Last week my sister had her 78th birthday; I don't think she minds me telling her age; she's still in good health and sound of mind. For some reason I began thinking of the different paths our lives have taken.
We were both born in the same room, in the little gray house on the rocky hillside farm; as Daddy used to say, "Wanda was born on one side and Charlotte on the other side of that room." She was almost 6 1/2 years older, much more outgoing and made friends easily. The word Daddy used to describe me was "timid", but I always had a smile. As we grew up I know I pestered her too much, especially when she began dating a Marine and received letters from him; letters I wanted so much to read.
She met her cousin's brother-in-law and married him the summer after she graduated from high school . He had just come out of service and in about a year they moved to Michigan where he worked in the Buick plant. As the years passed, they had four children; one sweet little girl died at age five. She worked in various plants and at Wal Mart because now her husband had become a Baptist preacher.
I met my husband at college; he was a farm boy and that appealed to me. We married and moved away from our community; he taught school and worked first on a master's degree and later on his doctorate. I went to college one more semester then dropped out to become a mother of three girls, and a full-time housewife. We bought a small place and began our farm; he taught during the week and farmed on the weekends.
So now she was a preacher's wife and I was the wife of a college professor/farmer. She attended church functions, I worked cattle and chickens.
She and her husband recently moved into a retirement center. He is disabled and the upkeep of the house and yard was too much for her. This made me stop and think: could I live there and be happy? Right now the answer is "no". Even if the meals are prepared, the rooms cleaned, and no grocery shopping, I believe I would feel imprisoned, isolated more or less, no place to go where there were no people.
Here we are, ten years ago, sisters with different lives. Yes, I'm the one with the white hair!