A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.
~ Marion C. Garretty


{continued from A Modern-day Fairytale}

Lily Tomlin as Ernestine"One ringy-dingy…"

She used to sit on the toilet –   lid down – an adoring audience of one.

I was the comedien performing on porcelain stage; the side of the tub was plenty big for me. 

It was the heyday of Variety, a Golden age, one my own children will never know because their world is drowned by "Reality."  Ed Sullivan paved and pioneered with "a really big shew," Marie was a little bit Country and Donny was Rock & Roll, Sonny and Cher had each other (babe), the devil made Geraldine do it and Carol said good-night every week with a tug to the ear.  Johnny was King of Late Night, Rich Little was the Man of a Thousand Voices, Lily stole Laugh-In's show and if you don't know what I'm talking about you must've been born after 1975 or never laid eyes on TV Land.  I'm sorry.

My favorites were Ernestine and Edith Ann but do I dare admit I could do Gomer Pyle and Jimmy Carter?  It was the 60s and 70s and they were what I knew.

My sister was my #1 fan, my only fan, but that was enough.  She paid really well–

Her laughter was gold.

* * * * * * *

Photo-22I suppose since she was born 16 months before me, Lora felt the need to be the boss of me.  Family lore has it she knocked me in the head with an ashtray upon my arrival home from the hospital, making sure I knew she was first born and in charge.  This was the 60s before cigarettes caused cancer and everyone accessorized their home with pretty ashtrays; ours was amber glass.

We were built-in playmates but sometimes that turned ugly, like when she'd pin my wrists to the floor and drip spit in my face.  It sounds much worse than it was; to me it was our ritual, a dance, not mean-spirited and vengeful but rather a recalibration of relationship. 

She cried a few years ago when she apologized for childhood sisterly transgressions.  There was absolutely nothing to forgive as far as I was concerned and I hoped her tears absolved any lingering guilt.

Photo-23Through the years we've lived close and far and we've been close and far.  While we were on our way to becoming who we are, sometimes the roads were separated by mountains and valleys and canyons so wide you couldn't see the other side.  But I think those are behind us and I'm glad.

As sisters, we started out sharing blood and life because we had to, but the beauty of now is we share life because we want to.

My husband loves me deep and real but it's such a different kind of love from a sister's love, isn't it?  I don't think there's anyone on the planet who sees me the way my sister does.  

A sister has an insider's track to knowing you best; whether it be common history or blood, she has an unspoken and likely unacknowledged understanding of what you think and how you feel. 

The relationship I have with my sister is a rare gift and I've grown old enough and wise enough to sense its value.  

And that is why I wanted her to photograph me in the Traveling Red Dress.


Pictures (finally!) and conclusion 

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