“Sister.  She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities.  She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway.  She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark.  She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink.  Some days, she’s the reason you wish you were an only child.” Barbara Alpert


My sister, Becky, died November 2019 at the young age of 59.  Part of me was glad she no longer suffered.  Yet, part of me mourned the life she should have had.  I remembered the good times we shared as well as the not so good.  Most of all, I remembered the great things about her that, she herself, never saw-her love for children and the elderly, her humility, her bravery and courage, her quiet grace and serenity, her ability to remember pretty much everything she ever saw or heard, her sense of humor, her devilish little laugh, and her ability to create fun in any and all situations.  Most of all, how she, ultimately, put others ahead of herself and even in her dying, tried not to inconvenience anyone.  My prayer is that she did find a better place and is finally at peace.


Becky and I spent our childhood in a lower middle class neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida during the 1960’s and early 1970’s.  We had a blue collar working father and a traditional stay at home mom.  We were two years apart and I was  the younger.  We shared a room.  We were like The Odd Couple most of the time but every now and then the sister bond would exert itself and, in spite of our differences, we would wreck some havoc or just have a little fun.

One of the best memories I have of Becky and me is when we got in trouble for breaking her bed.  We had twin beds in a shared room and were supposed to be sleeping.  Instead, we kept getting on top of the chest of drawers and declaring “it seems so high you can fly” before leaping down onto her bed, which was closest. We took turns over and over again until suddenly her bed collapsed to the floor in a loud crash!  We both, instantly, jumped into our beds, covered up and pretended to be asleep.  Our father and mother both came calmly walking into the room.  Becky, being the terrible actress she was, pretended to be surprised to be waking up in a collapsed bed saying “what happened” while rubbing the imaginary sleep from her eyes.  It did not work.  With sudden understanding, we simultaneously noticed our mother holding a bolo-paddle minus the elastic and ball.  It was so worth it!

Becky and I get paddled!
My sister Becky and I get paddled!


Flash forward to our time at Ravenwood Academy in Meigs, Georgia.   I was in maybe the 8th or 9th grade and Becky was in the 10th or 11th (she could drive).  We lived between 20-30 miles from our school.  Becky, driving her 1960’s era Volkswagen Beetle (candy apple red), would take me, our younger sister, Mary Beth, our mother, our friends (Boria and Lisa) first to Camilla to drop our mother off at work and then to Meigs for school.  This day, however, Becky had the idea to get us all the promotional coke shirts that were currently being given away by the coke company in exchange for 100 coke bottle caps.  Becky proceeded to drive us to every gas station with a coke vending machine starting in Camilla and going all the way to Cairo finally circling back to Meigs.  She asked the station owners for the bottle caps out of the machine and, without fail (and without questioning why this car load of kids were driving around during school hours) the station owners opened up the machines and emptied the caps into a brown paper back.  Every time we collected 100, Becky drove us to the coke company in Pelham and exchanged the caps for a shirt.  She did not stop until each and everyone of us had a shirt.  Then she took us to school declaring “car trouble” as the reason we were so late.  Upon returning home, our mother asked “where did ya’ll get those shirts, to which Becky replied “oh, they were giving them away at school”.

My sister Becky gets us all a t-shirt.
My sister Becky gets us all a t-shirt.


It was a summer in the mid 1970’s.  We lived way out in the country about 10 miles from Camilla in a little community called Greenough close to Baconton (the town that forgot to vote).  Our parents hosted some sort of party that evening while Becky cooked up a plan for her and me to sneak out with a car load of our friends (I can’t remember all of them but probably Rodney, Lauren, Shelly, Chip, and a few others).  The plan was for Rodney to drive by our house, flash his headlights, head down the road, turn around, and pick us up by the road in front of our house.  Who knows what we were going to do from there.  I chickened out but Becky did not know that.  Sure enough, Rodney drove by flashing the lights and Becky came to my window to get me (we had our own rooms by then).  I pretended not to hear her at the window.  I could hear our mother open Becky’s door, notice Becky’s window open, and shouting “Ralph, Becky’s gone”.  As luck would have it, our father arrived on the scene just in time to see Rodney pull off on the side of the road in front of our house (our house was about 3 acres back from the road with pines in between).  So, our father gets in his truck to head over to see who is at the road, Rodney cranks up the car and flees, our father chases him down and brings the whole car load back to our house.  Meanwhile, Becky, caught outside the window by my room, says “Diane was going too” so I was roused up to face the music with Becky.  The odd thing is, all our parents did was leave us out in the yard with our friends and we spent most of the night hanging out like we planned to do in the first place.  I don’t remember any punishment at all although Rodney said he thought our father was going to kill him or something.  Good times and good friends!

My sister, Becky, and I listened to Wolfman Jack!
Wolfman Jack in 1979


Life had a way of getting away from both of us.  We grew apart and lived separate lives for decades.  We reminisced at times during holiday gatherings remembering how much fun we had.  Some memories I wished Becky had not shared out loud but really I have no regrets.  We were young in a great era.  We laid out in the sun covered in baby oil mixed with iodine (for some reason) listening to Wolfman Jack and Casey Kasem’s top 40.  We road horses, swam in the barrow pit, went “riding around” with our cousins, went to the drive in movie in Camilla, went with Aunt Dale to the Miracle Strip in Panama City Beach, and overall just had a great time!  Rest in peace Becky.









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