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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v07n09)
Right in my Own Backyard - A Sentimental Moment - by Brandt Carter
posted: Apr. 30, 2010

Right in my Own Backyard header

A Sentimental Moment
Visiting my sister for a long weekend brought back memories of growing up. One night I found myself calling to her from the guest room across the hall, "Remember when we used to share a room?"
We grew up sharing not only a room but lots of other things too. I didn't get my own first coat until I was 12 years old because I was always in line for her hand-me-downs. I was the youngest of three, and our family shared one bathroom, one TV, and one car. We even shared our phone line with someone we didn't know. When our party line rang two long rings we knew to pick up. We shared piano teachers and school teachers. I was often called by my sister's name because she was first.
I remember shushing each other when we could hear our parents rounding the landing on the stairway. Some nights we had to quickly hide Puff, our calico cat. Dad didn't like animals in the house. We would stay awake watching lightning bugs on the screens and take turns going for cold, wet washcloths for our foreheads on hot August nights. By day we didn't spend much time in our bedroom; it was too small. We always went outside to play when weather permitted, and on the way out we were admonished not to slam the door. "You don't live in a barn!"
Even when we moved to our larger home, my sister and I still shared a room. It had to have been tough for her because she was older. We got twin beds, twin closets, twin dressers, and twin mirrors. In the new house the kids still had to share their bathroom, and we still only had one TV until a small portable was finally added to the kitchen.

Right in my Own Backyard - A Sentimental Moment - by Brandt Carter
image courtesy of Brandt Carter

I remember the day my sister went to college. I was alone for the first time - no one to chatter with or to say goodnight to. For almost 14 years there had been company; now I was solo. The bedroom was silent, almost too quiet.
Sometimes I wonder if kids today really know how to share. We didn't turn out any the worse for living in what would seem like close quarters by today's standards. We grew up with constant give and take, sitting down to dinner together at six, watching out for one another as we walked more than a mile to grade school, waiting our turn for the Sunday funnies, and loving holidays when the 15 cousins become a frolicking bunch.
I think life was really quite nice back then. Much about it seems quaint now, but I believe it may have taught us very good life lessons. The most important lesson I learned from sharing a room is that having a sister is the best.

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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