The Other I

August 15, 2007

The family on the farm: Mary

Filed under: Life as a Nun — theotheri @ 5:54 am

My second sister and Bob’s twin was Mary.  Despite her position in the family where a lesser person may have been squashed, Mary was not a lesser person.  When Mary made up her mind, which she did regularly, she held on with tenacity. 

You couldn’t miss the fact that Mary had class and there was always an energy and exuberance in her life style.  From childhood she danced with  elegance, and excelled at sports.  By the time she was two, she was coordinating her clothes and shoes to match.  When her funds were limited, she chose beauty rather than food. 

What I still love best about Mary is her proud delight for the people she loved passionately and single-mindedly.  Despite our affection for each other, we were a  deadly competitive family in some ways, striving to excel in our own unique niches.  Mary stood out with her extravagant hopes for the rest of us.  Her most magnificent hopes were for Bob, her twin to whom she was fiercely loyal, and all her life she was a mother hen toward Dorothy, our youngest sister who was six when Mom died.

I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who thought I was so wonderful, who thought my gifts should propel me to the top of the world, and who so delighted in anything I accomplished.  She was implaccably opposed to my being a nun, because she thought I would be suffocated in a convent.  She reached that conclusion when she was ten.  She said she herself felt liberated when I left nine years later.

Mary died of breast cancer when she was 46.  I still miss her.  In fact, as I get older and appreciate her unique brand of caring more, I think I miss her more.


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