My Sister Remembers

Siblings often have different experiences growing up in the same family, with the same set of parents. This is the case with my sister Grace and me. Ten years my senior, she knew a side of my parents that I did not. She remembers them as a relatively young, buoyant, adventurous couple. When she read my post, “My Father’s Two Wives,” she e-mailed me her recollections of our father and his first wife–our mother. Her memories add more depth and texture to our parents’ relationship. Here is what Grace remembers:

“I do remember Mom and Dad being young and romantic. He always brought her flowers and wrote poems. When we first moved to (unnamed northeastern town), they went out all the time and played tennis. They gave dinners and parties. They took vacations alone maybe once a year and left you and me with Marie (our housekeeper). Also, the year we lived abroad, Dad surprised Mom on her birthday with a mariachi band AND 12 dozen roses–YES! 12 dozen!!! They loved dancing and were very good. People liked watching them and cleared the floor. And don’t forget that Dad proposed to Mom on their first date! He was 23 and she was 30! She told him he was too young. He bought a ring and whipped it out at a gas station soon after. It was a very short engagement.

By the time you came along, they were certainly leading separate lives–but the loyalty and devotion remained.”

Grace, Dad and Me


About perilsofdivorcedpauline

I am a survivor of a world-class gnarly divorce. My dastardly ex-husband is suing me for full custody of my son, and more time with my daughter. He’s super-rich and I’m super-not. You get the picture.
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3 Responses to My Sister Remembers

  1. this one really struck a chord. i also have an elder sister, 9 yrs my senior, who to this day, sees two completely different people than i do, although we are looking at the same two people. she was raised when they were younger, yes, but the impacts that i know about and think about are mostly related to disposable income and what it afforded me and not her. i think about trips taken, i think about actually having eaten in a restaurant with my parents, i think about my mother buying me a cheap-ass but flashy and trendy jacket for 100 dollars!, i think about my university education, i think about how differently we view the world, and i think about how she sees them as human beings, as people with limits; with their own fears and unsurmountable worries. to me, they are still just my parents, infallible, loving, getting older yes, getting fed up with each other yes, but still curious, devoted, and responsible for everything i am today.

    • It’s a common, but fascinating phenomenon, isn’t it? How age, birth order and family circumstances alters the lens in which we view our parents. I love what you wrote about your sister’s and your perspectives. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I sometimes wonder what my sons will recall of their upbringing. It feels cleaved in two – to me – the time before divorce and the time since. More of their lives will have been spent in the latter half, raised by me with so many divergent currents and shadows.

    I am certain that my experiences and recollections of my own parents – with marital issues of their own but living in such a different time – are very different from the impressions of others who knew them, and of my estranged sibling.

    It’s a fascinating topic.

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