Have you ever met someone in your lifetime who was perfect in every way? Well, not only have I met someone like that but I am lucky enough to call her my baby sister. With her 40th birthday tomorrow, October 1st, this blog post is full of some of the childhood memories we made together. I hope you enjoy my walk down memory lane.
Melissa, a distant cousin, and I in New Jersey, June 1977
I can still remember how excited I was, in October 1974, to have a baby sister. I was almost three years old and I loved her from the moment I saw her. So much so that I did not want to leave her side. I clearly remember climbing into her crib in the middle of the night so she would not be all alone. In the mornings our Mom would find me there and tell me not to do it again but it did not stop me. I felt my sister needed me there with her!
Melissa and I, 1975 or 1976 not sure about date
My sister, was my first and only friend until I started Kindergarten. While at school I could not wait to get home and tell her all about what I had learned and experienced each day. Especially after we moved to Arizona and she was my only friend yet again.
Melissa and I on my 6th birthday, January 14, 1978
We were almost inseparable and would play together for hours on end. We had, and still have, very big imaginations. We would constantly invent new "games" to play. I will never forget the time Melissa thought it would be fun to play connect the dots with the moles on my back. It really tickled and every time I laughed it made her giggle as well. When our Mom found us doing this on the grassy area in front of our apartment she was horrified. “What are you doing?” Is what she exclaimed! Trust me, we heard A LOT of that growing up.
Melissa and I, Fountain Hills, Arizona, April 1979
Melissa and I, Halloween 1978
We had called my sister Missy pretty much from the time she was born. I cannot remember our ages, but it was after she started school. One of my parents called her Missy one day at home and she stated all seriously, “My name is Melissa, not Missy!” We all laughed at how serious and upset she was for being called Missy, but from that day forward we only called her Melissa. Although, a friend of mine from way back then and all of our family members in New Jersey still call her Missy to this very day.
One of our favorite make believe "games" we use to play was called library. This game, for lack of a better word, required quite a bit of work on our behalf but it was definitely worth it! To begin, we would both gather all the books we could carry from inside our first house in Arizona. Then we would take them outside to the carport to set up the library. We could typically make two, sometimes three, trips back and forth before our Mom would say, “Okay, I think you have enough books now girls.”
Once our library was all set up, we would take turns playing the librarian. The librarian would help the other person/people find the books they wanted. Then, when you were ready to check out she would write down information about the books you were taking. We even made pretend library cards. Some days, the neighborhood kids would join us and they also had pretend library cards to use. On those days the extra help always made putting the books back inside so much easier.
Melissa and I dressed up as clowns, The Summer of 1981
One day, our Mom brought home two “old fashioned” school desks for the two of us and a new "game" was created. Melissa and I would drag our desks out to the carport, I have no idea why we always picked that particular spot, and we would proceed to play “school” for hours. Once again we would take turns but instead of being a librarian we were a teacher. We would even have recess time where we would go play on our swing set in the backyard. When we were a little older we used the same swing set to climb up high enough to see over the back fence. With arms full of grapefruits from the trees in our backyard, the poor cleaning lady for the businesses behind our house became our target and victim all at the same time. Our parents do not know we did such a horrible thing to this very day!
Then there was the day we were playing in our front yard when they delivered the brand new plastic garbage can, the ones that many of us still use today. Our imaginations went wild with different ideas for what we could do with it. We finally agreed on the perfect use for it, on a hot, Arizona, summer day. We both took off running excitedly towards the garden hose and drug it over to where the garbage can was. We stuck the hose in the can and began filling it with water. We were making a dunk tank/jack-in-the-box to play in. I do not remember how we got in and out of the garbage can, but I remember as if it was yesterday, how we took turns getting inside of it. It was the person outside of the can’s job to shut the lid once the other person was inside.
Once inside with the lid shut we would hold our breathe and submerge ourselves under the water and “pop” out really fast while pushing on the lid. Every single time the person on the outside would be startled and jump a little which caused us to erupt into laughter. Once our Mother discovered what we were up to she came running outside while yelling, “What are you doing? Get out of there!” Told you we heard that a lot.
I could go on forever with countless more memories Melissa and I made over the past 40 years, but I have decided to save them for future posts. The two of us have been partners in crime for decades now just as my two girls are today. We have also played pranks, like my girls, on unsuspecting people around us. Although, I must say Melissa is much better at them and far funnier than I am.
Melissa and I, Easter 2010
(We really need an updated picture of the two of us!)