Sunday, November 2, 2008

Four sisters...

When I was born, my three sisters were 18, 15 and 11 years old. My parents were forty-one at the time. No doubt, I was their last hope for a son, but it was not to be. There would always be the four sisters. Even with the age difference, we have always been close.

My sister Gerry (left) married at the age of 18 when I was only two years old. At that time, her husband, Sonny, worked for the railroad in Mississippi. He tells the story that every Friday afternoon, Gerry had their suitcases packed and ready for the train trip to Memphis "to go see her baby sister".

Valedictorian of her class and president of the statewide Mississippi 4-H, Gerry married and finished her senior year of high school in Mississippi after my parents sold the farm and moved to Memphis. She won a trip to Chicago through the 4-H and also a beautiful gold Elgin watch. Sonny had just given her a watch as a gift, and so she set the Elgin watch she had won aside for me...saving it as a gift for my 12th birthday. It's engraved on the back with her name and the date she won it, and I will always treasure it.

After my oldest sister Dorothy (Dot) (below left) lost her husband in a tragic ship explosion, she and my 4 month old niece Sharon made their home with us. With that little head of very dark hair and big beautiful blue eyes, Sharon was my baby sister.

Family was always so important to my sister Dot. Maybe it was the fact she was the oldest...maybe it was enduring tragedy at such a young age. Whatever the reason, she was the family historian...the family preserver. She was the eternal optimist...seeking out the hope in any situation. She remembered birthdays and anniversaries and celebrated each special event.

Dot did not remarry until Sharon was in high school, when she married Tom. Each year they would host Mama's 4th of July birthday party. It was my sister Dot's dream to compile our family history into a book. She and I had been working on completing the research for that book, when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She died before we were able to complete it. I want to finish that family history for my sister. We all still miss her terribly.

When I was born, my sister Eunice was eleven years old...the beautiful young girl in the photo at right. She is quiet, soft-spoken and truly a gentle soul. I remember when we were living on Mamie Road, Eunice had a part-time job after school at a drug store which had a soda fountain. She used part of her earnings to buy me the cutest grey wool pleated skirt, yellow sweater and loafers.

Eunice has a quick smile and a ready laugh. Even though she worked as a secretary after graduation from high school, she loves creating a home. She enjoys decorating and excels at it...and like my other two sisters, she is a wonderful Southern cook. When we were living on Victor Drive she married Eddie. They lived in Memphis for a while before they bought a home in Mississippi.

My sisters and I have always had so much fun when we get together. There is always a lot of laughter...sharing...more laughter...eating...and more laughter still. From the time I was about thirteen, during every family get-together, we would have what we called the "sisters' lineup", the four of us girls.

Looking back at them now, through all the years...those photos are priceless.

Scan of a polaroid snapshot. Summer of 1962, left to right: Dot (34), Gerry (31), Eunice (27), Dianne (16)