Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My Memories With Kathy

Kathy and I are only eighteen months apart, and we were born in a stage of life where our Mom was the busiest in her life! She had inside work to do keeping house and making meals, and she and Dad milked cows and put up hay for them, so Mom worked outdoors as well. We had older siblings who were teenagers so we were parented by Marcella and Sonny too. 

By nature Kathy and I are quite different and sometimes that worked for us and sometimes against us. Kathy was quiet, ambitious, shy, and didn't really like to be snuggled or seem to need that soft touch as much as I did. She was Mom’s baby and by that I mean Mom knew Kathy was the last baby, so she relished every moment with her. I on the other hand was talkative, lazy, loved attention, and pretty sure that Kathy cornered the market on Mom, I cornered the market on Dad. We had a great division sometimes between Mom and Kathy, and Dad and I. I went on horse buying trips with Dad, and Kathy stayed home with Mom. When we danced around the living room, I danced with Dad and she with Mom. If we talked our parents into sleeping in their beds Mom slept with Kathy, and I slept with Dad. My Dad was a warm guy and I enjoyed climbing on him, hugging and snuggling. Mom was colder, with a stereotypical German temperament back then, and all about work. She wasn’t as warm and huggy...she rarely even sat down for that matter, so that seemed to  fit together well for Kathy. I tell this because it put some division between us as kids, on one hand, but on the other hand Kathy and I were best friends on a good day ha.  

Horses were our life. We rode big work horses, tiny ponies, thoroughbreds, and our beloved quarter horses, our favorite. Some of our best memories are getting out of bed in our pajamas, one of us carrying the box of cereal  (oh yeah we shared a love of food too), the other carrying the milk, and each a bowl and spoon. With just a halter and rope, we rode bareback to our paths in the trees and then we let the horses eat grass while we turned around backwards, using their wide butts for a table, and ate our cereal, passing the box back and forth till be were full! We swang in the barn, made mud pies, played Indian maidens in the snow banks, slid down the hills, ice skated on the water hole, played dolls, dressed up the barn cats and pushed them in the buggies, played baby dolls, jacks, jumped rope, made clothes for our wishnic trolls, played Barbie dolls and fought over the record player. 

We had a unique way of manipulating each other, probably like sisters do. Me being the most talkative, would use words to tip the scales for my benefit. She on the other hand used the silent treatment to drive me crazy. After Dad died, I used to be scared to sleep in my room across the hall from her’s. I’d beg Kathy, “can I please sleep with you” and she’d say something like, “ok but if you get on my hair once your out of here”. She had long hair that she strung out straight like Rapenzel, and this was a three quarter size bed so, never fail I’d get on a piece of her hair and she’d send me packing sometime during the night but by then I was in the sleepy mode and being scared was on the back burner! If we fought it was all out war! We scratched up record albums with nail files once just to get even with each other. 

I took advantage of her hard work ethic too, sometimes even making her saddle my horse and bring him up to the house to ride while I watched the forbidden soap operas till she got us ready! One time she even attempted to drag me to the barn with a sled with runners in the middle of the summer, till Mom came home and put the kibosh on that plan! I have to say even though I thought it was ok for me to manipulate her into something.... if somebody else was mean to her or if she had to get off her horse and couldn't get on I’d be the first to get off mine and get her back on. She was my little sister and I spoke for her when she was shy and looked out for her when she needed me, at least that's my story. 

In high school we ran around some together and I was a total tee totaler because i had such bad anxiety and panic attacks after our Dad died. I didn't like the way alcohol made me feel either. If Kathy had any drinks or was going to party I turned into mother hen, which went over like a lead balloon at times. But we had dates together and a lot of fun memories. 

As adults when our kids were small we spent holidays together. Family birthday parties, fourth of July parades and lots of fun things. We also faced a lot of bad things together. Our parents once talked of divorce and we would sit huddled together at the top of the stairs wondering what would become of us being I was Daddy’s favorite child and she was Mom’s favorite? Later our brother Sonny was killed in a car accident which made us feel so helpless for Mom and Phyllis and the girls besides our own grief. We talked on the phone a lot and got though it. Then our Mother started saying some bizarre things…and before long she had Alzheimers and had deteriorated into not being able to take care of herself. Again we faced that the best we could.

My favorite thing about Kathy is when I need her she is always willing to help without me even asking her, she just knows what I need.  When I broke my leg just before Brendon’s high school graduation, Kathy showed up to scrub all my floors, and worked her little tail off. When I moved here to AZ in a hurry,  she helped me have a huge garage sale (and i mean floor to ceiling stuff in the garage). Without her I couldn't have faced it because i was so emotionally mixed up at the time and I can’t organize anyway. She has always been there from as far back can remember and that’s a wonderful feeling.

Even though we live farther apart now, and we are still different people, I hope she knows how much I love my little sister, and she will always be that,  and how incomplete my life would have been without her. She’s still quiet and I still speak for her probably more than I should, without even meaning to,  cuz she manages quite well without me ha. Every year I try to talk her into coming down and staying in my guest room but she's always got “too much to do”, still the hard worker she has always been. One of these days though…

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