I can remember my sister Anne used to say “The first out is the best dressed.” And when it comes to a house full of girls, truer words were never spoken. I can literally remember going to school with two different shoes. Mom by that time had had it with being responsible for my feet on a daily basis. I was after all the seventh of nine, and there were two little ones’ beneath me that needed a lot more care. O.K., maybe one. In all fairness my little sister Therese was a doppelganger for “Wednesday Adams” . Right down to the deadpan responses and the headless dolls. She had it all over me and one look from those portals of oblivion (called her eyes), and I would just shut up and stand by for orders. I think even my Mom held a grudging respect for “Ittsa Bittsa” as my brother Will called her. Yeah, but I noticed he never looked into her eyes while speaking to her… She looked the most like my Mother and was just as intimidating. Small but mighty, she had learned by the age of 4, there was much more to be gained with one raised eyebrow than all the yelling in the world. Anyway my Ma was throwing down the gauntlet of responsibility for my feet at the ripe old age of 9. Don’t laugh there are some Mom’s out there who NEVER relinquish control of their child’s body or actions. I can still remember one kid named David Hall in grade school who was the smartest and best dressed kid in our class. In 5th grade he actually had the audacity to ask our teacher, Sr. Columbia if he could call his Mother to bring his homework to school. Sister let him. But there was a subtle shift in the air…Sister looked at this “A” student a little longer this time, like she was marking him. Then his Mother showed up with the homework. His reputation was shattered, no more was he the smart well dressed handsome lad he was before his Mammy came running. Now he was just another pompous little dictator who ran his Mothers world, and couldn’t even take a “Knock” in his own world. Count me blessed, unmatched shoes snarly hair and all. At least the world knew I was responsible for myself. I may have missed the lessons on getting things done on time, on wearing matching clothes, but I got the lessons on being responsible for yourself and the benefits of it.
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