Three sisters, about 1948
Growing up, I was the oldest of three girls. Being the oldest has advantages and disadvantages just as being the only or the youngest or the in the middle. A disadvantage for me was always feeling responsible for my sisters. If I went anywhere, they had to
go. Mother would say, "Okay, you can go but your sisters have to go with you." They were always getting into my "stuff," and when I was a teen, wearing my clothes after I'd gone to school.
The advantage was that I was "the boss." I had a definite role in the family as a
decider and setter of trends. That lasted for a long time. Now that we are adults with children and grandchildren, we don't see each other very often. We've taken a few trips together, but the business of life has interferred with visiting since we live in different states.
In the photo above, I'm the one with the bicycle. It was a wonderful gift. On it, I could
ride down the street out of sight of my sisters and feel I was myself. It was red and white
and my absolute best and favorite possession. Riding it was close to the feeling I had of owning a car for the first time. Freedom and independence came with its ownership.
My middle sister eventually got her own bicycle and we rode together. Once I had the bright idea of riding by the house of a boy in my class that I liked. My sister agreed to accompany me. When we got directly in front of his house, I was looking so hard, I ran into my sister and we and our bikes ended up in a heap on the neighborhood street. I was mortified and sure he had seen us. Even now, as I write this, I wonder if he would recognize the description and know I stalked him. My sister and I were unhurt except for my pride and we pedaled on home.
We don't have many childhood pictures showing the three of us together. The one with the bicycle certainly shows our personalities-- Me, with the bike, full of pride and smugness with owning it; my middle sister, quiet and always the prettiest; my youngest sister, exuberant and a bit of a show off. Life has changed all of us, but this photo catches a revealing moment from our youth. Photos do that. They capture just a second, and later in life we can remember the moment, but that is not the whole of it.