Wednesday, August 08, 2007

fred is forty

My little sister Ann is forty today.
Um, did you hear me? My LITTLE sister is 40!
How in the hell did that happen?

Annie and I have called each other "Fred" for ages. I'm not sure how it started, I vaguely remember laughing until we cried about something that had to do with the name Fred. That was probably 30 years ago.

Ann is fun, loving, thoughtful, stylish and a great hostess.

She is generous with photographs, friends and her love. She's famous for sending cards, notes and e-mails to celebrate birthdays and special occasions.

I called Annie at midnight to wish her happy birthday (even though it was only 9:00 in Phoenix). I'd been calling her all week with messages: "Enjoy the last Monday in your 30s" and other brilliant observations. As the oldest sister I feel that it is my job to tease her.

I was a just-turned 6 year-old, Beth was 4 and J.R. 3 when Annie was born.

Ann asked me what I remembered about the day she was born.
I wish I had a better memory to share than the one I have -- of our Aunt Ann asking me if J.R. had a bowel movement that day. Aunt Ann was fresh out of the convent and in nursing school. Apparently counting BMs was high on her "how to be a good babysitter" list. Asking a 6 year-old about her 3 year-old brothers bathroom habits was something that was never discussed in our prudish household.

(Ann and JR in his back yard -- I still don't ask about his bathroom habits)

Watching Annie swing and giggle does my heart good. She's had rheumatoid arthritis since she was 3 years old. I cannot imagine what living with that pain on a daily basis. She does it with grace and cheerfulness.

Ann and her lovely husband Tim live in Phoenix, so we only see each other a few times each year. They are always in Indiana for July 4th. This year seemed extra fun. We were able to get together several times for dinners, gallery walks and assorted celebrations.
Last year I spent Halloween in Phoenix. I wore my PEZ clown costume to greet the trick-or-treaters in their neighborhood - only a few of the kids cried when they saw me.
They indulged my love of State Fairs and took me to the Arizona version.
Any time spent with them is full of laughter and love.

I love these sweet photos of Ann and our mom. You can tell how close they are.

All of us love spending July 4th together. This photo was taken at the end of the night. The 3 sisters were laughing so hard -- it all started with my Nora sweatshirt and Beth's personalized coolie. Ann decided to make the letter "A" with her hands. One of us had to go to the bathroom and laughing was not making it any easier to pose for the photo.
I squeaked out that maybe Ann should be making the letter "P" which sent us in to hysterics. Growing up in a household were nothing about your body is ever discussed has stunted our sense of humor -- I'd say we're at about at the 1st grade boy level right now.

This photo is not flattering of any of us, but it is one of my favorites -- there is nothing as good as laughing until you cry with your sisters.

Happy Birthday Fred, Jr.


Tee said...

That's a sweet tribute. I'm sure she's going to be thrilled when she reads it. What a great family :)

I have 2 sisters and I have some unflattering pics of us too - but like you, those are some of the best memories.

Jerry said...

Didn't the nuns teach her anything about playing on the swings in a dress? Tsk tsk.

Happy 40th Birhtday, Annie!

Cliff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cliff said...

"She's famous for sending cards, notes and e-mails to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. "
...jeez I hate people like that. It makes me look so bad.

I don't recall reading a more refreshing post. A wonderful post about a wonderful lady and family. Happy Birthday Fred!!

Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

Happy Birthday Fred.
Nora, great post. That part about bowel movements was pretty darn funny.

Jamie Dawn said...

I don't have any sisters, so I have to settle for laughing my buns off with my little brother.
What's wrong with first grade boy humor??!
Potty humor is FUNNY at any age!!
What's that smell???????

Happy B-day to your baby sister, Ann-Fred.

Your love for her and your family shines through in this post. I love seeing family and friends laughing and enjoying life with one another. You are blessed!! There's nothing more valuable than your loved ones!!!!!!

Jamie Dawn said...

I'm serious now...
WHAT'S that hitonious smell????


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Thanks for your vsit, Nora..And A Very Happy Birthday to "Fred"...! I hope she has a fabulous Birthday!
Your loving words about her warm the heart! You all look like you have a lot of fun together!

Rachel said...

Your little sister is lovely Nora! There's nothing better than laughing until you are ready to "P" your pants!! Especially with sisters!!!

gel said...

Oh, this is a heartwarming post down to the nickname of Fred.
Hi, I figured I ought to visit some of the other blogs on Cliff's and Ralph's blogrolls before blogfest.

I know what you mean about little sis b/c I'm the oldest sibling. Hope she had a terrific BD!