The Beginning. My second memory in life was October 1963 when we brought my new baby sister home from the hospital; after that, all my memories were filled with her. I honestly wasn’t jealous of the new baby. She was a special gift to me, and I thought she was the most beautiful little thing I had ever seen. When she was an infant, I would lay on the bed and just gaze adoringly at her, imagining the time when she would be old enough that I could really play with her.
Magic Years. In our eyes, Debi and I had an idyllic childhood growing up on a farm. We had our own worlds where we visited and lived. We traveled in time and space to amuse ourselves. We were princesses of improvisation. Magic surrounded us. We could be anyone… housewives with a bevy of children, college girls living in an apartment, school teachers, superheroes, singing stars with our own variety show, or living out in the woods with the animals and Indians as our friends. Moss was a carpet. A tree was a house or an entire farm for plastic farm animals. An old creek bed could be an ancient road to another world. A small thicket of trees across the road was the “magic woods” where we never stepped because there was something deeply magic there that should not be disturbed by mere mortals. Fairies could be lurking under any leaf, the trees would whisper when a soft breeze blew through them, and Santa or his elves were always watching to see if we had been naughty or nice. Supplied with a lettuce/mayo sandwich and a kool-aid canteen full of iced tea, we would picnic beneath a tree near the house and thought we had gone far away on an adventure! Nothing was impossible.
Teens. Besides being my sister, Debi was my best friend, even all through school. Preposterous! Nobody had their sister as their best friend! But we did. We wrote comedy newscasts, complete with commercials, before we ever heard of it on TV. We were in talent shows together at school. We spend the infamous winters of ’77 and ’78 snowed in together at home, finding things to amuse each other.
Grown-Ups. Debi remained my best friend. Nobody knew or understood us like we did each other. We discussed everything… movies, music, my children, religion, mysteries of the universe, work… and never ever ran out of something to talk about. She was never able to have children, so she shared my seven children. We catered weddings, showers, reunions, holidays…. I cooked and she did the presentations. During the holidays, we talked several times a day… from planning and buying to Christmas movies to reliving Christmases Past. And when we were together, we always became silly, giggly girls again. Together, we never grew up; the magic worked again and we could see the world through the eyes of those little girls!
Separation. June 2013, Debi died unexpectedly. I was there when she took her last breath. The gaping void it left in my heart and life was almost unbearable. I know I will see her again…. In that nebulous “Someday”…. But the Now was dark. There was no laughter, no magic, no little giggly girls…. Because one of them was gone. Without her, there was no dynamic duo, my partner in crime and comedy and cooking and everything else had gone away. I didn’t get to do a surprise 50th birthday party for her as I had planned to do in October. The holidays would be incomplete. I couldn’t talk to her every day.
Ever After. Her husband and I agreed that Mrs. Beasley, her favorite doll since 1968, should be buried with her. That was absolutely right. Debi wouldn’t want the tears or the grief… she would want the magic back. As she put it in a letter to me “when your children or grandchildren think about us years after we are gone, I would want them to know that we had a wonderful, magical time growing up together and loved to laugh, loved to dream, and even as the years went by, they were always two silly, giggly girls that imagined having $50 to go to the county fair!” So that’s my job “ever after”…. Sharing my Debi and our own special magic and memories with the world. As long as those live, Debi is still alive.