We all have special memories from childhood - many of which become integrated in the past with input from others family members. This one is mine - it is my favorite.
We were once an Italian family with three children - the oldest was my brother, and then two sisters. I was born after the birth of Madelyn, the younger sister - she was four years old when I was brought home from the hospital. Her name is Maddalena or Madelyn and later "Maddy".
My mother was busy taking care of her family's needs and she picked Maddy to watch over me. Maddy was and still is the most reliable.
One busy morning in the kitchen. my mother asked Maddy to check on me in the crib. Which she did. She reported back to my mother that "the baby has the hic-cups". My mother went over to the crib and alarmingly found that I was having some kind of seizure. I was taken to the hospital where it was determined that I had a convulsion. I was all right and returned home. My mother told me when I was older that Maddy had saved my life.
Maddy did more than 'save my life' - she became my little mother. I missed her when she went to school and she would share what she learned each day & became my teacher. I remember when she was nine years old, she was learning about our Catholic faith and making her First Holy Communion. She was given a small missal book that showed the life of Jesus. She would read the small missal to me and explained what she was taught by the nuns.
When she read about Jesus' dying on the cross, I remember bursting into tears and asking her "Who will take care of us now if He died?" She ran to tell my mother that I was crying over Jesus who had become and still is my 'Best Friend'. I was so relieved when she told me that He was ressurrected and is still among us.
When I become older, Maddy and I played paper dolls together - sometimes cut out from colorful advertisement pictures in the Sunday paper. She had the advantage of being older that she always got married to our favorite movie star first. She always taught me about right from wrong and I loved her motherly ways. She didn't raise her voice or hit me - she quietly explained the 'right' things to do.
As we got older, Maddy still found time to tell me about good from bad - how to behave at parties where boys were involved, how to evolve through natural teen changes and how to be a lady. Although she had a boyfriend at age 16 whom she later married, she still took time to bring me along the better paths,
We still laugh at how she reprimanded me if I didn't listen to her. If she asked me nicely to "dry the dishes", I ignored her and made believe I didn't hear her. A few minutes later, she would say "I'll give you five minutes to come dry the dishes." I always dashed in to do them. Years later, I asked her what would she have done to me if I didn't come right away? And she said, "I wondered about that, too, Thank goodness you always showed up".
Maddy 'looked after me' throughout my own teen-age years. When I graduated from high school, I quit my senior year job working after high school from 3 pm to 6 pm and all day Saturday - I was tired and wanted a break but not long afterward, Maddalena brought home an application from the well-known company where she worked. She asked me to fill it out and that she would drive me to and from the company if I was accepted.
I had good grades but wasn't looking forward to becoming a 'working' girl again. It was an opening to a good job that fit in with many of the courses I had in high school. Maddy was good to her promise to bring me there and home. I remember that I loved the cafeteria they stocked every morning and lunch time. I ate too much of the breakfasts and lunches. One day, I encountered my sister who was getting something from the cafeteria -- she looked at my plate and pleasantly said, "Now I know why you are gaining weight"....something teenagers don't want to hear. I cut down on the mashed potatoes and 'main dinner courses' they sold at that time and ate more sensibly. She had such a good way to put me on good courses again and again.
Did I ever get mad at her? In all the years we have enjoyed a close relationship - we never fought. Never had an argument or bad mood toward each other. She is a peacemaker who 'talks' things out - not fights things out.
Much of that could be our personalities. I do love her like a mother or informant of 'what do I do now?' She always guided me. In later years, we have found that we simultaneously get the same ailments, health issues - like chipping the same tooth on the same day or having a pain in our right sides at the same time and many other minor happenings. I told her once that I think our Mom really had twins when she had us - but I took 4 years longer in the birth canal to join my 'twin'.
I am so blessed to have her in my life. She is the peacemaker with everyone - forgiving those that others would or could not. She is loving and giving and is loved back by all. She keeps in touch with our many family members even those far away and their children. She gives us updates on our relatives who love her back. She is my first person to call for advice.
She was blessed to marry her teen-age sweetheart. They are married for over 6 decades and they are role models of happily married couples. He is very much like her.
They have found themselves in each other.