Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Tribute

Memories are good, comforting, and healing. My dad wrote a few memories of growing up with his sister Helen. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing.

A tribute to his sister, by Dick Bruce

Helen was "one of a kind"..............As my big sister we were very
close when we were young. She was a "tom boy" and took care of
me. (She had to because I was a wimp!) We had our own scraps but
if anyone picked on me, she would be there to finish my fights. Did
I tell you, she was the toughest kid in town!!! I was there when she
got her arm broken in the wringer, when she smashed our back door,
chasing me, and another time she was chasing me and I bounced thru
our living room front window. I was there to watch her become a good
piano player, and singer. We ice skated together and did a lot of
dangerous sledding on the highway above the school house----where we
were not supposed to be----and, ta dum*** she taught me to
dance. Later on her independence got her in a lot of trouble with
Mother and Dad but she made up for it by being a devoted caretaker
when needed. I envied her free spirit and I'll miss her.

I didn't know Aunt Helen played the piano and sang. (Oh, that explains the enthusiasm for karaoke at our family reunions.) I didn't know she broke her arm in the wringer washer. (One of my brother's got his arm caught in a wringer too. His arm wasn't broken, but I remember it turned purple. Child eaters, those things were.) Dad introduced us kids to ice skating on the Stoney Creek River too...such fond memories, and some that make me shudder.

I don't believe the part where Dad says he was a wimp. And, he certainly downplayed crashing through the window at 4 years of age. Helen chased, he ran and jumped on the couch and, oh no, bounced out the window. The lower part of his face was bleeding profusely. Grandma had to scoop him up and run to the nearest doctor. With a gaping hole in Dad's chin the doc had to work fast. He flapped the torn skin over the hole and sewed it up. It healed, but it was, and will forever be, distinctive. I still remember when a little friend asked me why my dad had a scar on his chin. I looked at her quite puzzled, "What scar?"

Grandparents, Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, family. They are so familiar to us we don't see their blemishes. Their presence is taken for granted, and we don't anticipate them leaving us. But when they leave they take all their stories with them. So, go sit at someone's feet and ask for a story. If no one is coming to ask, go write down your own story. It'll mean a lot to someone someday. And while you're at it, tell someone you love them. That will mean a lot right now.

Thanks, Dad, for sharing a little bit of life with Helen. I love you...and Mom too!

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