Maybe if I’d had a sister, things would have been different somehow. Maybe if I’d had someone to share my feelings and problems with, I would not need this “sisterhood” so intensely, so passionately.
However, I did not possess this but instead a brother who was a bit of an “odd fellow” to say the least. He and I did laugh and have some fun times together however he was not my confidante, and he also beat the hell out of me whenever possible just for good old fashioned “boy fun”. To this day I have one front tooth shorter than the other due to one of these episodes. Chester was very sorry after the fact, mostly because he was afraid of the trouble he would be in when our parents came home Yes, I did even love my brother, though I would have fought tooth and nail regarding this matter as a child. But a brother no matter how close, is not a sister and every girl needs a sister. Especially when she was a shy introvert, as I was.
The “sisters” came into my life in later years, one at a time and by the time I was in my 40’s I could not imagine my life without them, Vonny, Miss Lucy and Kenja, (pronounced Kenya , named after her Father’s Homeland), being the 3 closest women beings to me, these Sisters of my Heart. I did have a good and loving relationship with my sister’s in laws also, but there was not the same kind of deep bond and unconditional love we all had for each other.
Vonny I had known since high school but actually became friends afterwards. We were quite different from each other, she was a short fiery haired temptress, (especially with the guys and they had a few choice names due to her red hair), and I was a young mom with a controlling husband who did not want me running around with her. Though some questioned her morals, she raised her son to be a most respectful gentleman, with a gentle and compassionate nature towards humans and animals. She did like to party some in her younger years and went through a few different men in her young life. There was one who was particularly abusive to her son , violating their trust and scarring their lives forever after. She also went through 2 different house fires during these years and there were always the rumors of her burning her homes down, (which did not help her fiery namesake}. Not true, both were accidents. The first one was caused by her young son playing with a lighter unbeknownst to Vonny while sleeping. She escaped with only her “birthday suit” and her son. She must have been quite a sight to the elderly gentleman neighbor who had to battle her back door to let her out and I imagine his heart was not only dangerously racing but also skipped a beat or two when he laid eyes upon her in all her glory!
Her son later blamed it on the “Big Bad Wolf”. Guess that meant that Vonny was “Little Red Riding Hood” . She moved into my place for a little while after that. Over the years, Vonny was my most loyal friend and biggest fan besides my mother. She seemed to think I could do no wrong and she had a heart of gold never judging me in all of my emotional battles within myself. Vonny spent many years in and out of bad relationships and when they ended she never had a place to go, no family in her life to count on, no ace in the hole. I think I may have become that to her in some ways. At one point she lived in a tent with her son. At other times she went back east with her family, but always longing for her home in Oregon, she always returned.
Kenja came into my life through a very dear friend whom my husband had known since the kindergarten years. She was blonde and had the shortest, craziest hair I had ever seen, though gorgeous and a head turner even in ugly old sweats. More than once in our friendship I felt the need to “protect her” from men’s leering glances, something she did not really need from me nor always noticed but I did. An admiring glance can be, well flattering to a woman, but there is a point that goes beyond that, a once over if you will, a disrespectful look that always makes my quick temper come out. I knew that my friend had the soul of an angel and I felt that she did not deserve those ugly type of admiring looks.
Kenja was different than other girls I had known. She was a deep thinker, intellectual, philosophical and had more life experience in her younger years than I had ever had. She was a recovered alcoholic at a very young age, had been through many different waitress jobs, boyfriends and had come to our town to recover from a devastating breakup with her husband, one that left her feeling as if part of her were literally dying. She said she always had felt “different” than other folk, even as a child her family was different, her father was a transplant from Africa, and though he was white in color, had a different accent and different customs than the other children’s families. Kenja was always taller and ganglier than the other girls, and had a different look about her with her cat green eyes and high cheekbones. I had never met anyone who could talk like her, could think like her, could put my feelings into words for me and could soothe my soul as she still does to this day. There was a strength about her and also a delicate fragility just under her surface that could leap out at the most unexpected times. She is the one I run to when I am the most upset. She is the one that encourages me and gives me wisdom and spiritual insight . She has a way with animals and all things green and growing. She has a passion for community and has been known to give of her time for many things, once even working along side others placing sand bags all around our town when the river flooded. She would go the extra mile to help a suffering animal or elder person.
Kenja and I have been through thick and thin together. Many adventures and heartaches. We shall always be friends even into our 70’s or 80’s if we survive that long. We have an understanding of each other that goes beyond words. She also was very instrumental in the building up of my extremely low self esteem and has witnessed many changes and growth in my life.
Enter Miss Lucy, my other soul sister. Miss Lucy was a co-worker at a little deli-grocery where I worked for a short stint when my husband and I separated. It was a difficult time in my life, where I was just awakening to some hard facts about the life I had been living and the idea that there were many choices and possibilities out there in the world available to me. Stepping out of my comfort zone has always been a terrifying experience for me and Miss Lucy was quite a comfort then as she was also going through her 2nd painful divorce. Miss Lucy was short and round and had a soft spoken Mississippi twang to her voice and we became friends quickly, almost over night. We also learned to drink tequila, a short lived past time for us both. Women and tequila are a dangerous pair.
People were always drawn to Miss Lucy, as she had counselor type qualities which she dished out as needed, along with sprinklings of understanding, encouragement and non-judgmental unconditional love. Her ears and shoulders were always open to young and old, drunkard and businessman, (even our boss whom yelled at his wife in front of us) , it did not matter, she oozed compassion and people hungered for it. Eventually these people hungered for it to an extreme and forgot about Miss Lucy when she had need herself. That was a bitter time for her, not sweet at all.
There was one point in her life where her home burned down, (wow 2 of my friends with house fires), due to a candle left burning and she was without a place to live. She did stay for a while in her truck and at other friend’s homes and eventually slept in my daughter’s bed. She would comfort herself reading Winnie the Pooh stories when insomnia nearly drove her mad.
Eventually Miss Lucy left to live with her son, and later on made a nice life for herself with a super best friend husband. It nearly broke my heart when she left, I grieved for quite some time. Lucy and her husband went through the corporate world, later became disillusioned with it all and became a truck driving team together. They are to this day traveling America with their dog Molly and are still madly in love with each other. We do visit every 1- 2 years when they drop by, as a matter of fact our last Christmas Eve was very special as they spent the night in their semi out side of my house. I shall always remember that Christmas. I love Miss Lucy with all of my heart. She taught me that I am a lovely human being and never to be ashamed of who I am and for that I will be eternally grateful to her. Too bad you can’t package and sell that!
So in my mid 30’s through my 40’s, and now my beginning 50’s, my ” sisters” were and are an important part of my life, always there in the background, waiting to help me or catch me if necessary. The intensity of our friendship has moved me to tears more than once. It is never a problem if we go for months without writing or a phone call, they are and will always be there in this life, my lovely, wonderfully golden, “sisters of my heart”.