Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sisters - Mine Was One of the Best

Hey, Y'all,
You know, you never really and truly appreciate something or someone to the fullest until they are gone. Then, you begin to remember all the things that made them so special to you and to all those who knew them. I guess it is just a fact of human nature. Anyway, I know you have already guessed that this is a picture of my sister, Margaret, and me. It was taken soon after we moved to New Market. Margaret was, by nature, a sunny individual, always ready to have some good, clean fun. Well, actually, I am too. Ha. In this pic, we were leaning against a corner dirt bank on the farm, just being sisters.

Margaret was almost eight years old (just lacking 11 days) and was happy to get a little sister, I guess, since she had two brothers older than she, and a younger one, born about 4 and a half years before I was. The birth order in our family was: Bill, Ralph, Margaret, Hugh, me, and then finally, little brother, John.

It was often told that when I was only six weeks old, Margaret was holding me and dropped me on the floor and I fainted. We always joked and said that she dropped me on my head and that is why I am the way I am. Ha ha ha. Anyway, I reckon maybe she always was the responsible older sister. We did have a lot of fun along the way, though. When I was growing up, she was the one who cared for me while Mom was at work in the hosiery mill every day. It was she who held my hand when I was little and we would go places together.

As we grew up, she became the one who tattled on me when I did the wrong thing, but she wanted me to be a responsible person, I know. If she had to behave, then I did too. She wanted me to do the right thing, and was not loathe to remind me. She also knew who was boss in the family. We were mostly a matriarchal family. Dad was an easy going fellow most of the time, unless we got him really riled up. Mom was the boss, I guess because she was raised by her mama. Our grandpa died when Mom was only 9 years old and left Granny to raise seven children on her own. (But that is a story for another day).

The story was often told about how Mom was out of the house for some reason, maybe gone to town, and a salesman came knocking at the door. We were still living in Knoxville at the time. Margaret answered the door and when the salesman asked if the lady of the house was in, Margaret said, "No, but daddy's the boss when mama's not here," indicating, of course, that he could speak with dad.

She and I did a lot of things together out on the farm, growing up. We scrubbed the clothes together, we did the dishes together, oftentimes singing. I did the soprano, and she did the alto part. Sometimes, when it was time to do the dishes, I would head to the privy and expect her to finish the dishes while I was gone. Sometimes she would, but often times they would be waiting for me to dry after I got back and washed my hands. Darn it! Sometimes, we would sing in church. We both belonged to the church choir. (Goodness, that brings up another story in my mind, but it can wait till another day).

Margaret came to visit me when Charlie and I lived in Indiana, and expecting Carol. She actually came to visit when we had only lived there for a short time and then back when Carol and Teresa both were soon to be born. She helped take care of me when my time was very near to be delivered of them, and for a couple or so weeks after. I remember when Carol was born, and of course, I had no experience (I didn't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies). Back then when a baby was a newborn, we put belly bands around their middles until the last of the umbilical cord came off. You should have seen the two of us fixing the belly bands around Carol, and later, Teresa. Of course, they don't do that any more.

It was Margaret who mainly cared for my daughters when we moved back to the farm, and I had to go to work in the Magnavox factory every day to help support them. It was she who saw them off to school every morning. It was she who took them to the doctor when they needed to go. She cared for them then when I went to Carson-Newman for three long years. I missed parts of those years with them, but I know they got the best of care and love from her, my mom and my dad. She was their consciences as well, and never failed to tell them, "Now, you know that's not right!"

Margaret became a paid caregiver when mom and dad were no longer with her. She cared for them in their last years. In the early 1980's she began her career as a paid caregiver and living most of the time with the patients and coming home one weekend in the month. John, our youngest brother, was married and living on the farm. Dad had deeded the house to him, and so she, John, and his wife, Darlene, were living out here on the farm. John was a teacher at Jefferson High School, and he would go get Margaret one weekend a month and bring her home. When he decided to move to Arizona with his wife and two children, he sold the house, and Margaret was left with no home of her own anymore.

When he left, then I became the person who would pick up Margaret from the patient's home and bring her to our home to spend the weekend. When Margaret decided she wanted to retire from that, she rented an apartment in a government housing building, and lived independently for the first time in her life, at about the age of 68 (I think). She never learned to drive - no opportunity and no money to buy a car. She always lived frugally. She never went past the eighth grade in school, but did earn a GED in her sixties. Margaret was loved by all who knew her. She loved the Lord and people. She is missed.

Well, I have a doctor's appointment today. My regular family doctor's checkup time. There is a lot to do. so I had better get with it. We are also headed to Knoxville later today for our "movie day" with my two sisters-in-law, Mae and Imazo. This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for now. I'll check on the other blogs later this evening after Gramps is in bed for the night. Much love to each of you, my friends out there in Blogland. Bye for now.


Trudy said...

What a lovely tribute to your sister Ruby. I can tell that you held one another in high esteem! Margaret sounds like a wonderful person, as you are! I had never heard that about the belly bands, how very interesting.

Have a blessed day my friend!


A lovely write about your sister, It must have been wonderful to have had a sister, I had a brother but that wasn't the same.

Hope you are well,
Have a lovely day.

Jan said...

Great post. I had three younger sisters and can relate to Margaret's role in your life!

Anonymous said...

I know you are your sister were very close and she was a lovely person from reading this. I have two sisters and both are still living. My oldest is 13 years older than me and was like a mother to me when I was young. I read your last post, too, and I remember my mother talking about the rationing stamps and books.

Lisa said...

I didn't know that 6-week-old babies could faint Ms. Ruby. :) Lovely story about your big sis. What a fine lady she was!

Have a wonderful day and I hope you enjoy the movie!

Grammyof13 said...

What a lovely post and tribute to your sister. Sweet memories too. I don't know how old you are, but it sounds like we came up in the same era. Lots of bumps in the road, but nothing so great it kept us from going on over.

Blessings. I hope your Dr.'s appointment went well.


Ellie said...

Margaret was a special soul, a wonderful, giving sister! You both are truly blessed to have each other!
Very touching; Thanks for sharing so much of your self in the story!
I always enjoying hearing what it was like back then. My Mom was born in the 40's. She can spin a yarn, like you!

arlee bird said...

Margaret obviously had a real gift for caregiving. You and your parents were fortunate to have her there.
A to Z Challenge Reflections Mega Post

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story. I'm an only child and often wish I had an older brother :o) There's an award for you on my S post XX

Wendy aka Quillfeather. said...

Wonderful tribute to your sister.

Until your next lovely post. Bye for now, Grammy :)

Tanya said...

what a sweet post. btw...we got Isaacs quilt and it is just so so cute. we all love it. Adam was sure it was for him so I had to show him all the names on the quilt to convince him that his was the other one that he got when he was a baby. Thank you so very much

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like the best sister ever!

Calfkeeper said...

A wonderful post about sisterly love and devotion. You were truly blessed to have her in your life.

I love the pictures of your quilts. My grandma used to make them all the time. I am thankful to have several of them saved back.

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

I love old photos and old history what a great tribute, Funny belly band my sister just got one for a friend, my other friend just used a rubber band. NICE post and good reflections.

Grammy said...

thanks for the award!
All of you, my friends, thank you for the heartfelt comments!
You are just too wonderful for words!

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Margaret was a jewel and so is her little sister. Higs and kisses.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Ruby, I'm so glad I scrolled back to this post as I work on catching up with all my favorite bloggers. I never had a sister, so I became quite close to my brother's wife. She died at the age of 61 (2008) of lung disease. I expected to be sad, but I never realized I would miss her as much as I do. Sisters are priceless treasures.