Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sisters are a girl's best friend

I know that some sisters fight cats and dogs, and some sisters are catty, mean, and jealous, and some sisters never care to see each other, but in the case of my sisters, they are more precious than diamonds. Thank god/dess for my sisters! My older sister, Katja, and I, have been each other's best friends ever since we can remember. Our sister, Della, was always "the baby" who our mom pampered and kept by her side while Katja and I went out traipsing along backroads, catching pollywogs and bees to keep in glass jars. Once, lying on the ground in our driveway, we found all sorts of interesting looking small stones. We thought, wow! these must be worth something! So we put the rocks that we found into a basket and set off door-to-door to sell them. (door-to-door salesman --and Avon ladies -- were very common in the late 50s/early 60s).

Who wouldn't want a hat-shaped rock? we wondered. Or one with small silver specks? or a white crystal band?

Well, no one did. One lady told us that she would give us a penny but to keep the rock.

I remember we walked home very puzzled, wondering why no one wanted our pretty rocks.

Well, we still find stones interesting, and haven't lost that childhood curiosity of finding the beauty in the everyday mundane world.

At some point, our sister Della outgrew being "the baby" and became part of the secret cabal of stone-selling sisters, too. Yet, I think that Katja's and my hand-holding closeness ever since whenever has a lot to do with having immigrated to Port Arthur when we were little and having to learn a new place together. Before Katja went to school, we sisters only spoke Finnish. The community around us was almost exclusively working-class Finnish immigrants, so we grew up immersed in Finnish immigrant culture.

Because she was our big sister and went to school before we did, Katja was the first authority on everything Canadian and how to do it like "Canadians" did. Della, who was born in Canada, got the benefit of 2 sisters' experiences of learning the culture of Canadians, of 2 sisters' language lessons.

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