Today is my sister’s birthday.  My "real" sister, my biological sister, my older sister, my "seestah!"  She was an entirely different type of teenager than I.  She created an underground magazine with her best friend, titled "Sugar."  It was funny, smart and subversive.  There were drawings of soup cans in it and, I think, an homage to "Soylent Green."  She rode a motorcycle.  She dated boys. 

She was cool and played guitar.  She did art – painted and drew.  She was a loving presence in my life. 

She read, or at least looked at, Playgirl Magazine.  (The first naked man I ever saw was a poster on her bedroom wall.) 

When I broke my glasses in a fit of helpless anger, throwing them on the ground after a painful busride home from school, she comforted me.  She told me Mom would understand.  She helped me stop my tears, hiccuping through a laugh at her humor.  She sat with me and put her arm around me as we sat above the river at the old sliding hill. 

She taught me how to sing with the radio in the car and the kitchen, practicing the parts of "Leader of the Pack," over and over and over, ("Is she really going out with him?" "Well there she is, let’s ask her.") and to create and act out holiday scenes in our orange-shag carpteted frontroom. 

She goofed off in the kitchen with me and once took me to the "dangerous" part of town to meet her boyfriend’s family.  I don’t remember his name.  I remember he gave me a great hug and I remember chickens in their yard. 

She took me to Bahai meetings where we drank tea, me for the first time, and listened to George Harrison’s "My Sweet Lord," and "Summer Breeze," by Seals and Crofts.  I met her grown up friends and their little boy, Matthew, after whom her daughter named her own teddybear which she still has almost a quarter century later. 

She snuck me into movies at the drive-in where she worked and I do not remember her ever yelling at her little sister. 

In my freshman year at college she sent me "Easter grass" and a springy-pink bong in the mail.  She talked to me for long hours on the phone when I was homesick and lonely or reading "Gone With the Wind" for the first time. 

She helped me write essays for English 101, 102, and the multitude of English classes to follow and drew funny pictures of me as a "turkey" one Thanksgiving holiday visit. 

And somewhere along the line she became one of my best friends as well as my sister.  This week too she celebrates the 15th anniversary of her Clean Date!  And I celebrate too!  Happy Birthdays, Rosie.

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