June 24, 2012

Memory Lane Monday - Four Sisters...

Four Sisters with Mum (1990s)
I'm the eldest of six children. I have two brothers (who I've written about before), but today I'm going to write about my sisters. I have three.
Big Sister (me) - Little Sister (Lyn)
By now, you know that I was born in Great Britain. Mum, my father and I came to the United States before I was two years old. Mum was expecting my little sister, Lyndell, as we traveled. Lyn was born in Wisconsin nineteen months after me in 1956.

We were joined by a little brother three years later. I have always been the "big sister", and growing up I took my responsibility to set a good example and care for my siblings seriously.
Little Sisters. (l-r: Jan, Diana)
In 1965, little sister, Diana came along and then a short fifteen months later, Janwyn joined our family in 1967. Last in line was one more boy born in 1972. He and I are seventeen years apart. I graduated from high school the summer after he was born and soon after moved into my own apartment.

It's fun to hear their memories of me as they were growing up. Jan remembers that I used to pick her up after school and we'd go to the "new" Taco Bell. (I never remembered doing this, but it made an impression on her!) Diana has shared her own memories with me, too, and it never ceases to amaze me what was considered "memorable" in their eyes. When I moved to a nearby city, I'd pick them up to come and stay with me for the weekend, or I'd travel back to where they were to be near them.
1980's. (l-r: Diana, me, Lyn and Jan)
Over the years there have been many, many photos of The Sisters like this. We're wearing different outfits, different hairdos, and sometimes we're in different order, but my albums abound with photos of me with my sisters.
1992 (l-r: Jan, Lyn, me and Diana) Taken at Jan's second marriage reception.
Pictures taken at family reunions, weddings, parties and just about any other time we were in the same room, yard or neighborhood together. We've shared puberty, pregnancy and weight challenges. The pictures have been serious, silly and sophisticated. They've been a chronicle of each of us through life and loss.

My sisters have each been married (at least) once, and two have been married - and divorced - three times. (My first brother and I are the only two who have only been married once and are still happily married to our spouses more than 25 years later.) We stood with each other, albeit tentatively at times, through thick and thin.
Grown up. (l-r: Lyn, me)
Lyn was my first friend. We shared bedrooms, Barbies, boyfriends, babies...and siblings. We shared our lives.
Grown up. (l-r: Jan, Diana)
I'm sure it was the same for Diana and Jan as they grew up with shared lives - simply because of their ages.
2006 (l-r: me, Lyn, Jan and Diana)
This is the last picture of the four of us together. It was taken in 2006, during a party to celebrate one of my nieces graduating from college. We don't seem to be in the same places at the same time anymore. When Diana's daughter graduated from college recently, my other two sisters had other commitments and couldn't attend the ceremony or party. I didn't see them when I was in Wisconsin.

Families, especially sisters, are fragile things. Only when someone knows you as well as a family member (sister) are they able to bring so much happiness or inflict as much pain. A heart held tenderly by a sister is like none other. Likewise, betrayals cut deep and can break a heart.

For many reasons, I now watch their lives from a distance. It's not just distance measured in miles, but also distance measured in moments. I will always celebrate their happiness and love and admire their beautiful children. I don't know that they do the same for me, but that's alright. I've come to understand that our relationships have evolved and become something different. I do know one thing that will never change. These three women will always be my sisters.
The Sisters  
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Look how the same possibilities
unfold in their opposite demeanors,
as though one saw different ages
passing through two identical rooms.

Each thinks that she props up the other,
while resting wearily on her support;
and they can't make use of one another,
for they cause blood to rest on blood,

when as in the former times they softly touch
and try, along the tree-lined walks,
to feel themselves conducted and to lead;
ah, the ways they go are not the same.

Thank you for joining me for another Memory Lane Monday. If you have a story you'd like to share, please write about it on your blog and then come back here to add the link. You have until Friday to link back. Nothing like a little stroll together down Memory Lane.


  1. "Friends are families we make for ourselves." Not sure where that came from but I've thought of it often. You, are a friend.

  2. I so understand your writings. I am number 2 of four children. Only one sister. My sister and I did not have the close relationship with our brothers that we had with each other. Distance of miles and family situations cause the added distance. It does take both parties to mend the fences.

  3. Wow! Interesting you wrote this & my share for today. Every word in your next to the last paragraph is so beautifully spoken.

    I'll join you next month Donna, I just couldn't get myself together this month. Sorry.
    Have a beautiful week, my friend ~
    TTFN ~

  4. I loved your beautiful post. I have one sister and one brother and can relate so well to your post.

  5. Donna, what a lovely post! You have beautiful sisters and you are beautiful! Thanks for sharing a part of your family with us!! Have a wonderful day.

  6. Good morning Donna
    Such a lovely walk down memory lane. So love these pic's of you with your sisters.
    Your all so beautiful and as you know I think your mom is too.
    Hopefully I will be able to post my memories later today.
    Have a creative week.
    Love ya

  7. This post is so lovingly written and you sisters are beautiful. I believe I understand what you are saying...I am the oldest of my mother's four daughters. I also have two older sisters and a brother (we never used the term step or half). "Family Dynamics" is the best way I can "not" explain sisters at this stage of life. Thank you for sharing this very important memory. I will share my MLM later today. Hugs Dear...

  8. Such a beautiful post. I imagine not the easiest one to draft and a few tears may have been shed. I don't have any sisters but do know the unending love and the devistating heartbreak family members can render. I too am the oldest and am dealing with a brother who recently broke his big sister's heart... He is forgiven but the healing is a process. Such is life, as they say.
    Thank you for sharing your memories!
    Have a great day.
    Always, Queenie

  9. A very poignant post Donna. You are right, there is no-one like a sister.

  10. Come join our cause for Zoe, I deeply appreciate this.

    TTFN ~

  11. A wonderful post Deece. I think it's hard beeing the oldest too.


Thank you so much for leaving a comment today. I'm using new settings on my comments so that I might respond to your messages to me. Be sure to come back to see my replies!

Blessings, Donna