Saturday, March 29, 2014

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you are."                               ~ e e cummings

Oldest sisters are put on Earth for one reason, and one reason ONLY ~ to toughen up you younger ones for the vicisitudes of Life! Without an older sister brow-beating you or playing school in the backyard (she being the teacher and YOU being the dunce), you'd never be able to withstand all the things that you, dear reader, have had to endure in "real life." It's not a coincidence that about 85% of all teachers are the first-born in their families, you know! And there are still more females in teaching than males... 

The only real problem I ever had with my little brother Jack is that he, like most all younger brothers, finally started his "growth spurt." That spurt doesn't usually stop until the "little brother" towers over you when you're standing side-by-side. Jack finally ended up at a healthy 6'4"... lots taller than me!

It was more fun when he and I were young... especially when Mom would go to the market or somewhere and leave us home. Jack ALWAYS started it! He'd get this look in his eye and that sly grin... and then he run over and hit me! Then I'd get an angry grin on my face, hit him back, and the chase was on! We both loved those wild chases, especially because we lived in a "split-level" house. The bedrooms and bathroom were at the top of a short staircase of about 8 steps. You'd go down that staircase to reach the living room and the large kitchen/dining room. Then you'd go down a loooong staircase to the "den" next to the washer/dryer room and the door to the garage. 

But don't think of that description as a house-plan... think of it as a race course! It was also a race that would stop the minute we heard Mom's car coming back into the driveway. So our attacks had to be swift and cunning. I've always thought that it was these wild chases that kept me so skinny that my nickname in Junior High was "Boney Maroney," to my chagrin.

That first sneak attack called for bodily harm to be inflicted, at all costs... When it got too intense, there was always my escape route up the 8 steps, a quick right turn into my bedroom, and a swift slam of my door behind me! Jack's escape route was 5 steps further than mine to his bedroom, but he didn't have to make that right turn. It was to his advantage that his room was straight ahead up those steps. 

Oops, the sound of Mom's car... the yelling would stop in the middle of a "HA, HA!" We'd both hustle to the living room, each of us plopping down on different chairs. I, being the oldest, even thought to place a book I was reading nearby, so I could grab it when the race was over and look like I'd been reading the whole time Mom was gone. Of couse, when she'd walk in, she'd notice that we both were gasping, breathless... 

"What were you kids doing while I was gone?"

"Nuthin,' Mom."

"Well, c'mon and help bring the groceries in."

"OK, Mom," answered the two little angels at the same time.

"Terry, how did you get that bruise on your arm?"

"Dunno, Mom."

All this savage fun had to come to an end, though. It was inevitable...

Jack and I were in the middle of an especially wild battle one day while Mom was gone. I'd run into my room, slamming the door, and Jack was right behind me pounding on that door. Of course, I was safe, and Jack knew it. So he would play is infamous "gotcha" game. He'd "walk away," stamping out the first couple of steps, and then faking the rest of his steps so they would be quieter and quieter until it sounded like he was way down in the den. I'd wait, listening intently at my door. When you are young, though, "listening intently" can get awfully boring in about a second-and-a-half.

I slowly opened my bedroom door, only to find he was waiting right beside that door, and he pounced! That slug made me stop for a nano-second, but I hit him back, and then the chase was back on! I sailed past him down the 8 steps, through the kitchen, around to the closed door that would open to the loooong staircase.

I threw the door open, stepped down onto the 2nd step, swung around to slam the door behind me before Jack could reach me, and BANG! I pulled the door closed with all my might, mashing my thumb in the door! Oh, the pain... INTENSE pain... too much pain to even yell...

Jack swung the door open, saw me there, close enough to land a good smack! I still remember the triumph in his eyes. He even seemed to pause, enjoying whatever it was that he was planning to do... 

My thumb hurt so much that I started to feel light-headed...dizzy... ready to faint, even...

"Jack! My thumb! My thumb! I'm going to faint!"

Guess what he did... my brother?

"Terry! Are you OK?"

"Noooooo... Jack, I'm going to faint... Help me down the stairs..."

... and he DID!

My little brother actually put his arm around me, and helped me down that long dark stairwell, and told me to sit down on the couch!  MY LITTLE BROTHER! 

When Mom walked through the door from the garage to the den, she saw me sitting on the couch with my head between my legs, trying desperately not to faint. She saw Jack sitting right beside me saying, "It's OK, Terry. Mom's home now..."

"Mom, Terry smashed her thumb in the door, and it's bleeding..."

I'm pretty sure that we never had even one more of those wild races through the house again. We were friends now, not just brother and sister... friends! 

It was either the fact that Jack had helped me and not thrashed me... or it was the fact that over that summer he started growing so fast that my Mom said, if you watched closely enough, you could actually SEE him grow right before your very eyes!       

P.S.  After I read this over again, it does look awfully violent... but it really wasn't! It seems to me that it was a lot like when you watch young horses playing in a field. One will nip the other one, and then they will both dance away, chasing each other in a sort of playful race. When I talked to my brother about it, he sort of saw it the same way... BUT, he said, HE ALWAYS WON! I'm afraid I don't see it EXACTLY that way, though...  :} 


  1. Ah, brothers and sisters. Your antics sound familiar, except that I had 3 brothers, and I always felt outnumbered!

    1. No fair! Being boys, they probably never let you win! :}