Tuesday, March 10, 2009

sibling rivalry

Of course, now that I have laid the foundation of sibling harmony, I must tell the counterpoint, the inevitable sibling rivalry. Actually, I only felt it toward one sibling, my next younger sister, Judy, the one who came into my life two and a half years after I was born and upset a good thing. My brother, Jim, no problem...he was a boy, five years younger, so not a threat. My youngest sister, Mary Ann, was seven years younger and I only felt motherly toward this cute little thing. I taught her her colors. Or at least I felt like I did. I contributed to her name. I suggested Mary, to make it balanced in the family: 2 D's--Daddy and Debbie; 2 J's--Judy and Jimmy; so we needed an M to go with Mommy. I suggested Mary, and they spiced it up a bit with the Ann.

So, all those feelings of resentment had but one natural focus: Judy. Not that the sibling rivalry was all-consuming, or even very bad, but it did have to come out sometimes. As far as I can remember, I only got spanked twice, and both times were for hurting Judy. The first time, we were in the basement, and clothes were hanging on a clothesline, along with a bag filled with heavy wooden clothespins. Judy was a toddler. Suddenly, an irresistible opportunity presented itself. There she stood, on the other side of the clothesline, on the other side of that bag of clothespins. I could not stop myself. I grabbed that bag and swung it with all my might, and really whapped her right in the face, knocking her over. To this day, I can remember feeling that the spanking was worth it.

The second one was borderline. It was Judy's birthday. We were having her kids party in the basement (what is it about the basement that brought out the worst in me?) We were playing the standard kids' game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey. I was the first to put on the blindfold, and lo and behold, I discovered that I could see through it! No one knew this! What to do with this wonderful opportunity? I swear, I really believed it would be hilarious if I pretended to miss the donkey picture on the wall and poked Judy in the butt with the sharp pin. It was always funny on the cartoons! Turned out, not so much in real life. I blame the media for that spanking.

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