Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Big Sister

I realized awhile back that I've rarely ever mentioned my sister in "Detach". In fact, when I did a search of my blog, most times I used the term "my sister", I was referring to my sister-in-law, Kitty. The only thing I could find that was actually about my real sister were the entries about my mother's death.

But I do have a sister. I'll call her Goldie. Goldie is almost 12 years older than me, so by the time I was born, she was almost like a nanny or a second mother to me. When I was very young, and we both lived in the same house, she used to walk me up to the drug store or to the library. Goldie got married young. She was 17. I was 5. So it's really more like I grew up an only child.

Goldie had a baby, my niece, at 18. This was 1970, and the height of the Vietnam war. Goldie's husband was in Vietnam when my niece was born, so she and the baby came home to live with us for awhile, until he returned.

Once her husband returned safely from the war, Goldie and the baby moved out. I became an only child again.

But Goldie wanted desperately to maintain a relationship with me. After all, she had prayed every night that Mom & Dad would have a baby. In the summers, I would often go to Goldie's house and spend a few days, maybe even a week. She spoiled me. Since my parents were older when I was born, being with Goldie and her husband was exciting and very different for me. They had a cool car, they listened to loud rock music, they took me to the drive-in to see movies my parents would never have gone to see. I remember once going to see "Planet of the Apes". And there's no way we would have ever exited any type of store without Goldie buying something for me. Candy, a little toy, but usually a .45 record of my choice.

Goldie is the person who made me fall in love with rock-n-roll. She had quite a collection of albums, including Beatles, Monkees, and Herman's Hermits. But it was the Beatles albums that captivated me. Before leaving third grade, I knew every single word to the entire Sgt. Pepper's album. While other kids were listening to kid's music, my mind was being exposed to "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds".

Goldie and I have been through a lot together. Besides the loss of our mother, we've both carried each other through one failed marriage, and various other struggles with the men in our lives. We shared the same challenges with our parents; our Dad often being very hard to please. She gave me a niece, who has always been a special part of my life. And now she has two little ones of her own, who have brought new life to our family.

So why do I not ever write about this person who was so influential in my life? I've been sitting here pondering that. While Goldie and I talk on the phone once every week or two, we lead very different lives now. Goldie lives in the country, about an hour and a half drive from my house in the city. She has had numerous illnesses and injuries, which have disabled her. She rarely leaves the house now, except to be driven to the city to visit various doctors. Because of her illnesses and various surgeries, she's missed some Thanksgivings, and for the first time ever, she missed this past Christmas. When we talk on the phone, I hear of all her pain and suffering and it breaks my heart. I remember Goldie being active. I remember her being an entrepreneur, having two businesses of her own. I remember her being strong willed and independent. All those things are now taken away, and I miss them very, very much. I miss my sister very, very much.

But I know that my sister will always be there for me. At least as much as she is able to be. She's the first person I call when there is a crisis. She is my blood. When I think of Goldie, I try to remember those better times. Not the way things are now. I pray that she will get healthy, and be able to drive again, and one day maybe even move back to the city. But wherever she is, and whatever condition she is in, she will always be my big Sissy, and I love her very much.

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