Brothers and Sisters (part 1 of 6)

Posted: January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
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By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty.

I am the youngest in my family; I have four older sisters and two older brothers. Not enough is said about the remarkable love and friendship siblings share.lunt

Perhaps this is why I admire Jane Austen. She was a devoted sister, and her characters often display a profound attachment to their favorite siblings. Siblings are our first playmates, teachers, and tormentors. It is one of the great joys of my life that I can still spend the holidays with all six of my exceptional, magnificent siblings. We are all unique, but our shared history created a profound connection that surpasses any differences. Perhaps what I love most of all is the fact that we still love each other so well.

How can I enumerate all of the wonderful attributes my siblings possess? Naturally, the list could never be complete; our relationships constantly change and evolve with time.  The ways I interacted with my siblings (all older) in my youth were primarily dictated by who had time to spend with me. When I was quite young, my older sisters Betsy and Barbara were my affectionate caretakers. My brother Ralph drove me to the places too far away to walk (choir practice every Monday night for years—years!).  My brother Bobby taught me how to ride a bike in the church parking lot up the road. Margo and Theresa seemed perpetually busy with either sports or boyfriends, but I recall a tremendous amount of sharing, borrowing, and out-right stealing of belongings now lost to a refuse pile.

Many of the memories I cherish embody the lovable quirks of each sibling. My eldest sister, Betsy, was burdened in many ways by her role as the oldest of seven children; she was expected to be responsible, in charge. However, she can be wildly spontaneous. A favorite memory is the day Betsy, Theresa, and I “played hooky.”  I was in middle school. Theresa was in high school. Betsy was already out of college, a working woman.

Surprisingly, she decided we all needed a day off from our obligations (the paper-thin excuse was that all the towels were dirty). Skipping school was an enormously rebellious act in my family—the total number of school days I missed from kindergarten through graduate school is less than 20. But, on this strange and extraordinary day, Betsy wanted to rebel, so we did. We took her small car, the “little red Chevette,” which she drove uncommonly fast.  We cranked the radio and sang along. We were aimless; we drove to the park, to the lake. We bought every treat imaginable at a convenient store and sat and ate and talked. The day seemed to stretch out endlessly. We did literally whatever we wanted. It was a day of impossible freedom summoned magically into existence by my “responsible” older sister Betsy. I’ll never forget it.

To be continued. . .next up: Ralph’s sensitive nature and dreadful singing.


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