Tuesday, March 8, 2016

There's Room Enough For Two

Yesterday, 7 March, was the 35th anniversary of my sister Dale's death. I decided years ago to not dwell on that date. It was just one day in 29 years of life, after all. But this year I couldn't seem to avoid it. So here we are the morning after. The day before the 35th anniversary of Dale's rainy funeral in Sheffield, England.

I didn't mention it yesterday. I didn't feel like saying it out loud and making it real.

I kept thinking about how many lifetimes had been lived since then. But, for some, a lifetime is even less than 29 years; for others less than 10 years; and for still others not even one entire day. So, no reason to dwell on that either. It's been a long time. The world, and we, have changed since Dale's been gone. She wouldn't recognize it nor, probably, some of us (although I look exactly the same, of course).


When we moved to Brooklyn in 1964, the doors to the roofs of the five buildings in our co-op were left unlocked. In summer, Dale and I would sometimes go up, 25 stories off the ground, to watch the weekly fireworks in Coney Island.

One year, when I was 11 and Dale was not yet 13, the family was all set to head off for a driving vacation to Quebec, Canada. At 7:30 in the morning, we hauled the suitcases to the elevator and pressed the button. Nothing. My father sent us down to the next floor (there was one elevator for odd-numbered floors and one for even). Nothing. Both elevators were out.

The building had three sections with two elevators in each section. After learning that the other four elevators were working, my parents (probably to get us out of their hair) sent Dale and me down 16 flights of stairs with suitcases. To return, we took the elevator in the center section to the 23rd floor, walked up one flight of stairs to the roof, walked across the roof, and then down to the 16th floor for more luggage. We made that trip three times.

UP IN THE CENTER, ACROSS TO THE RIGHT, AND BACK DOWN AGAIN.

Once we had loaded the car, my parents figured we'd all walk down the 16 flights and hit the road. But, as The Dowager Duchess locked the apartment door, the elevator arrived.

Our parents were elated.

The Kid Brother wouldn't start the trip tired and cranky.

And Dale and I had had another amazing adventure.


22 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your memories.

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    1. Michael:
      Thank YOU for appreciating them!

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  2. Anniversaries.... some are so painful, even years later. But they do renew our memories, don't they?

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  3. That is a lovely memory to have.
    Sisters; we both had incredible sisters.

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    1. Bob:
      On good days, I consider myself very lucky to have had her at all.

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  4. I was just thinking of that music, a favorite of mine. You have some wonderful memories. Thinking of you. xx

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    1. Wilma:
      There are so many songs that immediately connect me with my sister. This is one.

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  5. Our parents and siblings will always be a part of us.....there's no getting away from it, I feel. We are all in this life together....like it or not sometimes.
    Mitch, what a wonderful memory to have of that day you had with Dale before heading to Quebec.
    You mentioned living in a co-op...what did that involve? Not familiar with it.

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    1. Jim:
      There are all different kinds of residential co-ops. Here's a link that will explain the different types that exist in New York.

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  6. I more than likely would have gotten lost in the wrong building and the wrong floor ~~ oh sorry talking about Jim (my bad)!

    Quebec, so close to NS ~ we could've played together!

    Winks!

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    1. Ron:
      My mother had an aunt and uncle in Montreal. It was a wonderful trip and it would have been even better if we had met then!

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  7. Your mum and you look great. Nice memory of your young sister

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    1. Gosia:
      That photo is from 1955. I'd love to know what street that was, so I could get a photo of what it looks like now!

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  8. These must be bittersweet memories for you. It really moves me when you talk about your sister.

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    1. Stephen:
      Thanks. We were so different and so incredibly close those first 17 years of my life. I don't think there's one important memory that doesn't include her.

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  9. Well, that is about the sweetest darn picture I've ever, ever seen :) Where have you been hiding that one, Mitchell? :)

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    1. Judy:
      Oh, you wouldn't believe how many fun pictures you haven't yet seen! And how do you like my golden blond hair? I didn't just have hair; it was blond!

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  10. I have delayed commenting because like Stephen above says it moves me too very much and I have struggled to find words. I still don't know what to say but I loved hearing the story of the elevators and the aerial shot of the building is great to illustrate the run across the roof top. I was imagining it all the way. That is a great memory. Thanks for sharing it. Rachel

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    1. Rachel:
      No special words needed. Thank you so much for enjoying getting to know Dale here. She bossed me around, protected and cared for me, drove me crazy, and we idolised each other.

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  11. I adore that photo of mom and kids.....its fdelightful

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    1. John:
      Thanks. I'm lucky to have so many of these photos. Lots more to come.

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  12. Aw, I love that story! And the photo. I wish Dale could still be with you.

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