Tuesday, 24 February 2015

THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING AUNTS



Alright, I will come clean now.  I have been hiding the truth. I was in Jamaica last
week.  I failed to mention to many that I would be going away south, yet again this winter. I appreciate that most people wish me well but the "have a great trip" is starting to have an edge to it and frankly I can't blame anyone. I certainly don't "need a holiday".  I don't "deserve a vacation".  I am not overwhelmed with our Mulmur winter. However when friends remember that I am going away with the my sisters and our beloved mother, their tone usually changes. I may not "need" the sun, but I so "need" the company.
Julie, Karen, our Dad, our Mom, Terry and me
This past week I was hiding in Jamaica as 1 of the 4 Wells Women and our matriarch, Pierrette. This has been our 8th time that our mother has treated her 4 daughters to a decadent trip south, the likes of which we could not take otherwise. Each year we celebrate, together, our father's birthday. We have missed our Dad but honestly if we had made a trip like this when he was alive, Bill Wells would have waved goodbye, wished us well and would have relaxed for the week glad to spend his birthday with his "peace and quiet". He was a man of few words. It may be said though, that with 5 women in the house, he had just given up.

Many have said, countless times, that our Dad was "cursed" with 4 young daughters. They warned him about the teenage years.  They warned him about the promiscuity for which he should prepare himself.  Our father was a calm man and merely relayed that he had had each of us spayed at age 10.


Starting in 1959, each baby girl arriving at 314 Mill street became a new part of a growing coven.  Julie was my parent's first kick at the can.  Sure, they made their mistakes. Sure she spoke French to her friends until they refused to speak to her. She figured this out quickly and then she in turn refused to speak French to my mother. Problem solved.

Terry, Janet, Karen, Julie




I was the second of  4. November in 1961 I became my sister Julie's play toy, a little sister to love and to terrorize. Two years after my birth, in December 1963, came Terry. At 5 lbs she was too small to play very well. She was a fussy baby, we hear.   With this in mind, much to our shock the 3 Wells girls became 4 with Baby Karen the following November. I think Terry and Karen might be called Irish twins with less than 12 months between them. All these babies in late fall begs the question just what the heck was going with our parents in late winter. However I would rather stick pins in my eyes than contemplate this.

My sisters were my first friends. As wee ones, we shared beds and bath water. As kids we shared                                                                     toys
and ski trips.  We played baseball and Bingo. Then eventually as 4 teenage girls we shared clothes and curling irons. It was a house full of tight jeans and platform shoes. We looked alike. We talked alike. Apparently we even had "the same bums". I answered to each of their names as it was not unusual to be mistaken for one another.

 My sisters were my first adversaries. From my sisters I learned to fight. I am not just talking about pillow fights. I am not talking arguments and resolution.  I am not even referring to cat fights. I mean all out bash your sister when she comes out of the bathroom after plucking her eyebrows for too long. Or the famous punch your sister in the throat for wearing a sweater and "stretching it completely out of shape".  Hormones raged. There were arguments over the car, unrelayed phone messages,  boys.  It was not unusual for a Mister to come between me and my Sister.  There were no apologies at 314 Mill Street.  I like to think we had each other's back, but our mother swore we would kill each other.

So now here we are as grown women. We no longer look alike to any great degree. This may be as
we no longer curl the front of our hair. We may sound alike and as far as our butts, well I don't think anyone has really checked in the past 20 years.

 Over the years though, we came to a cease fire and we started to share our experiences. We became mothers. We became aunties. Between us we gave birth to 11 babies in 10 years. Surprisingly some of them are boys. We tried to give each other advice on parenting. We tried to sound confidant and experienced, but it was eventually with a sister that one could admit to know absolutely nothing about feeding this new baby; this toddler who never slept; this boy running around with boots on the wrong feet. Sisters understand when houses are a mess and all you really want in life is a nap. We understand when nephews are wildly jumping on the couch. We understand when nieces shorts are just "too short". Sisters understand that each child has different challenges. We learned over the years, not to judge
 and to "never say never".




We became better mothers by watching each other.
Gathered around the Radio listening to nephew Darrell Evans
Now, as we have all reached the 50 year old milestone (welcome Karen) we no longer pretend to know anything. We willingly admit that we are flying by the seat of our pants as we navigate teenage and 20-something year old children. We talk about joys and we can talk about our struggles. We can talk candidly about marriage. We are all still trying to establish some kind balance between work and home. We can talk about what we see in store for the next 5 years. As we have reached what I am sure we felt, at some point' was "really old" we each have some 50 years of experiences to share and now we do.
I think it is for this reason that we "need this
The Kids
 holiday" and we appreciate, more than she
 knows, the opportunity my mother has
given us to really catch up.  Each year has had new challenges we need to discuss.
We eat a surprisingly large amount of food and drink beer before noon. We sleep a lot. We walk a bit and lie around chatting.  I try to read, but talk instead. The subjects have changed over the past 8 years. Lives have changed. Even the butts have changed. However something's never change.
Sometimes you just have to talk to your sister. 



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