Sisters Only A Heartbeat Apart

“What’s wrong? I whispered as my middle sister coaxed my little sister out from under the bed.“Grandpa yelled at her cause she didn’t finish her milk at dinner,” Sue, explained.

“Oh, Kar, he yelled at me too,” I said as I stuck my head under the bed. “C’mon, I got a great idea. We’ll dance in the living room.”

Together in our matching pink nighties we pranced in front the our reflection in the picture window to the beat of the Pink Panther until Karen’s tears turned to giggles.

From the time we were little children, our heartiest laughs and greatest tears were shared as sisters; three girls just four years apart.

I, being eldest set the example.  I taught them how to slide veggies off the dinner plate and onto the floor for the family dog and to sneak out of at bed night to watch The Honeymooners from behind the divider in the dining room.  I kept them in line by pretending to hit their face, then socking their stomach.

3 sisters

3 sisters

We shared childhood memories of vacations when we sat facing backwards in our nine seater wagon and smoked candy cigarettes, waved at truck drivers from behind plastic sun glasses and pretended to be ladies. When we tired of comic books and games, we argued, until Dad threatened.  “Quit squabbling or I’ll stop the car and you can walk home!”

In instant solidarity against the enemy, the almighty grown up, we held hands in silence for the remainder of the ride.

Together we survived the early adolescence “uglies”.  Our finest feature striking blue eyes, hidden behind thick brown cat eye framed glasses.  Sue developed too much up front, I, too little, and Karen, The Babe, Miss-Perfect-In-Between was just right. Our personalities were as different as our body types.  I, an aggressive brunette tomboy, thought kitchen was a four-letter word. Sue, an easy-going blonde homebody loved to bake and clean. Karen, a chestnut haired social butterfly, enjoyed the outdoors and domestics.

“Get off the phone blabber mouth,” I yelled at Karen.  “It’s my turn to have the car,” Sue yelled at me.  In high school we were selfish about the use of the phone and car, but generous with our clothes and friends.

We went to the same college, Illinois State, and majored in helping professions.  One summer, we even fought for the same beau.  Sue caught in the middle, shouted, “Never thought I’d see the day a guy tore you apart!”  When he dropped me for my baby sister, I thought the hurt would never heal.  Later when he tired of her, I helped her put back the pieces.  Now, we laugh about the jerk, who tried to come between us.

In high school and college, Karen and I played on the same basketball team.  Sue never missed a game.  When a car accident ended my career in France, the sound of their voices over the phone helped me heal faster than the ministrations of a hospital full of foreign doctors.

We were always together for the important moments.  When I got married in Normandy, Karen flew over and Sue helped pay for her ticket. When Kar married a year later, Sue was her maid of honor.  When Sue wed, I was the best gal.

Now every summer, we set aside a week to return to our family cabin in Wisconsin where we roast hot dogs over a crackling fire, float on inner tubes on a silver-blue lake, and take long walks in the woods. We still dance in the living room, now we call it aerobics.

For in between times, we write long letters and make short calls, “ I can’t afford this, but I wanted to hear your voice.”

We developed a sixth sense sisters’ share.  After my miscarriages, my sisters mourned, too.  The night my daughter was born in Paris, Sue dreamed,” it’s a girl!” in Chicago.

As children we shared a room, held hands before falling asleep and vowed we’d live in a triplex, so we could always be together.  As adults, we ended up living thousands of miles apart in different states and countries.  Yet, as sisters, we remain only a heartbeat away.

Posted in humor, inspiration, relationships, social view.

15 Comments

  1. Oh, Pat…what a beautiful tribute to family! A great way to start my day!

  2. Pat,
    Since my husband, Grant and I have the honor of being friends with the McKinzie family, this blog is especially meaningful! It was wonderful to read about your relationship with your sisters, and see how you are able to maintain that closeness and sense of loyalty even though you live miles apart.
    We kind of think of the McKinzie family as “our family”, but I think the McKinzie family has a way of making everyone feel like they are “part of the family” It’s one of the things that makes them “special”.
    Keep writing, Pat.

  3. Pat,
    Since my husband, Grant and I have the honor of being friends with the McKinzie family, this blog is especially meaningful! It was wonderful to read about your relationship with your sisters, and see how you are able to maintain that closeness and sense of loyalty even though you live miles apart.
    We kind of think of the McKinzie family as “our family”, but I think the McKinzie family has a way of making everyone feel like they are “part of the family” It’s one of the things that makes them “special”.
    Keep writing, Pat.

  4. Oh Pat, as always your lovely stories about sisterhood makes me yearn once more for that sister I asked Santa Claus to please bring me one year only to be told he “was all out of them.” What a blessing to have such a strong bond between the three of you – one which I have had the privilege to witness and be a part of. Enjoy the rest of your summer together. Wish I could be there.

  5. Amen, sista! My sister and I are so the same! And as I´ve needed her so much lately, this really says it all! Thanks!

  6. Amen, sista! My sister and I are so the same! And as I´ve needed her so much lately, this really says it all! Thanks!

  7. Hi Pat-
    Something else we have in common. Where there was once four of us, there’s now three! Fierce, pround & still fighting, only like adults, we agree to disagree:) Continue to treasure those-
    Best of times with your sisters!
    Clara.

  8. Hi Pat-
    Something else we have in common. Where there was once four of us, there’s now three! Fierce, pround & still fighting, only like adults, we agree to disagree:) Continue to treasure those-
    Best of times with your sisters!
    Clara.

  9. Pat, Even though I didn’t know all those little details, I felt like I knew all about the love of “the sisters” just from knowing Sue so well. Great piece, and I always love references to the “cabin” up North!! Dave Schmelzle, Yorkville

  10. Pat, Even though I didn’t know all those little details, I felt like I knew all about the love of “the sisters” just from knowing Sue so well. Great piece, and I always love references to the “cabin” up North!! Dave Schmelzle, Yorkville

  11. Loved it and can definitely relate! Despite all our bickering growing up, my sisters are my best friends. I also remember riding with you, Karen, and Sue in the station wagon facing backwards reading those comic books! Such good memories!

  12. “I can’t afford this, but I wanted to hear your voice.”

    Did you girls ever hear about Skype or webcam, or is this a quote of before those times?

    But yes, I do think back of my big brother as well in a similar way.

  13. “I can’t afford this, but I wanted to hear your voice.”

    Did you girls ever hear about Skype or webcam, or is this a quote of before those times?

    But yes, I do think back of my big brother as well in a similar way.

  14. Sista….you did it again! tears of joy, pride and memories! Yes, our loyalty and friendship is priceless and I treasure it daily! Praying Marie and Hannah are developing that similar strong bond sisters share. Knowing you have “my back” and I have yours and Sue carries both of us (ha!) makes any life challenge bearable! Right on sista, Write ON!

  15. Sista….you did it again! tears of joy, pride and memories! Yes, our loyalty and friendship is priceless and I treasure it daily! Praying Marie and Hannah are developing that similar strong bond sisters share. Knowing you have “my back” and I have yours and Sue carries both of us (ha!) makes any life challenge bearable! Right on sista, Write ON!

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