Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Kleine Schwester (little sister)


IMG_2389A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves – a special kind of double.      

Toni Morrison

The photo was  taken in 1972. We were either at the Tower of London, or  at Windsor Castle.  It might have been Scotland or somewhere in between.  She was 14 and I was 18.  We were on a bus tour of England and Scotland with our parents.  I always glowered. She still always has a beautiful smile for pictures.  We tried to stay awake during the bus rides but invariably we both slept until there was another ruin or a castle or a church to see.  We were the youngest by probably twenty plus years.  I still like the picture which tells a story of two girls who shared a room for most of their growing up until I graduated from college and got married. It was no castle and we were hardly princesses.

I always wanted a baby sister and my parents cooperated…the narcissism of thinking something will make it so. It was February 18th, 1958.   I remember going in our 1950-something hunter green 88 Oldmobile, with a velvet rope on the back of the front seat, and driving with my father to pick up my sister and mother from the hospital.  I wore a light blue dress, my best dress, because this was a very important day, and a very important baby.  I liked staring at her in the bassinet and watching her.  I would stand outside the crib as she got bigger and encourage her to stand up. I could barely reach over the railing but would try to get her up by her hands.  Finally, she stood and held on and screamed like bloody murder.  She was so afraid but I was so proud of what she had accomplished.  It was the beginning of being proud of her although I rarely treated her that way as time went by.  We shared a very small room which was about nine feet by ten feet.  It contained two beds, two dressers, bookshelves and maybe a desk.  I wanted the window and she wanted the closet.  I was older by four years, three months and five days.  It was never easy.  We were, however, in cahoots, when it came to being in trouble with the adults.  We were sent to our cell (room) and had to manage to tolerate our differences.  I was a pain because I constantly wanted to rearrange the room so I could have privacy. I insisted, when I got to high school, that my parents get a folding three-panel screen to which I installed a small doorknob and cordoned off the window area so I did not have to deal with her, and her with me.  She had the closet because I couldn’t figure out how to effectively assume all the real estate.  She was a great student and the antithesis of how I learned.  She excelled academically and I actually liked her friends.  It would not have been cool to let her know that at any cost.  We were very different but we knew how to make one another laugh.

It is inconceivable to realize that I truly have known her for her entire life.  I was too young to remember a life before her.  We grew up and managed to both end up living in Massachusetts.  I remember when she called to say that the silver lining for moving from NYC to Massachusetts, was that we would both be in the same state.  That was quite a while ago and I would have to say that as a result,  life went from silver to platinum from my perspective.  She is a good woman who can keep my secrets and know my myriad of flaws but is still kind and such a good listener. We have mothered our children together and grieved losing our parents together.  We both live full lives and when we stop for a moment and share a few hours, I realize that I could still share a room with her. I would even give her the window.  I love you, my kleine Schwestie.  The world is so much better with you in it.  Happy 60th!



Missed Perceptions


The expression “I was waiting at the airport when my ship came it” comes to mind.  The last Monday in July and I had a lot of places to go and subsequently a lot of time to channel my ADD (maybe ADD-H)  and consider all the things I didn’t do and whether opportunity knocked and I was in the basement and whether it really matters or is part of the big, gigantic plan from the universe.

If you take a good look at the railroad crossing, you will notice the gates(not sure if that is the technical term) are going up or going down. I am sure if you are a train person or have a trained eye (sorry), you can assess whether the train was on it’s way past or had already passed by.  Time is up.  The train had passed and I missed it.  I was looking forward to seeing it rolling along and counting the cars.  By the time I got to the point where I had to stop, I realized that I didn’t actually  know if it was coming or going.  Then, please follow this very circuitous train of thought…. (sorry about the puns …I must have taken an extra Vitamin B obnoxious), did it matter in my life, at that moment and would it matter.  I quickly determined that lots of things may present themselves at any given moment,  but we don’t necessarily avail ourselves of them.  When I was in middle school (which in New York City was called a junior high school) we had choices about which high school we might want to go to.  Several of the magnet high schools required an entrance exam.  I was allowed, by my parents, to take the exam for the High School of Music and Art, not to be confused with the High School for the Performing Arts (of “Fame”).  I applied for the Arts program and I was accepted.  It was not in a good neighborhood in Manhattan and bordered Harlem. It was the 1960s.  Someone was murdered in that neighborhood, shortly after I got the acceptance letter, and that dream was dashed.  My parents worried about the commute and rightfully so, I can say in retrospect and yet, maybe my “destiny” might have taken me on another path.  Oddly enough Paul Stanley of “KISS” would have been a classmate had I attended and then more oddly, Bruce Kulick another short term member of “KISS” was a classmate at the high school I ended up attending.  I didn’t really like the band so I guess it is of little consequence.

Ending up in Massachusetts has hardly been the end of anything.  It was the beginning of finding out what has unfolded after 41 years of moving out of “The City”.  It has all the components of a wonderful story with romances, successful and failed, parenthood,  and grandparenthood.  It encompasses learning what my curiosity about people would lead me to professionally.  It showed me how to move, and move again and then again, and how to pack up memories but discard the ones that I don’t need to dwell on.  It showed me how to forge new friendships, and to let go of others that did not endure.  It’s hardly a  “Tale of Two Cities” though it did have the best and worst of times.  It was about understanding being patient when a train goes by, because it wasn’t my train.

The end of the alone part of my day landed me at the beach at three in the afternoon.  I knew that as I arrived, people were packing up to head on their way.  I waited patiently for the stragglers to leave.  I was alone with the beach and a few seagulls.  I used to get angry at my parents for bringing us to the beach on Long Island late in the day, long after the concession stand closed, and long after the crowds had left.  By the time we got there, we missed the action, but the beach was deserted and it was ours as far as the eye could see.  I think they knew the secret of timing for the right reason.  The beach will be there long after we are gone. Nature, the equilizer, that calms even the most ADD of us.