Pooh looked on admiringly.
"I'm just saying 'A Happy Birthday,' said Owl carelessly.
"It's a nice long one," said Pooh, very much impressed by it.
"Well, actually, of course, I'm saying 'A Very Happy Birthday with love from Pooh.' Naturally it takes a good deal of pencil to say a long thing like that."
"Oh, I see," said Pooh.
~In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents
Today, ladies, is my sister Anne-girl's eighty-first birthday. It seems like just yesterday we were little girls playing dress-up and cavorting around in the imaginary lands she dreamed up. It seems like just yesterday we were... oh, you're not even paying attention, are you? You're still staring at the first sentence in this paragraph and scratching your head. What on EARTH is bothering--oh, is it the eighty-one thing? Sorry, I've never been good at math. Eighty-one or thereabouts, give or take sixty-six years. Don't quibble about details.
I was two years and five months old when Anne-girl was born, and though I can remember things that happened before the advent of Her Sisterliness, I honestly don't remember what life in general was like without her. She's the Marianne to my Elinor, the carefree to my cautious, the chocolate to my peanut butter, the Bertie to my Jeeves, the figmentation to my imagination (um... don't ask), the other half of me.
When we were little, it was Anne-girl who orchestrated our pretend games, who created the imaginary countries we'd travel to daily. She spun adventures, created characters (and acted out most of them), invented political turmoil and intrigue and mysteries, designed elaborate costumes and towed me along with her wherever she went. Sure, I was queen in name when we went to Jewelbank (the longest-running fantasy land, spanning me-at-nine-and-her-at-six to me-at-twelve-and-her-at-ten) but she was the puppeteer pulling my strings. And I loved almost every minute of it.
I can hardly remember a time when we didn't play pretend games, but as we got a little older, our ways of entertainment began to vary a bit. Winter evenings were frequently spent in the basement, lying on our stomachs on the cold cement floor as we crafted a never-ending story with our plastic Disney princess castle and its miniature figurines. (American Girl paper dolls enjoyed their own flash of fame soon after that, and to this day we still burst into giggles when one of us innocently mentions something about Stirling Howard and a teddy bear.) Summer evenings flashed by out in the backyard, playing runandhide (yes, it's one word) or abstractedly swinging on our creaky old swingset, watching fireflies and giggling about nothing.
Now that we're older, our tastes have changed. Obviously. We still gab, we still giggle, but instead of enacting talent showdowns between Cinderella and Princess Aurora, we challenge each other to writer wars. American Girl books have been shelved and replaced with Pride and Prejudice and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Little Bear is a thing of the past-- North and South has taken its place. Winnie the Pooh, of course, remains the same, because nobody ever outgrows Winnie the Pooh. (See quote at top of post.)
A decade and a half has passed, and a lot has changed, but it's been for the better. We're closer now than we've ever been, and that makes me so happy. Here's to the next fifteen years, sister o' mine. Please continue.
|Anne-girl at age 3 and Amy at age 6|
P.S. Turnips care deeply about many things. Turnips are strongly emotional vegetables. Never forget that nugget of truth.