Page 19 - Delta Living Magazine_october2012

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he was born the same year
as me, went to all the same
schools I did, and lived with me
until she got married. From that
day forward, my sister became
my best friend.
We fought as kids, Rita and
I. We wouldn’t have been
sisters if we didn’t. I’m sure
it’s written about by Dr. Spock,
Freud, or in some well-hidden
archaic parent’s manual – that
normal childhood interactions
among sisters should be filled
with biting words, hair-pulling
cat-fights, and competition in
all areas, not limited to craft
projects, personal appearance,
or music.
The 10 months that separated
our identities might not have
been distant enough (I think
“mom” would’ve agreed on this
one). We looked alike, joked
alike and pretty much
same things. Can we say, “Stop
copying me,” here?
I loved her ideas and she loved
mine. Problem was, we had no
way to patent them before the
other would get their grimy little
fingers on it. Mom would try to
“keep peace” by telling us we
should be flattered by the other’s
common interest. We’d think,
yeah, I’d like to “flatten” her all
By Charleen Earley
I think she flattened me more. But once in junior
high, the score was even. We got to school early and
had breakfast in the cafeteria – pancakes with syrup.
Can you see where this is going?An argument ensued
and before we knew it, the pancakes ended up on
each other’s faces, instead of in our mouths. I don’t
think either of us could tell you what the fight was
over, but I do know we never had breakfast together
at school after that.
Verbal fights, jealousies, competition - were all
just a part of childhood immaturity. Today, it’s just
intellectual disagreements and we’re over it before
one of us could threaten with, “I’m telling mom” –
even though mom passed away five years ago.
We grew up somewhere between then and now.
As young adults (the age when we thought we knew
it all), we butted heads and cut each other down in
many ways. As grown-ups, we compliment each
other. At family gatherings, we brainstorm to put
together THE most amazing parties ever.
They say hindsight is 20/20. In
my case, it’s just hindsight. I look
back and think how I wouldn’t
have traded the “training camp”
of learning exactly how to love,
understand and respect my
older sister, for the world. Now
more than ever, I appreciate her
differences, her beliefs, her life
and yeah, her swag.
Maybe proximity has something
to do with our “we-get-along-
great-now” relationship. When
you live with someone day-in and
day-out (significant others and
children included), you’re bound
to be at each other’s throats from
time to time. Reminds me of that
subway scene in “Ghost” where
Vincent Schiavelli yells, “GET
Since we both work in the same
county (I got here first), we lunch
together as much as possible –
and thank God Jalisco’s doesn’t
serve pancakes for lunch.
(L-R) Charleen, Rita (holding cat) and stepbrother Billy
Goodin, all ages 4
Charleen and Rita today, ages
… yah right!