Thinking back

Sibling rivalry

As the 7th child out of 10, there was enough sibling rivalry to please everybody and make my Mom a little crazy.
My favorite escapade involves my next oldest sister, Margie and a wading pool the summer that I was 5yrs old and Margie was almost 7. She was demonstrating how she could ‘dunk’ her head under water. I said that was no big deal. She said she could breathe underwater. I was definitely impressed with that! She said I could do it if I would just try. I did. As I brought my head out of the water, coughing and spluttering, both mad and embarrassed, I could hear Margie laughing at me with utter delight. Of course Mom had to referee the ensuing battle.
I did my fair share of damage. The next  spring just before Easter, Mom brought home a rare thing – a brand spanking new dress from a store. Not a hand-me-down from a kind relative or friend, but a brand new, lovely, lilac dotted-swiss dress for Margie to try on. I can see that dress right now. It was beautiful — and  I was instantly envious. I am embarrassed to admit that I threw that dress in a bucket and burned it! Mom was so shocked that she was paralyzed. After a few minutes she covered her face with her hands, then turned on her heel and walked away. I was shocked, too. Not that I didn’t get a royal spanking instantly, but that there was no joy in having burned Margie’s dress. Was that the beginning of a new, more sensitive and mature self. I’d like to think so, but I doubt it!

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