On a warm August evening, Grandpa took me with him to the neighbor’s house. I felt confused because it was my bedtime. After several hours, we returned home. There I saw baby Sharon for the first time. I was excited and wanted to hold her. My great Aunt Maud first let me hold her feet. Self-assured, I knew I could hold all of her safely. We lived with my grandparents who taught and encouraged me.
My third birthday was Aug. 11 and Sharon was born on Aug. 6. My family said we could celebrate our future birthdays together. At my birthday dinner I asked, “Where is Sharon?” I had expected her basket to be in the center of the table but was saddened when she wasn’t there.
We lived in the country where no other children were nearby, so we became best buds as she grew and walked. She depended on me as our parents both worked long hours. We spent most of our time together.
When Sharon was 3, we got another little sister, Sandy, and 2 years later another, Sunny. Sharon and I played house with them. We each had a child — Sandy was mine, Sunny was Sharon’s. Then our dolls were our babies. We helped ourselves to Mom’s safety pins. Then Mom would have to search for them. They could have been a great birthday gift for us.
We did some mischief together, too. One day when Sharon was 3 and I was 6, we painted a little bit of the barn with eggs. Well, it was already being painted and we didn’t know egg would not come off. Another time we drew pictures on Grandma’s stairwell wall. Grandma protected us from our dad’s disapproval. She loved those pictures, refusing to let anyone paint over them.
I began to make up a serial story to tell Sharon. If it was my job to pick the green beans, I’d bribe her to help me with telling the story as we worked. If I stopped to think, she would say, “Tell.” I had read her the book “Baby Island” and the story I told her had that theme.
Our personalities were different. I was more introspective and frequently had my nose in a book. Sharon was very people oriented. She would follow people and ask question after question. I was amazed at all she knew and remembered about our family. She knew that our grandfather had obtained a seed cleaner machine from a government Depression program.
As we grew older, we were needed to help on our small farm. I elected to stay in and prepare dinner and Sharon went out to help with chores and question our parents.
As teens, she depended on me for guidance. When I went away to college she was deeply saddened. Her boyfriend, Louie, helped her. She was nearly a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like and he looked like Tom Cruise. They were sweethearts forever.
We both married and moved apart. We telephoned often and when she visited we stayed up nearly all night talking. After Louie, an Army pilot, was killed in an air crash, she moved to an apartment near me. In spite of our grief, we were happy to be together again. Later, she moved to California and I visited her every summer.
She was injured working as a nurse, leading to four back surgeries. Her last surgery led to her death. I will never get over missing her. After all, she was my baby sister.
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