The RemembeRed memoir assignment this week, from Write on Edge, is to write about a memory of ourselves WITH someone else. Word limit, 600 or less. A way to start: His/her name was ______________________ and looking back now, I realize….
I had two sisters when I was growing up. The first, Karen, was born when I was seven and a half. The other I acquired on my first day of ninth grade when I was thirteen . Linda was a new face at school, and when I discovered she had moved to our little Connecticut town from Ohio, I chased after her after class. Breathless, I caught up to her on the stairs and blurted out, “I visit my grandparents in Ohio every summer. I love to eat at Frisch’s Big Boy.” The first of many scintillating conversations. That’s all it took for us to make a connection and become best friends.
All through high school we practically lived at each other’s houses. We threw parties nearly once a month, homemade pizza parties at her house, sloppy joes parties at mine. One time we gave each of our invited guests a puzzle piece which they had to match with another guest to see whom they were paired with for that night. Of course, it was just a ploy so we could get the boys we wanted.
We learned to sew dirndl skirts with one yard of fabric gathered onto an elastic waist (skirts were very short in those days) and had closets full of polished cotton dirndl skirts. When I complained of my frizzy red Orphan-Annie hair, Linda was there to iron it straight for me. We shared our deepest longings and fears and insecurities, our hopes and dreams, our joys and sorrows. We grew from children into women.
A year after we both graduated from the University of Connecticut, we took one last trip together as single women. Linda was to marry in a few weeks and I was to follow six months later. We knew our friendship would remain strong, but we were moving into a new phase of our lives. Things would inevitably be different.
We went to Cape Cod and stayed in a motel in West Yarmouth. We rented bikes and rode around Hyannis Port. We ate lobster until we thought we’d burst. I have several pictures of that trip, all on slides so I can’t hold them in my hand. But I don’t need them to remember that time, for it is indelibly written in my heart. It was a good way to say good-bye to a part of our lives we had cherished.
But the story doesn’t end here. When my sister, Karen, died, Linda was the first person I called. Her words to me still ring in my ears. “Oh, Susan, I am so sorry. I’m coming.”
Recently I told Linda we were planning on renting a cottage on Cape Cod next summer so we can have all our children and grandchildren together. Linda e-mailed back, “We want to crash your party on the Cape!!!! Can we be a part of the family? We’re like sisters, aren’t we?” No, Linda, we’re not like sisters. We are sisters.