Friday, April 8, 2011

My Second Mom

My Second Mom
     My older sister Marcy was fourteen when I was born. The sound of her voice, and the comfort that brings, has been around as long as I have. Her birthday is coming up and every year I value her more than the year before.
                       Marcy and I                            

      I don’t remember a lot about her living at home, except where her place at the dinner table was - because it was next to me behind the table by the window.  When I was about to start grade school, she left home to go to Minot State Teachers College, about fifty miles away from the farm.  She came home some weekends, and more than once she invited Kathy and I to take turns staying with her in Minot. She always came up with something really fun, to make our stay special. For me one time, she rented a double bicycle and we rode to the Oak Park Movie theater to see the new Elvis movie, Spinout.  Staying at her sorority house, where she had a room, she let us take a bath with a “full” tub of water!  That never happened  at home, because Mom had to pay to have water hauled into the cistern, so we just got about a fourth of a tub of water for a bath. Marcy has many times laughed about Kathy and I having so much fun in the full tub of water, we started shouting, “we’re drowning , we’re drowning”!  She was pretty embarrassed that we acted like such little country bumpkins to her sigma sigma friends! But she loved her little sisters, the country mice, and always made sure we had a good time in the city!
     Shortly after I turned twelve, Marcy got married two weeks after our Dad died. They had postponed the wedding when he was in the hospital thinking he'd be able to attend if they moved the date. After the wedding,  she moved away to Salt Lake City,  Utah, where Jerry attended the university there. They moved to  Phoenix  after Jerry graduated, making Phoenix her home all these years.  Back in the first years after she moved, we didn’t call on the phone like we do now, so her moving was a sobering and permanent thing.  We wrote letters, and Mom handled her moving matter of factly, although I know she missed her a lot.  

      I remember wanting to date before the age of sixteen, because I started school when I was five. Everyone else in my class was dating already,  because they were all sixteen except Holly Johnson and I. Holly was two days younger than me and she was dating Darrell Swensrud,  so why couldn’t I? I wrote Marcy and ask her to tell Mom to "get with the times" in so many words. Marcy wrote me back a long letter that said also in so many words…”listen to Mom, she has your best interests in mind”.  So I had to wait. Thanks Marcy,... I can say that now.
     It seemed for a while in my later high school days, and her early days of putting all her energy into her career as a teacher and her duties as a wife, that we weren’t as close as we had been. Not for any reason… just not having much in common, or making the time for each other.  Then I got married and she had Heidi and Heather and I had Brendon. All of a sudden the years between us disappeared; we talked on the phone a lot and shared our lives. She had Jenny and Jess, and I had Shelbey and Sydney. We visited back and forth and always tried to make the times special for the kids, so they had fun memories together.
 Me, Heidi and Marcy

                              My family on the left, and Marcy's on the right 


       The first time my kids went to Disneyland we drove from Phoenix with the Waltons. Marcy rented van which turned out to have bullet holes in it from the LA riots! We noticed the holes after we got home with the car they assigned us! That's not a good sign when your taking a van full of kids to the very same city! 

         We slept in a tent trailer camper and camped in the middle of LA… six kids and four adults. We were neatly packaged in that camper like  bun size Oscar Meyers that night... wall to wall!  Finally snoozing in the tent trailer, the floor lined with sleeping kids, guess who gets a stomache ache in the middle of the night? Not just the "one trip stomache ache"…but the "three or four trip kind" we’ve all had.... MARCY!!

      I kept hearing the zipper going down in the tent trailer and she was trying to sneak out…of course I’d never let her venture to a public bathroom at 3am, in a campground, in the middle of the city, so we both went three or four times. She used the restroom and I sat in the next stall and we discussed the next days plans, as we had the whole bathroom to ourselves at that hour!  We went to Knotts Berry Farm, Disneyland , took the kids to the ocean and had a great time, crowded or not! When they came to ND, I’d try to plan fun things for them too, so the kids could make memories together.
All the kids at Disneyland

       When we needed to move Sydney from Minot, Marcy opened her heart and home to Sydney and I, without thinking twice. After a few months,  I moved into the house I live in now. Alone with Sydney, I was scared here. In July the air conditioning broke  and I cold called a young guy from the phone book,  and he came and fixed it. Syd and I left the house shortly after he drove off, SO happy to have the air blowing away and planned to come back to a nice, cool, house after a movie.

       Instead the heater had been blowing the whole time! The air conditioner guy had wired the thermostat wrong! I called him and at eleven o’clock at night making sure he'd come right away in the morning.  Instead,  he said he would come fix his mistake right away and that he’d be getting there at 1am! He was coming from the other end of the city! If you’ve ever been in AZ in the summer with no air conditioning, you’ll understand that YOU HAVE TO HAVE AIR, so I wanted him to come the sooner the better.  As soon as I hung up the phone, I started thinking about what if his mistake was really a set up? What if he came earlier and did it wrong on purpose, to get in later and rape Syd or something? I didn't trust anyone.

      I called Marcy with my concerns knowing Jerry was out of town but I just needed her opinion. How weird did she think it seemed, that he was willing to come way over here? She, being a full fledged  worrywart herself,  came right over with Jerrys' pistol and hid in the laundry room until the guy left. Turned out he was perfectly legit. After laughing about being such chickens, Marcy picked up her pistol in the holster, laying on the washing machine, and sleepily headed home- at two am!
Marcy and I in Branson

       A few months ago, the first day I rode my horse, he was stubborn. I sent Sydney to the barn for a little whip to keep his attention, and after a half hour or so of making him mind with it, and him acting up a little, Marcy came out and yelled, “Don’t overdue it so he bucks you off or something...” . That was just like Mom would do. She would have been watching from the window and being sure I was safe. I tell that story so you see the kind of person Marcy is. She still Mothers me and I'm 55 and shes 69! That has been a comfort to me since Mom died.
Playing fox and goose for old times sake...

            Marcy is so many things to me. My sister, my friend, my parent figure, my confidante, my shoulder to cry on,  and someone to celebrate with.  We are very different in many ways. I tell it like it is, she smooths everything over. Marcy actually likes chaos and I hate it. She has perfect handwriting, spelling and diction and in contrast, my hand writing reflects my mood, I can’t spell without spell check, and I talk like a hillbilly! She is serious and I see the lighter side. I love loud blaring music when I drive and clean and she likes silence. Marcy cares what people think and I’m like whatever, like me... or leave.
     We are the same in as many ways, as we are different. Being a Mom is where it’s at for both of us. When we go out for a meal, the waitress comes to the table, and we order the exact same thing nine times out of ten. We would both do anything for anybody if we wanted to, but don’t like to be expected to do anything. Sisters are funny like that,... so different and yet so similar.
In Las Vegas at Tom Jones

           Happy Birthday beloved sister…every child should have the blessings of a sister, a lifetime friend, like mine. She makes my problems her problems, and shares my highest highs and lowest lows. Thank you Marcy, for all you have done for me over the years. I love you and hope you have a wonderful birthday. She and I are celebrating her birthday by going to Marcella’s Ristorante in Scottsdale this weekend, and seeing Sooner or Later at the Hale Theatre.
Last year on my birthday

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