She was nine years old when her baby sister was born. Until that day, she had been the baby of the family. So it wasn't unexpected that she would be a little jealous of the newcomer. She tells me that I was like a baby doll to her and our older sister. That when I came into her life she had to quit piano lessons (but that she was secretly glad). My earliest memory of us together was asking for a drink of water (I was too little to reach the hand pump in the farmhouse kitchen, much less make the water come out of it). Mom was too busy to get it for me and asked my sister to do it. She did...and then she poured it down the front of my dress. I cried of course, and I think she got yelled at....or smacked...depending on how loudly I caterwauled. My sister also liked to tickle me until I cried, gasping for mercy from her devilish hands. I think she enjoyed every minute. Paybacks in her mind?
When I was almost seven, I remember there was a lot of crying going on in our house. My sister, our mother, even our dad. Daddy begged her not to marry her boyfriend...that he was no good. But she was "in trouble", and more than likely she wanted to get away from home and work. She got married on her sixteenth birthday, standing in our aunt's house while our uncle said the words over them. I would like to report that it all worked out, but Daddy was right. He was a very good judge of character. In those days, you stuck it out in a bad marriage, and she did for ten long years and with three little kids. Without enough education, it was hard to see a way out.
After our dad died, Mom and I were living in a small house in the small village where we had moved when Dad got sick and they sold the farm to my brother. My sister and her family moved next door to us. I hated it! I had to help with the kids and she was always bossing me around. My favorite sentence was "You're not my mother!" Of course I deserved everything she tried to do to rein me in. I was ten and running all over town on my bicycle, staying at my friends' houses, hardly ever coming home except to eat. Poor Mom! What I did to her she never let on to me. She was worried to death about finances. She didn't drive, didn't have a job and we had very, very little to live on. She took in laundry and ironing to bring in a little extra money. And none of our family was in any position to help out, especially my sister. She was in almost the same boat herself.
Then there were big changes. Mom met a recent widower, married him shortly thereafter, and we moved to the country. In a few more years, my sister finally got enough courage to leave her husband. She eventually remarried; well, more than once.
Her third husband taught her to never "look for love in all the wrong places."
Her fourth and last husband is the "finally" one. Finally, she found someone who treats her with the respect and love and caring that she deserves. And yes, she more than deserves it.
She's a smart business owner and a talented artist. She loves dogs, especially Yorkies. She loves Elvis and saw him twice in concert and still has all his albums. She likes to drive fast (all of us Jenkins siblings do!). She has a green thumb and grows the most beautiful roses. She hates winter and loves living in Florida. She's been rich and she's been poor, but she always treats people the same. She's a straight shooter...you never have to wonder what she's thinking or if she's being honest with you. She's a hard worker and doesn't cut any slack for anyone who isn't. Her loyalty is fierce, but if you lie to her, watch out. She shares our mother's birthday...thirty years apart...mom 22 years gone. She can be tough; but she's also very sentimental and cries at the drop of a hat. She gives the best hugs.
From being my nemesis when I was a little girl (only a few times) and the scourge of my life (my perception) when I was a teenager, she became my best friend, one of my staunchest allies, a shelter when the tragedies of life seemed too big to overcome. I hope she knows that I love her with all my heart.