I happen to be 63 so she is a much older sister. And I remind her of that every chance I get.
Carol is the sister with whom I made mud pies and with whom I shared a room when we were growing up.
She was always petite and small-boned while I was the big, strapping girl. I was taller and heavier as far back as I can remember. As younger sisters often do, I annoyed her greatly. We would get into physical scrapes. My mom told me more than once that I had to be careful with Carol. I was so much bigger than she was and I could really hurt her. Couldn’t my mom see that Carol was like a bantam rooster, fierce, stubborn and relentless? And that she had the upper hand in almost every dispute?
Carol was a late bloomer. She thought something was wrong with her because all of her friends were developing but nothing was happening to her body. I was a tomboy and unaware of any kind of physical development. Before my 7th grade when we went back-to-school shopping, my mom informed me that we were going to get bras for me. I was upset. I told my mom that I wouldn’t wear a bra if Carol didn’t have to. I clearly felt that bra-wearing was a burden that I did not want to be strapped with. On the other hand, Carol was thrilled that finally as a freshman in high school she could conform with her peers. She was probably the only flat-chested girl in her freshman class. When school started my friends were wearing bras so it did not seem as undesirable to me. Carol felt good that she now joined her friends. I am not sure if she knows the role I played.
Carol was the person who taught me how to drive a standard transmission. I was already driving but had learned on an automatic. Teaching me to drive a standard was her excuse to go for Sunday afternoon drives where she could cruise around town checking out boys. I was not the most coordinated driver and frequently stalled the car when starting out. We were at a drive-in restaurant where she saw a car load of boys she wanted to impress. She warned me, “Do not stall the car now!” Of course, I quickly and perfectly killed the engine. She was extremely embarrassed. Oh, well. Somehow I did learn to drive that car, and somehow our relationship remained intact.
She dated more than I did as a teenager. I remember boys coming to pick her up on dates rather regularly. I remember going with her to buy her prom dress. The tradition at the time was to “go steady” with a guy. The couple would exchange class rings. The girl typically wore the guy’s ring on a chain around her neck; the guy typically forced the girl’s ring on to his little finger. Our mom did not approve of “going steady” so Carol tried to hide the guy’s ring from Mom. She was pretty successful until she won a speech contest and had her picture published in the local newspaper. It seems that the only thing my mom saw in the photo was that ring on the chain around Carol’s neck. When mom confronted Carol with the photo as indisputable evidence Carol admitted she was going steady. Mom made her break up with the guy. I remember Carol crying on the bed in our room as if her heart was breaking.
Carol graduated from high school 2 years ahead of me and went away to college. I followed her two years later and attended the same university. She earned her degree and taught school for a few years and then moved on to another career which she retired from just last year.
She got married at the tender age of 23. I was her maid of honor. She and her husband chose to dedicate themselves to their careers and decided not to have children. My own daughter became the benefactor of that decision. Carol and her husband have been very generous towards my daughter with time, attention, love and gifts. They bought my daughter the first computer that our family had and also gave her a new laptop when she graduated from college. Today they all live in Nashville and while I am half way across the country I feel good for my daughter that she has caring family so close.
Carol loaned us our down payment when we bought our first house. I am so grateful for her help. I reciprocated a few years ago when she and her husband traveled in France. Her husband’s pocket was picked in Paris. I was able to wire money to get them through that time.
There is so much more I could say but I am already a day late with my Throwback Thursday post. I will end with a wish that Carol has many more happy birthdays, and that we will continue to share this life for a long, long time.
Celebrating my sister, just another thread of my life.