Okay, it’s my turn.
Brandilyn made the mistake of saying to me as we were falling asleep last night, "Why don’t you write Monday’s blog for me?" I mulled it over all night and first thing in the morning I gave my answer, "OK, I’ll do it, but only if I get to say anything I want."
I’d better explain. I am Brandilyn’s older sister Sandy, and we are all currently at the annual family reunion in Wilmore, Kentucky. Brandilyn and I always share the guest room at our mom’s place. Two of our sisters now live close by in Kentucky, so we are the only two sisters who have to come long distances to the reunion.
Those of you who keep up with kiddy lit know The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf. This is going to be the true story of the famous Brandilyn Collins by S. Sheppard.
We are a family of four girls. Our dad used to call us his "harem." I am the next older sister to Brandilyn, who is the youngest. Like in the (Cinderella spoof) story of Rindercella and the Pransome Hince, we used to call ourselves the four sad bisters with the mugly other. Although, honestly, the four of us bisters are not sad and our "other" is definitely not "mugly". In fact, she is beautiful and our dad used to say she looked like Loretta Young. But I digress.
About eight years ago when we all became email literate, we needed nicknames for ourselves. Brandilyn came in handy at this time, naming us all. Sylvia, the oldest sister and an MD, became Doc Benz because she is the cream of the crop. Sheila, next, became TWO which stands for The Wise One. She is full of sage advice. As for myself, Brandilyn had to grow up in my shadow and every time she went into a new classroom where I’d been six years before, the teacher would say, "Are you as smart as your sister Sandy?" My identity was determined by my reputation which preceded her. I am Perfect Sister, or PS. [This and the fact that Miss Perfect had to have her picture taken at age six in full angel get-up, complete with halo and wings. Show-off.--Brandilyn] Brandilyn’s email nickname came from the comment Sylvia made when our Mom announced that she was pregnant at the age of nearly 40. Sylvia, then 15 and an aspiring doctor, declared, "Mom, by this time most of your eggs are bad." Brandilyn, therefore, became Bad Egg or BE.
When I was five I began praying for a baby sister. After all, Sylvia had one and Sheila had one, but I had none. I find it hard to admit that because it makes the rest of this story my fault. BE was born shortly after my sixth birthday. BE and I, being the youngest, usually shared a bedroom. As a kid she could get pretty annoying, doing things like cutting up a letter I had written (a little voice said to her, "Cut that" and she said, "OK." That’s her story and she’s sticking to it). On Saturday mornings we would bake a can of Pillsbury sweet rolls and eat the whole thing while watching Fireball XL5 and other great cartoons. When Brandilyn was 12, I was in the throes of my first serious love. She had the gall to critique my heart-rending poetry, written out of my teenage angst. In fact, when I told her I would write this blog, she said, "This is how you should start it." I told her to stay out of it and not tell me how to write. "Don’t pull that again," I said. "It’s my post, I’ll write it however I want." But again I digress.
Growing up with her really wasn’t so bad except for the time she fell into an open sewer ditch and came home stinking to high heaven. [She neglects to tell you I was only three.--Brandilyn] When she was fourteen I got married, and our relationship changed. She and I both eventually moved out of Kentucky. But over the last 20 years or so, family reunions have brought us back together, and frequent long-distance phone calls have strengthened our relationship, making us closer than ever.
We come from a literary family. Parents, one uncle, a couple of cousins and three of us sisters are involved in writing in some form or another. My thing is nonfiction. I often tell people, "I tell the truth; Brandilyn makes up stories." Our family reunions are made up of endless games of cutthroat Scrabble. But there was one game that led me to places I was not prepared to go . . .