may be an old woman but I still have so many lessons to learn in this lifetime. This one taught us both so much. I am grateful to have found that sister I love so much once again.

I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. ~ Agatha Christie

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself