Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vivian - #1 out of 10

August 20 is my oldest sister's birthday. I often wonder how it must have been for her being not only the oldest of ten children, but also being born to a mother who was only 18 years old. Not only that, but times were really tough - it was the "great depression", after all. I have no memory of Vivian living in our house at the same time I did. She was 17 when I was born, so was off to college, then marriage by the time I was three. One of my lingering favorite memories of Vivian as a sister was when I stayed at her house for a few days over the summer. I must have been around ten years old. She had a bunch of kids by then, and she was very, very busy with kids, gardening, chickens, cleaning, cooking, and helping out with other farm work. Winding down from the day was the very best. I watched her put the kids, one at a time, up on the counter and wash them up before bed. No running water at that time, so even that was not an easy job. After all the kids said their prayers and were tucked into bed, Vivian brought out a couple dishes and she and I had watermelon. I remember that I, who was still a kid myself, felt so grown up and special because I got to stay up later, having watermelon, and best of all - a real conversation with an adult. She told me not to eat too much, though, because if I had to go to the bathroom, I'd have to go to the outhouse in the middle of the night. Thanks, sis, for that great memory! All my growing up years, I saw Viv with babies, toddlers, more babies (she had 5), and always lots and lots of work. In later years Viv taught me an important lesson I needed to learn. I spent a good share of my life on airplanes and in airports. It got so "old" that I could fly across the country and never say a word to the person sitting next to me. If there was a fussy baby, I'd turn my head and try to sleep. After spending a weekend with Viv a few years ago, I saw how she struck up a conversation with whoever was around. She would come out of a public restroom and tell us all about the other lady in there and what was going on in her life! Well, I will never be THAT social, but it taught me an important lesson - the people around me are valuable human beings and I need to make a connection much more often. I've done that, and I have been blessed many times over by the people around me that before I would never have noticed.

I don't remember the picture above. It was taken in 1953. But it is my favorite picture of us "sisters". Happy Birthday, Vivian! Thanks for all the good things you've brought into my life. May you have many more healthy years!

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