silhouette of bridge and sunset

When I read someone else’s memoirs of their sister, I run a mental commentary alongside their words. If this weren’t a library book, if it was my own paperback copy, perhaps I would scribble my reactions in the margins.

Describing the author and her sister’s matching outfits in 1960s style, and recalling the fact that strangers would oftentimes ask whether the two girls were twins — I chuckle, remembering the many times that we mirrored each other’s garb. My sister would, no doubt, have sniffed with disgust if someone had failed to realize that she was older and much wiser than myself.

I ran into one of our grade-school friends a few years ago, and she commented that (at least from her perspective) I wasn’t an insufferable bratty little sister. That was encouraging to hear. Possibly because I was so massively shy and introverted (and a bit odd), I didn’t make my own friends easily. So if my sister and her schoolmates (who were two grades above me) tolerated my presence, I was more likely to just go along with their games, rather than trying to hang out with kids my own age.

The memoirist was explaining that when their family lived in DC and drove across some of the bridges there in their 1960s Plymouth, her sister developed a fear of bridges. So, as they were house-hunting in Florida to relocate there for their father’s job, her sister was crouching on the floor of the Plymouth’s back seat to hide her view of the necessary bridge-crossing. The author kicked her sister and declared that she was missing out on dolphin-watching.

My mental commentary: although my sister & I surely kicked (or punched, or otherwise clobbered each other) on a regular basis, our roles would most definitely be reversed here. I would indeed be likely to crouch on the floor in dread of some perceived danger, but when we were kids, my sister was never afraid of anything.

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