I'm missing my sister Doris today. I miss her everyday. She would have been 70 years old this particular day, but she died almost two years ago.
She was six years older than I. We had a sister Mary who was four years older than Doris, and of course Bonnie who was four years younger than Doris, but Doris and I were the buddies. We were just always close, even though we each had another sister who was closer in age to us.
Doris joined the army when she was 17, straight out of high school. She was sent to Germany for three years. I wrote to her every single day. I didn't have anything to say of course, but like now, that didn't stop me.
I'd open up the dictionary and find big words and work them into the "conversation." Like just now I opened up the dictionary and saw polemical. If I were writing to Doris, I might have written, "At school today Karen made a polemical attack on what the math teacher was saying about fractions." (Actually right this minute I'm being really impressed by the fact that my spell-check recognizes polemical.)
I'd do stuff like that everyday. She told me years later that her barracks mates would gather around with their dictionaries and all read my letters together. They would say things like, "Your little sister is so smart!" She laughed when I told her the truth. Smartass is more like it.
While she was in Heidelberg, Elvis Presley came on the scene nationally. She wrote me and asked, "Who is this Elvis Presley guy?"
We grew up in Memphis and I had seen him several times at this point. He performed at my school on what we called Chapel Programs. Couldn't get away with "chapel" in a public school nowadays.
Anyway, Elvis had made a little money by this time, and had bought his Mama a new house. No, not Graceland. Before Graceland he bought a modest house in East Memphis which wasn't all that far from my neck of the woods. He didn't yet know that he was going to be too rich for that area. He never was all that smart. Ya know?
So after a ballgame one night, a bunch of my gang and I decided to go over and get grass out of Elvis' yard and send it to Doris. The fence around the yard was a decorative one. I coulda gone right into the yard, but I didn't. Respectful. Like that.
The fence was iron and brick and had these openings in it, and I reached in through one of the openings and grabbed a handful of grass. Stuck. Couldn't get my arm back through. It's cold and I'm all bent over and all, stuck in this darn fence. There's a lot of traffic up and down the street. It's not normally a busy street, but kids from the game are comin' over and being nosey and noisy.
There I am stuck. Butt a little in the air. I'm causin' a bit of a scene. Teenagers.
Policeman gets through the traffic. Stops. Comes over to me. Looks at me, kinda sad like.
"Little girl," he says, "Did you ever think to take your arm outta your coat sleeve?"
Well, no officer, I never thought of that. 'Course I didn't say anything at all. Just pulled my arm out of my coat. Sad to say, that also meant that I had to open my fist and drop the grass. Darnitall.
So, Doris never got the grass. She did get the full account of it in a letter however.