As we were growing up there were lots of times I wished I didn't have a sister, or any siblings for that matter, but now I have to admit that being without Bonnie Jo would mean having no one to share early childhood memories.
Minturn Lane and Ann, Mark and Evelyn and dressing up their cat, Ping Pong. Making perfume in Evelyn's bathroom. Loretta. Allison. And the Coulson's ( is that how you spell it?) next door. Cuddles and Ruddles. Making potholders. Riding in the Corvair on benches so we could see out the window and not get car sick. The goldfish- Herbie, Cindy and Jinks, and Salt and Pepper and the time Mom and Grandma had to get Herbie out of the tank cause he was wayyyy too big. Going to the circus and the time the clown kissed Mom. Riding in Grandma's yellow mustang convertible, Mary Sunshine, and walking on stilts at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Roller skating and skate keys. Having one tv- black and white- and watching Captain Kangaroo, and then a few years later, Not being Allowed to watch Dark Shadows after school. Getting a color tv and watching the moon walk. Exercising with Mom and Jack Lalanne. Dwarf when she was a puppy. Saddle shoes and watching the Indianapolis 500 parade at night and scuffing up the desk tops at Daddy's office where we sat to watch. Learning to snap our fingers. Bonnie learning to whistle, and me not. Ever. Picking dandelions for fish funerals. Running home for lunch from Evelyn's house to discover Bonnie had taken a bite out of the stick of butter. Harcourt Elementary. Going to doctor appointments with Mom and waiting for the twins to be born. Playing in our beds when we should have been sleeping and falling asleep while listening to albums Daddy played- Finian's Rainbow and Simon and Garfunkel come to mind. Playing in the "boat" next door, and right now I cannot remember their names, but the mom had long black hair and lots of boys- looking back now as a parent, that boat was genius- a crowd of kids all climbed in and and the grass was water and we dared not get out of the boat... and there we stayed for how long? til dinner?.... there were days I would wish for that boat when my kids were little. Playing dolls. The Twins flushing Tracy's dress. Moving to a new house and having to change schools and ride a new bus. Watching The Wizard of Oz and getting scared, and crying every time we watched Lassie -even choking up when we heard the theme song. Those were the days when Charlie Brown specials really were special.
It occurs to me that I have no memory of life before Bonnie Jo, and that having a sister so close in age makes those hazy memories of our Wonder Years more focused and real. And I never would have believed it all those years ago, when I wished desperately to be an only child, but I am happy to be able to wish Bonnie Jo and Very Happy Birthday today.