Thursday, August 25, 2011
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SIS
I am not the most sentimental person in the world, and I always have to laugh when I see "Memorials" on the obituary page where the living address the dead as if they were sitting somewhere in the big yon reading that day's newspaper.
But in August, the month of Ginnie Lou's birthday, I always think of her in a very sentimental way ... not of addressing her in the newspaper but just making sure that in my own way I can make known the fact that I once had a sister and she died too young and that I sure miss talking to her.
This year is the year that I found some old friends - sisters, themselves - who were good friends of Ginnie Lou and me when we were teens. These friends, Audrey and Ruth, spent a year living in our neighborhood while their father's job brought him to Long Beach. Ginnie Lou and Audrey Maynard were very close friends, being the same age. Ruth and I had the same kind of friendship.
When I located Audrey early this year she was saddened to learn that Ginnie Lou had died in 2004. She forwarded to me a whole bunch of snapshots that had been taken of them during that year in Long Beach ... pictures I'd never seen before. And then when I was lucky enough to have lunch with three of the Maynard kids in Bakersfield this summer, Audrey gave me the picture above that Ginnie Lou had given her.
It was a school picture taken in 1951, when my sis was in 8th grade. And in looking at it, I had just forgotten what my sister looked like at that time in her life. That picture reminds me that during that period of time it was fashionable to wear a "collar" at the neck of our sweaters. There was a flap that went around our necks under the sweater, and a button or snap that held it in place. In looking at an old junior high school yearbook, almost every single girl in each class is wearing a sweater and a collar. And each girl had many of them, so we could look different each day.
It also reminds me that the time of hair-rollers had not yet come, and the best we could do to make our hair curly was either to use rags, if we had long hair, or set our hair with bobby-pins if it was short.
The picture also reminds me that she had her braces off before she was in 8th grade. Ginnie Lou had fallen off a bicycle when she was 7 or 8 and had broken off her two front teeth. Temporary caps had been put on them (caps made of celluloid, which yellowed with age.) Because she needed braces on her teeth, the dentist put the braces on over her temporary caps -- and as they aged she became terribly self-conscious about her yellowing front teeth. She began pulling her upper lip down when she smiled so they wouldn't be so obvious. And they were awful looking, but she just had to bear with it until they came off and permanent caps were put on. So here she is with perfectly suitable white front teeth. But to the end of her life she still had a tendency to smile very carefully.
I am so grateful that Audrey passed this picture on to me. It was kind of her to do so, and I decided to pass on some photos I have to people who likewise would enjoy having them.
I do miss Ginnie Lou; we had our difficult times, as most sisters do now and then, but I think of her daily and remember all the good times we had. I know some of you readers remember her too with love and affection, and I'm sure you'll join me in a sentimental "Happy Birthday" to her.