Today is my sister’s 75th birthday. She never thought she would get there, and it is so weird to think that she is older now than either of our parents.
She is quite a long way ahead of me, and quite a distance away from me, and yet she is the one person on this earth who has known me the longest. She and I are the only ones to share memories of Mum and Dad and the old house we lived in – the beautiful pond under the massive cherry blossom tree in our huge garden, and the waterfight one day our parents fell out (as they often did yelling at each other) – Mum with the hose, and Dad with a water pistol.
Then there was Dad in his shed mending shoes, or cutting the toes off of mine. He called them “peek toes” and they looked awful. Mum would warm her hands over a huge round china teapot. She didn’t have much feeling in her hands. Down on the beach, my sister and I had to wear in those awful knitted bathing suits which stretched and hung down, hiding very little in the sea. We lived very close to a golden sandy beach, Appley at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, by the tiny castle, and we used to spend red hot summers with the visitors.
My sister was so tall and elegant with her long dark hair. She had it cut off when she was 16 or 17 and kept it in a plait in a box. I so envied her her gorgeous hair and figure.
Today the sun is shining for her. Her health isn’t good, and all these memories make me feel sad and happy at the same time.
Here we are together in the 1950s