If you’ve read many of my blog posts you know that I was one of those surprise package bonuses for my folks. They were in their forties when I was born and my three sisters were all teenagers.
Life is just weird for us surprise packages. A good weird, a difficult weird, hard to explain.
By the time I was nearly 3 or so, two of my sisters had left home for college, marriage, life. My oldest sister with her special needs remained in our home.
The minute my two sisters left home for adulthood, I began to miss them. A lot. I do not remember ever living under the same roof as them, but their absence from my life affected everything about my life. This isn’t a pout fest or pity party, life was still good. Just not as good as I imagined it would be if Lois and Wilma were living with us. In the same house.
Wilma eventually lived close to us again and having her nearby was a blessing. And so very much fun. We had a big music connection, we had a big Jesus connection.
Lois lived many hours away. Always. And I longed for her visits home, or our visits to her home. Our trips to visit her started with the two hour drive from Minneapolis (Ks) to Wichita on old highway 81. In one of our Chevy cars. We only drove Chevies or Buicks. GM only. It was the law of my Dad.
While visiting Lois in Wichita I tasted my first pizza. From likely the first ever Pizza Hut in the whole world! Pepperoni pizza. So good. And Wichita had a Kentucky Fried Chicken which my dad was totally in love with. Eventually I would take extended solo visits to help Lois care for her little boy while she worked. She introduced me to Taco Tico, which at the time seemed like exotic foreign food. Something you just could not get in little Minneapolis. Mmmmm good. She took me to the Wichita Zoo. In those days it was just a tiny little spot in Riverside Park. Birds and monkeys. But boy, I was wowed. And she had a Magnavox stereo system with a stacking turntable and LP’s. The Mamas and Papas, Barbra Streisand, etc. My favorite was “Chet Atkins Picks on the Beatles”. Yes, I was/am an “old soul”. I was raised by (fantastic) old souls. And we had neither a stereo nor LP player of any sort. My childhood home had a small desk top radio on a desk near the dining table where KFRM AM station played every morning from Concordia Kansas. Farm and ranch reports. Country western music. Every morning this woke me up along with the smell of coffee.
Lois gave me a taste of a life that was so very different, so much “younger” than my life with our parents and my oldest sister. So much fun. (please don’t misunderstand: I had a wonderful loving home with my parents. NO COMPLAINTS)
Those stays with Lois were like winning the grand prize to me.
She taught me how to play Scrabble. She taught me how to play tennis. She taught me all about her favorite make/models of cars. (She always drove the coolest cars). She worked as a Medical Laboratory Technologist.
And I wanted to one day beat her in Scrabble. And I wanted one day to beat her in tennis. And I wanted to one day drive cool cars like hers. And I wanted one day to be a lab tech.
Spoiler alert: I never ever beat her in tennis. Seriously, I am 16 years younger than her, why did she never slow down? She never even let me win. Nope. But Scrabble? I could compete.
Over the years, I waited eagerly for the day I would live near all my sisters. But Lois ended up moving to the west coast. Beautiful California. The first time we visited them in California I crossed her move back to Kansas off my wish list. Why on earth would she ever want to leave California? Good grief, I didn’t even want to go back home to Kansas after our first visit to California some 38 years ago.
And then, last August, Lois and her husband were visiting us in Kansas. As they were walking from our door to get in their truck and head back to California she turned to me and said “Keep your eyes open for a house we might buy here.” I looked at her husband and he said “Yeah, we’re getting old, we’re ready to leave California”. I could not believe my ears.
But you better believe before their vehicle was out of sight I was already searching for homes to buy on the internet. I dragged my husband all over Wichita to open houses and model homes. Taking pictures and videos, doing live video tours with Lois. With the help of an amazing realtor (thanks, Rebecca) I found a home just 3.4 miles from our home. Within three months it looked like the move was perhaps going to happen.
We helped them prep their home for sale in California, then we returned after it sold to help them make the trip back to Kansas.
Home. She came home. The wait is over. Could I now beat her at tennis? Probably not. Even though she’s fixing to add one year to….several. I’m 16 years younger but also old. **sigh** It’s okay. We’re pretty much unbeatable at Dominos.
And we both love and trust Jesus. That’s really the best part. One day all of us sisters will be together forever.
Every time I drive down Woodlawn I look to the right and see their home. It is just so amazing to be able to drive less than 5 minutes and be at my sister’s home. Worth the wait.
Happy Birthday, Lois.