I’m looking forward to time with my sisters. It’s been a year since we have been together. This seems like an impossibility when I remember what it was like growing up.

When I was small, before we had the third bedroom built on, I shared a room with my big sister. After the third bedroom was added on, I shared a bedroom with my little sister. I don’t think there was ever an option for me to have my own bedroom. I’m the middle child – a completely unenviable situation.

While we were growing up, we were always together and often in each other’s way. I can remember Pam being the dishwasher and me being the dish dryer. One very pleasant way to torture an older sister is to have control over what is “clean” and what is “dirty.” I could throw the dirty things back into the sink. If we fought, I might (usually) get out of the rest of the dishes.

My sister owes me for her great patience. I was her teacher, making her bite back the fury lest I be excused from the kitchen because the older sister could control whether or not we were fighting.

I’m not sure if Pam decided we should sing while doing the dishes to distract me from the whole clean/dirty issue or something else. But I can remember the two of us singing, often doing songs with rounds, while we were shackled to the kitchen sink. This was probably the best way to punish our mother for forcing us into slave labor. The two of us singing was more akin to a couple cats screeching with perhaps a dog howling in the background. We don’t have great voices.

My younger sister and I shared space which was hard on both of us. I’m horribly upset by clutter. Cheri isn’t. At one point, I put tape down the center of the room to differentiate between her side and mine. She rarely made her bed and had clothes (dirty and clean and even often mine) scattered all over her half of the room. My room then looked like my house now. Covered in dust, but everything put away.

I got a job when I was sixteen and one of the things I got to buy with my own money was my own candy. I purchased some Belgian chocolates one Christmas. They were foil-wrapped bells and came in four colors: gold, silver, red, and green. Being just a bit anal-retentive or perhaps obsessive-compulsive, I lined them up around the edge of a shelf above my bed.

They looked very nice there and I began eating them from the right hand side. They were delicious and wonderfully creamy. Absolutely delightful chocolates and quite expensive for my $1.35/hour job. But worth every penny.

Cheri got into my chocolates. I accused her of this heinous act and in tears she admitted she had. I threatened her with bodily harm and possible dismemberment if she touched them again. She asked how I knew she was into the candy and I told her I just knew. She figured I was counting the chocolates.

Later – much, much later – I finally told her how I knew. Most of the bells were gold. In fact, half of the bells were gold. So, in accordance with OCD or AR, I had them randomly arranged with silver, red, and green, but every other bell was gold. Cheri had snuck one of them from the front of the shelf and respaced the bells to account for the missing piece. I now had either two gold or two colors together. If she had taken two, or taken one from the end, I would never have known. And I knew not to tell my methodology until long after the bells were gone.

One of the best ways to torment a baby sister was to know what scared her and play on that fear.

I was told by one bigger sister who shall remain nameless that there was an alligator under my bed. It would only come out in the dark. I used to have to stand on my bed and lean into the wall to turn off the light. Then I could push off from the wall and return completely to my now safe above ground bed. No alligators would catch me on the ground in the dark.

My younger sister was tormented by someone older who was striving to learn the skill of storytelling which might prove useful in a later era. This meaner slightly older sister knew with certainty that the baby sister was terribly, mortally frightened by the witch in The Wizard of Oz. She was also terrified beyond reason of the flying monkeys, but they are much more difficult to reproduce in the sanctity of a shared bedroom.

So, this mean older sister would hop over to the baby sister’s bed (with the lights on, of course) and stand over and in her best witch voice screech out, “And now, my pretty!” and then cackle like a deranged and possessed demon. This would bring shrieks and howls from the baby, bringing the mother into the room and swatting at the mean old sister. But it was entirely worth it. The real trick was to make sure I was back in my own bed before Mom turned off the light.

I can’t wait to get together with my sisters again.

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