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Stories of Sisters

Updated on June 30, 2016
PAINTDRIPS profile image

As a Baby-Boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

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The Little Sister

Little sister, younger sis, sissy, sibling, brat, whatever you call her, she is special. She seems to hold a place in my life like no one else can, not even best friends. She skips carefree through soft places of the memory. It seems to be the perpetual curse of the older sibling, like me, to look after the younger sister; a misguided responsibility I even found myself handing down to my own daughters.

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My little sister

I envied my little sister. I remember coming home from an extra long day filled with math tests and history lessons, dates and numbers, kids making fun of my glasses and my name, to find my sister under the shade of a tree having a tea party with her dolls… with real tea. I envied the time she had alone with mom and the happy attitude she always seemed to have.

The Widow Group

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1927

My grandmother is on the right and one of her little sisters is next to her, on the left, plus 2 friends.
My grandmother is on the right and one of her little sisters is next to her, on the left, plus 2 friends. | Source

My grandmother's Sisters

My grandmother was an older sister, though not the oldest in a family of 9 children. She always seemed so responsible and severe but her 4 younger sisters were sweet and playful jokers; so much so that I was not convinced that they were related. She used to tell me stories of her chores: cooking, cleaning, laundry, feeding the sheep and other animals. When I heard that her mother assigned a younger sister to each of the older ones to look after, I was amazed. I guess on the face of it, it makes sense when you have so many children. You don’t want one child having the chore of looking after all the younger ones like my mother did with me. None of them listened to me. As with many large families, my grandmother had to drop out of school at 16 to help at home.

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My mother and her mother in the photo bomb behind her.
My mother and her mother in the photo bomb behind her. | Source

Grandma's stories

She told the story once about baking biscuits with cotton balls in them just so she could see everyone’s faces when they bit into them. She said she once got a pie in the face that was meant for one of the other sisters, but the pie-thrower missed. My great aunts had a gleam in their eyes and sly smiles as they told these stories; still close friends after all those years. They were still very much a part of each other’s lives until the end. Knowing my grandmother hated to be reminded of her age, the youngest of her sisters would get on the microphone at family reunions and anniversary celebrations to announce that she was 15 years younger than my grandmother.

Eventually, they were all widowed and would still get together each week for games of gin rummy and weekly quilting classes. These visits went on for years until one by one the group got smaller and smaller until this last January the last one passed. They are all together playing gin rummy in heaven now.

My mother's mother.
My mother's mother. | Source

Sisters

Do you have a good relationship with your sisters?

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Baby Sister

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My daughters

Just like in the video, my daughters were pretty close in age, just over one year apart. When I brought home the little sister, my oldest wanted to hold her. I sat her down and let her hold the baby for a little while but when I tried to take her back to change her I was met with a fit. The older sister thought I had brought a new kind a baby doll home for her and she wanted to keep it. She would often try to peek into the bassinette and turn it over because she wasn’t quite tall enough. Gratefully, I had just taken the baby out before that happened.

One day while I was cooking, I heard my 2-year-old coming up the hallway saying the baby wanted me. Sure enough, she wanted me all right. Her big sister had managed to pull her out of the bassinette and was dragging her by the neck up the hallway toward me. That was a good scare. I made sure we got rid of the bassinette that very day.

Today those two sisters are pretty close. They live many miles apart but call each other often to check in. Nice.

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My Sister Lynne

My sisters mean a lot to me as well. Sure, we had conflicts and disagreements but it is best to put aside petty arguments for the sake of family. After all friends come and go; they sprout, grow strong, then wither slowly; but sisters are sisters forever.

My little sister, Lynne, was a chubby rascal. Mom put me in charge of getting her into her crib for a nap each day. Unfortunately I was a bit short for my age and the crib was tall. I didn’t know how to work the sliding side of crib and so tried to bench-press my sister over my head into the crib. Sometimes she helped me by grabbing the rail and pulling herself over, but occasionally she was mad at me or didn’t want to nap so she didn’t help at all. On those days I found she was heavier being dead weight and impossible to get into her crib by hoisting her over my head. I complained to Mom that she was “putting ALL her weight on me.” Mom tried logic saying that wasn’t physically possible to weigh more just to frustrate me. I’m sure Lynne was smiling behind my back. It is funny to think what I must have sounded like to my mother that day.

Playing school with neighbor kids.
Playing school with neighbor kids. | Source
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Best Friends

Today Lynne and I are best friends. She calls me every week and wants to know how I am and what’s going on in my life. She prays for me and I pray for her. Somehow I still see her as that tow-headed little girl under the tree having a tea party. I wish I had seized the moment and joined her for tea with her dolls.

Best Friends

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Sisters climbing a tree together.
Sisters climbing a tree together. | Source

Healing and Nurturing

As little as 50 years ago, women would come together for a lot more than they do today. They came together for births and marriages and deaths, yes. But also, they supported each other by cooking together, gathering food together, worshiping together, taking care of children together, sewing together, etc. In my family, the women of at least 3 generations made a habit of coming together weekly to sew on quilts, work on ceramics and, yes, some gossiping too. It was a time not really unlike the Red Tent experience where women shared their feelings, hopes, dreams and fears and were stronger together.

Today women are a lot more isolated and other than some social media hang-outs, they rarely get together for less than births and deaths. It is an age where more and more anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications are necessary. I have a sinking feeling that it is at least partly due to the lack of women gathering for support and encouragement.

While my sister, Lynne and I were a thousand miles apart, she began calling me once a week just keep connected with her sister. I don’t know if I would have kept up the tradition by myself, because I just naturally gravitate toward isolation and private contemplation. However, gratefully, she kept calling even when she moved closer and I am a better person for it. My husband often asks, “What do you two have to talk about that takes 2 hours every week?” The answer is, WE ARE WOMEN and sharing more than our day and our job. We share our lives, our hopes, our dreams for the future of ourselves, our home, our family. She only lives about 60 miles from me now but the opportunities to see each other are still limited to about 3 times a year. I know I am not alone. Most people don’t get together on purpose even when they live just down the street from each other. We are a generation of isolationists. We are missing the healing and nurturing that comes from getting together with each other. It gives purpose and meaning to our lives, it is the connection that we need to survive and live and create in the healthiest ways.

Get together with your sisters soon. Even if these are adopted sisters, best-friend sisters, sister sororities from college or other places in your life, they are vitally important to your life and healing.

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Sisterly Comments Desired

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thank you so much, hari, I appreciate the kudos. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • shprd74 profile image

      Hari Prasad S 

      3 years ago from Bangalore

      loved the hub. 3 generations of memoirs are very nicely presented. kudos.

      - hari

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      lollyj lm,

      Thank you so much. So glad you enjoyed my sister stories. Sorry about your sisters. I really don't know how I would handle the loss of my sisters. Not well, I'm guessing.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      3 years ago from Washington KS

      I LOVE THIS HUB!! Your writing style is exceptional. Both my sisters are dead now but they live on in my memories. Well done.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      FloursishAnyway,

      Do you live anywhere near your sister now? Do you still keep in touch?Thank you so much for visiting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      phoenix2327,

      I thought my sister's and my styles were opposite but every so often she'd take my things anyway... slumming she said! So rude! It's the nature of the beast. You can't have the good of a sister without that bad side too.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 years ago from USA

      I have a younger sister, but she is very different from me. I enjoyed your reflections of your own sister.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 years ago from United Kingdom

      OMG, you just described my oldest daughter. She still barges into her sister's room without knocking. She doesn't borrow her clothes any more though. They are different sizes and their fashion styles are polar opposites.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      phoenix2327,

      I don't know what it would be like to be an only child. No one to barge into your room first thing in the morning, rummage through your closet and borrow your clothes without even asking... hmmm. Must have been kind of nice. Haha. I'm glad you enjoyed my stories. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      lawrence01,

      That is neat. What a blessing that is to have for your daughter. I think the "adopted" families are just as important as the ones we are born into.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      3 years ago from United Kingdom

      I have no stories to share, being an only child. I did enjoy hearing your story though. It's sweet.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      I had an older sister growing up and a younger brother. We used to fight but still love each other.

      My wife boarded with a family in her university days and kind of got 'adopted' especially by their youngest daughter who looked on my wife as an older sister, what's really neat is our daughter (forteen and an only child) now looks on her as an older sister.

      Great little hub

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      lambservant,

      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. I love mine too. I got nostalgic, I think.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Video is adorable. I love my two sisters.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      CorneliaMledenova,

      I'm so sorry you don't have a sister. There's nothing like the bond they have. Enjoy your daughters. I do have a few girl friends who are almost as close as sisters but still my little sister Lynne is my best friend. And it's amazing how smart she is. She knows just what to say to make me calm and see clearly when I'm upset.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • CorneliaMladenova profile image

      Korneliya Yonkova 

      3 years ago from Cork, Ireland

      Beautiful hub, Denise, I myself have no sister but I have two daughters and no matter how the little one teases the big girl, they really love each other. And it is good they talk to each other a lot :)

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Larry Rankin,

      Thank you so much for thinking so. I appreciate your visit and your well wishes.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      AnnArt,

      That is so nice that you talk often. I have a standing time I talk with my youngest sister every week and we pray over each others children and concerns. It doesn't seem right to start a week without her and her precious prayers. I love her so much. Funny I used to think of her as a pest.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Deb Martin,

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your visit.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great concept. Wonderfully executed.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 years ago from SW England

      I watch my three granddaughters and think how lovely it is that they love each other so much. The eldest (14) helps but only because she wants to; she has a special affinity to all children. The next is 4 and the latest is just over a month old. All are wonderful, of course!

      My sister and I get on like a house on fire (strange expression, isn't it?!). We have lots of interests in common and make sure we talk to each other often, though we're a few hundred miles apart.

      Great hub.

      Ann

    • profile image

      DebMartin 

      3 years ago

      Touching.

    working

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