April 1, 1955, 7:30 am
I get up, put on my robe, and go to the kitchen where good smells are congregating. I stop; Grandma Vesta is cooking bacon and eggs. “Where’s Mom?”
“Better go ask your Dad.”
“Where’s Mom?” I demand as I enter the dining room.
Dad puts down the paper and pulls me up onto his lap. “You have a new baby sister.”
“Yeah, April Fools. Where is Mom?”
Dad laughs, frustrating me more. “Honey, you have a new baby sister. Mom is at the hospital.”
Mom wasn’t supposed to have the new baby until after the third, her birthday. She and I had planned an April Fool’s joke for Dad that morning. Dad and I were in cahoots for her joke that evening. And I was working with Grandma for Mom’s Birthday Party on the third.
I was 16 days short of my fifth birthday and I was one angry older sister. Dad reminded me to be quiet until Peggy, age 31 ½ months, and Shelley, age 16 months were awake. “Be a good girl and help Grandma out with the other girls; see you at lunch.”
Of course, back in the day, siblings were not allowed to see Mom and new babies at the hospital. We got to talk with Mom on the phone a couple of times. Dad drove us down to the hospital and Mom showed us the new baby from the third floor window. That was disappointing, why couldn’t she bring the baby down to the front door and let us look through the glass? Hospital rules were very strict.
The day Mom and Dad brought Deborah Jo home from the hospital; I would not budge from our Chesterfield chair. When they brought home Shelley, Mom laid her in the chair so she could change clothes. I watched Shelley to make sure she didn’t roll off the chair. (Yeah, I knew she couldn’t roll, it was a big sister thing.) I was going to do the same thing with Debbie. Only Debbie had other plans. She was hungry and Mom had to nurse her.
I was super furious! I had saved that chair all day and now that little baby wanted to nurse! I was the oldest sister and what I said was law!
From that day forward, Debbie threw a clog into my life. She was stubborn, wanted her own way, and not a push-over for anybody. Still is today.
Stand us next to one another and the resemblance is clear; both physical features and personalities.
Happy Birthday Baby Sister! You are the best April Fool’s joke ever!