I am the oldest of four siblings. My sister Minnie is two years younger. My sister Martha is eight years my younger. Our brother Tom is ten years younger than I am. Mother had a miscarriage between Minnie and Martha, and the doctor told her not to get pregnant again. But Mother and Dad wanted a son. Martha was born next, and two years to the month Tom was born. We siblings seemed to be in two sets. Minnie and I often babysat for Martha and Tom.
I called Martha my “little bit” when she arrived for she looked so small. Soon her crib was moved into my room. In at least two different houses all three of us girls shared a bedroom. At one house our bedroom had a bunk bed and a double bed. In another we had three single beds, called ‟Hollywood” beds because they had no headboards. Of course, we had lots of talks and plenty of giggles, often late into the night, and we had to be shushed. If I would read too long after the required time for lights out, Minnie would start yawning to get me to stop reading so she could sleep. She forced the yawning, but it got results.
Martha, being so much younger, became a tag-along when Minnie and I would play together or with friends. For a while Martha was more like our child than a sister, for we were responsible for her well-being. We had to watch out for her, but that was fine with us.
One incident stands out. Mother was whipping something in the electric mixer and Martha was watching. She got too close and the beaters caught and pulled her hair. Mother screamed and cut off the current, but not before some of Martha’s hair had been pulled out and the beaters cut her scalp. This traumatic accident left us all wary of watching too closely.
Tom was the darling of us siblings, for after all he was the youngest and the only boy. We liked pampering him, even using baby talk when helping him at meals and such. Once while he was eating I gave him another helping, and as usual I told him to say, ‟Ta Ta.” He immediately corrected me, ‟No.” Then he said, ‟Thank you.” Surprised, I laughed, and that pleased him.