Growing up with lots of sisters had its perks. Me and my sisters spent summer days locked outside of the house while my mom sewed our clothes on her old Singer sewing machine and listened to Christian radio play ” Day of Discovery” or “16 Singing Men”. We wore those dresses she sewed until they no longer fit and then they were handed down to the next one. We learned to share and share we did; from clothes to shoes to the bottle of Pepsi that my mom made us pass around on the ride home from school.
I never remember sleeping alone. I always shared a room and usually the same bed with my sisters. Most times we lived in the house supplied by the church where my dad preached. They were usually small houses and we were a large family with lots of girls. Since we grew up this way, we never felt slighted and looking back, I think instead we were unusually blessed. I’m glad I never had my own room. I learned to share everything. From as early as I can remember until I went to college I never slept alone.
Sleeping in the same bed meant lots of night-time talking and laughing. We would scratch each others backs while telling stories that never seemed to have an ending but continued on and on, night after night. We would create stories of the adventures of girls like us who had exciting lives that we made up as we went along. We loved to play ” draw a picture on my back and I will guess what it is” although most nights my sister would fall asleep when it was time for my back drawing. We shared secrets that we never told. In that big ole double bed we laid awake and named out future children, decorated our houses and described the men that we would marry. Many a night, I reached over after a bad dream to find my sister’s hand. ” Did you hear that?” I would ask her and she would assure me it was nothing.
In the summer, the windows were up and the curtains would billow over us while we listened to the crickets and made wishes on a full moon. In the winter Mama would cover us with so many quilts we could scarcely turn over. We suffered through bedwetting and middle of the night puking. We learned to sleep with a head full of curlers and fought over stolen covers many a night.
I’m glad my parents couldn’t afford a five bedroom house. They would have laughed at the thought of everyone needing their own room. I’m glad that my girls shared a bed growing up. I’m glad they shared secrets and back scratches and talking late into the night.
And mostly I’m glad that if I hear a sound or wake up from a bad dream tonight all I need to do is reach for The Mister’s hand and he knows. He will pat me and in his sleep tell me “It’s OK”. He does not, however ever stay awake and listen to me decorate my imaginary house……..