The Faithful Big Sister

(In keeping with the holiday spirit, my next several blogs will celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year.”)

A usual Saturday night in December over sixty years ago. My parents went to a Christmas Ball; my dad in a tux, my mom in a long gown. My two sibs and I relegated to the care of an old maid babysitter who made us watch Lawrence Welk as we knoshed on hot dogs and mac and cheese. My little ten-year-old brother, Bruce, and I snuck away from the Lennon Sisters to the upstairs in search of Christmas presents. We finally uncovered a stash of wrapped boxes in the under eaves storage attic. I left Bruce stayed. Unbeknowst to me, he opened the end of every package and peeked.

On Monday morning, our mother discovered the partially opened gifts. When Bruce and I came home from school, were confronted by Mom wrath. “Which of you opened the Christmas presents?”

We both responded, “Not me!”

“They didn’t unwrap themselves!” She followed up with the angry “mom-stare.” (Too bad the Elf on the Shelf was yet to be written.)

After several more minutes of Mom’s inquisition, I admitted I did it. Even though I knew Bruce committed the crime, I was the eldest. I should have made him leave before he got into trouble. In those days, the preferred method of punishment was swats to the backside. Thankfully, my mom was not an accomplished swatter, and I survived.

On Friday, our babysitter, who was also our weekly cleaning lady was busily dusting around. “Louiseabelle, do you know what Sue did Saturday night? She opened all the Christmas surprises! I was so mad I paddled her.”

“Mrs. Meikle, Sue didn’t do it; Bruce did.”

“But Sue admitted it.”

“Yes, but Sue didn’t do it. Bruce did.”

When Bruce and I walked in the door after school, we were faced by an angry, firebreathing dragon, AKA Mom. “Go to your room, Bruce, and stay there until your father comes home!”


“Because I said so.” (Classic Mom words.)

Of course, Bruce earned some swats that night, but to this day, it hasn’t curbed his inability to wait until his birthday, Father’s Day, or Christmas. In fact, his Christmas present from my sister and me is sitting on the bench inside his house. According to the picture he just sent, it remains unopened. Doubtful. Fake news!

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