On the 28th of this month it will be ten months since my sister Christine died.
Some days it seems like forever since I last saw her and talked to her.
Christine is still the first person that I think of to call when I want to share a story with or some news with or just have a chat with and then I remember, I can not call her and a sadness comes over me. She had always been in my life, all of my life and now she’s not there anymore and I miss her so much.
Growing up I never knew how much I would come to appreciate having my sisters and brothers. I’m not really sure how all the rest of my siblings feel about this but I know that when I was a kid, like many other kids with siblings, I sometimes felt like they were bothersome. At times they could really aggravate me and we got into plenty of disagreements and fights and not just with words either.
At times some of us could get downright brutal when we really wanted something. All of us had tempers and could explode given the right amount of provocation. A few times it got pretty scarey and Ma had to interfere and save the kid that was being attacked. As a matter of fact, I could probably even describe our sometimes, unruly ways by saying we could be “little animals” if push came to shove, (literally) if you get my drift.
Mine and Christine’s relationship wasn’t any better or worse than our relationships with any of our other brothers and sisters. Our relationship only improved and grew to be a friendship as we grew up and got older.
For the longest time, she was more annoyed with me always wanting to tag along with her where ever she went when she wanted to be doing something all by herself and with her own friends. The only time she really didn’t mind me being along was when she didn’t have anything better going on with someone else or when she needed someone to go along with whatever scheme she had on her mind. It was times like that that she would even actually invite me to go along with her.
Perfect example of a time that she invited me along with her was the day she asked me out of the blue, “did I want to go for a walk with her?” We must have been about 11 and 12 years old at the time and I asked her “where to?” and she never really gave me a specific answer but asked, “did I want to go or not?” Of course I said yes and we started to walk.
When I think about it now, if my kids had just taken off like that and not told me where they were going, I would have gone apeshit for sure.
However, back then times really were different. Or maybe it was just the people who were different. In most cases, children really were much safer and most people we met were not predators looking to maim, abuse or kill us. Adults really did care and looked out for kids that seemed to be getting into a bit of trouble.
So Christine and I walked and walked and walked and walked, up one street, down another and along the way we poked into people’s trash cans that we happened along and pulled things out that we might be able to use at a later day or time and things that interested us.
I kept asking her where we were going and she finally said she was going to visit Aunt Cecile and that’s when I started to get nervous because Aunt Cecile lived clear across the city and I doubt that Christine ever told my mother that.
I have to say that we did finally make it to Aunt Cecile’s house but the visit was short. We no sooner got there and she told us that we better get going back home, so we left.
On the way home, Christine decided all of a sudden to stop in at the First National grocery store. I remember I kept asking her what we were getting there and did she have any money but she wouldn’t answer me except to keep telling me to shut up!
I started to get a really bad feeling about our little adventure and I told Christine I just wanted to go back home, now, but she kept walking up and down the aisles until she came to the candy. I thought, “Oh no” and I said to her, “you better not take that or I’m gonna tell Ma” , and again she just told me to shut up. As we approached the exit door she told me to just keep walking and keep quiet so I did what I was told.
Next thing we knew, there was a man standing at the door waiting for us. Ugh. I was mortified. He asked Christine if she had something in her bag and eventually Christine said “yes” and he told us to come with him. At this point I was scared to death. I didn’t have a clue what was going to happen to us next. But not only was I scared, I was really pissed too that she had gotten me into a mess like this.
Unfortunately for us, getting stopped at the door and brought back to the office by the store detective was not the worst thing to happen to us that day on our little walk. The worst wasn’t even after the detective called Ma and she had to call Grandpa to come and get us at the store because my father was working and couldn’t be reached out on the road.
What turned out to be the worst part of that whole day was waiting for my father to get home from work to find out what kind of punishment he was going to bestow upon us once he found out what we had done and of course, he was going to find out because, of course, Ma was going to tell him, the same way she always told him everything wrong that we ever did on her watch.
I once asked her why she had to tell Dad everything we did and she told me that he was our father and just because he couldn’t be there all the time was no reason for him to not know what we were doing and “besides”, she said, “if he found out later and I didn’t tell him, he’d be mad at me.” So there you are, bottom line, self preservation.
Waiting that day for my Dad to get home was pure torture. I can remember my stomach feeling like it was in knots and like I was going to be sick but for the life of me, I can not even remember now what the actual punishment was. That’s how important it was compared to the actual event that caused me to feel that way. That “lesson in life” was an important lesson for both of us and we never did anything like that again.
That day I do not know if Ma worried about where we were or not because I don’t remember her saying so after we got back home but then again, by the time we got back home she was probably so pissed about the way our walk ended up that she may have forgotten about if she was worried or not.
Thank you for reading.