Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Green Frosting

My sister is four years younger than me. She is the middle child of the family. On top of being number four of seven, she has two older brothers and two younger brothers, one older sister and one younger sister. She has middle child syndrome in spades.

She was always a prissy child. I do not mean necessarily feminine because she was not always what is considered as feminine. But she could sashay around with her little bottom wiggling with the best of them. And this started when she started to walk.

She always believed that she was adopted. There was no way she could have been born into such a crass family. As the older sister I was extremely understanding and sympathetic. I told her; "Why on earth would a family with this many kids want to adopt one? And if they did want to adopt a child, why would they choose you?" She was not amused.

As a matter of fact I called her on her recent birthday. (She is 62, chortle, chortle, chortle) I asked her if she still believed that she was adopted. She said that she had finally given up the idea. After all she looks just like our mother.

Remember the old wringer washers that we did laundry in? Mom liked to set up the washer outdoors if the weather was decent. It was easier to get to the clothesline that way.

My sister was about 2 or 3 years old. Mom was doing laundry. At that moment she was hanging clothes on the line. Then she heard a huge thud and scream.

My sister had climbed up on the washer to see what it was doing and pulled it over on top her. She had a big gash on her eyebrow. There was no doctor in our town so Mom and Daddy took her to the next town over and she got three stitches. She still has a bit of a scar.

My younger brothers were her older brothers. They had been given BB guns for Christmas that year. It was summer and they were playing cops and robbers. I was in the house reading. My sister wanted to play with them. They were only to happy to have her. They needed a bad guy.

Apparently she was found guilty of her crimes and sentenced to death. They had her stand in front of a corrugated metal fence to face the firing squad. They began firing. Yes. The guns were loaded.

My sister began to scream and turned her back to them to try to escape the pain. Unfortunately she was wearing one of those little sunsuits that tied at the neck and had no back.

By the time Mom rescued her my sister's back was full of BB's. She screamed and Mom picked the BB's out one by one.

One year for Christmas my sister got a kitchen set. It had a stove, refrigerator, and kitchen table... the works. She loved it so much. but we were going to visit our grandmother after Christmas so she did not have much of a chance to play with them before we left. They would be waiting for her when we got home.

Our house burned. No more kitchen set. She has always wanted another one.

My sister always said that she never ever got her way. That was not true. What she meant was that she did not get her way immediately. Middle Child!

As we got older my sister became a bit of a wild child. I was married then. I stopped by my parents' house one day to visit. After I had been there for a while I looked around and asked where my sister was. I figured she was out with friends.

My mother very quickly and almost violently said that I did not need to know where she was. Red Flag! I said, "Oh, yes I do."

After much coaxing I was finally informed that she was in a home for unwed mothers. Which one? I did not need to know. I finally got them to tell me where it was. It was about half a mile straight up the street from where I lived. When could I see her? I could not see her. Eventually they gave in and told me they would let me know when my visiting rights began.

I used to walk up to visit her often. She was afraid. She was very young. She would be giving the baby up for adoption.

I talked to my husband and we decided to try to adopt the baby. I did not want to lose a member of the family. At that time they did not allow direct adoptions. My husband and I were newlyweds. It would not happen.

She had a little girl. My sister saw her only right after she was born.

Many years later that baby found us. She had been searching for a long time and was just about to give up. She decided to give one last try and found us.

She has had a wonderful life. She was adopted by a couple who loved her very much. She has a brother who was also adopted. Now she has two families to love her. And she had a much better life than my husband and I could have given her.

When she found us she had a little boy. He is grown now and has a little boy of his own.

For a while my sister calmed down. Then one day she disappeared. We scoured the city looking for her. We could not find her. Neither could the police.

After three years I got a phone call. It was my sister. She had run off and got married. Her husband was in prison and she wanted to come home. She was worried that our parents would not want her.

Of course they wanted her. But I told her if she needed some time she could come stay with me. She was coming home.

I called my parents who were thrilled and relieved. When my sister came home she went to live with our parents. I knew she would.

She is on her third husband now. I think this one is going to last. It's been a lot of years this time. And she is more secure in herself.

She has one son. He is fairly newly married so no children yet.

My sister is a bit more ruthless than I am. Therefore she has been more financially successful than I am. She has been careful to always put herself in a position to advance. I envy that quality a bit.

But you want to hear about green frosting.

When our last sibling was born we were so excited. We were having a new baby in the family. My sister and I were hoping for another sister. The boys had been in the majority or equal since they started coming.

It was a boy. I was old enough to go to the hospital to visit Mom and see the new baby. Yippee.

While we were at the hospital my sister decided to make a cake. She had been making cakes for years. As a matter of fact she makes excellent cakes. And remember we made them from scratch.

She mixed up the batter. Then she went to put it in the pan. But she could not find a cake pan. She did find a cookie sheet. Good enough. In went the batter.

While the cake was baking she made the frosting. What she needed was confectioner's sugar, butter, vanilla, and a little water. She found everything except the confectioner's sugar.

My sister is very resourceful. Flour looks a lot like what we called powdered sugar. So she used that instead. Her favorite color is green so she added some food coloring to make a pretty green frosting.

We were all looking forward to cake. She proudly sliced it and served it to us. One bite and we all spit it out. You have never tasted anything so terrible. Now none of us will eat a cake with green frosting on it unless it is a small amount and not on our plate.


  1. Emma, so many details in this post from sadness to funny remembrances. When I read about the BB guns I was thinking about A Christmas Story, which I had just seen. I could not imagine that your brothers would have shot your sister with them....ouch indeed! And, how sad about her baby, but a wonderful reunion years later and now an extended family. Hope your sis is finally happy with herself and her husband. Too funny about the green frosting and how no one can eat it to this day.
    Hope you had a happy Christmas and wishing you a wonderful New year ahead.
    Thanks for your comments on our posts. We so appreciate folks taking the time too read an leave feedback.

    1. I think my sister is finally as content as she can allow herself to be. It is in her nature to never be completely satisfied but I think she is close now. She is a good person. As far as my brothers shooting her, they were only about 4 and 5, maybe a year older. As far as i am concerned much too young for BB guns but it was not unusual in the middle 1950's. They should have realized it would hurt but I do not think they did. She will not even eat green frosting.
      I had a wonderful Christmas, thank you. The New Year holds such promise. I hope the same is true for you.