Yesterday, 7 March, was the 35th anniversary of my sister Dale’s death. I decided years ago to not dwell on that date. It was just one day in 29 years of life, after all. But this year I couldn’t seem to avoid it. So here we are the morning after. The day before the 35th anniversary of Dale’s rainy funeral in Sheffield, England.
I didn’t mention it yesterday. I didn’t feel like saying it out loud and making it real.
I kept thinking about how many lifetimes had been lived since then. But, for some, a lifetime is even less than 29 years; for others less than 10 years; and for still others not even one entire day. So, no reason to dwell on that either. It’s been a long time. The world, and we, have changed since Dale’s been gone. She wouldn’t recognize it nor, probably, some of us (although I look exactly the same, of course).
When we moved to Brooklyn in 1964, the doors to the roofs of the five buildings in our co-op were left unlocked. In summer, Dale and I would sometimes go up, 25 stories off the ground, to watch the weekly fireworks in Coney Island.
One year, when I was 11 and Dale was not yet 13, the family was all set to head off for a driving vacation to Quebec, Canada. At 7:30 in the morning, we hauled the suitcases to the elevator and pressed the button. Nothing. My father sent us down to the next floor (there was one elevator for odd-numbered floors and one for even). Nothing. Both elevators were out.
The building had three sections with two elevators in each section. After learning that the other four elevators were working, my parents (probably to get us out of their hair) sent Dale and me down 16 flights of stairs with suitcases. To return, we took the elevator in the center section to the 23rd floor, walked up one flight of stairs to the roof, walked across the roof, and then down to the 16th floor for more luggage. We made that trip three times.
|UP IN THE CENTER, ACROSS TO THE RIGHT, AND BACK DOWN AGAIN.|
Once we had loaded the car, my parents figured we’d all walk down the 16 flights and hit the road. But, as The Dowager Duchess locked the apartment door, the elevator arrived.
Our parents were elated.
The Kid Brother wouldn’t start the trip tired and cranky.
And Dale and I had had another amazing adventure.