My oldest piece of work, Sarah, was always a prolific writer and started by slipping notes under our bedroom door, expressing her extreme displeasure when the Stork added her brother to the family in 1985. Over time, her printing became smaller, evolved to perfect double spaced cursive, then eventually single space Word Star documents. My wife enlisted her aid in rewriting, proofing and editing innumerable SOP manuals for the US Navy, inadvertently(?) preparing Sarah for her own successful Air Force career. To say Sarah was excited when that same Stork finally brought her a little sister in 1990 would be a gross understatement. The following was an open letter on Facebook from Sarah to Caitlin, November 2012.
Happy 22d birthday, Caitlin! I have been ecstatic about you being on this planet since the moment I knew you were going to exist. I literally walked into 4th grade class, and for show and tell that day, I told them YOU were happening. I remember Dad printing out a 30 foot banner from our old color dot matrix printer and hanging it on our deck, announcing to the world you had made your entrance. I remember the grandparents visiting to celebrate this same occasion for what literally seemed like an eternity (and I gave up my room/sanity for this same amount of seemingly never-ending time, and yet they didn’t stay for Christmas?) I remember every hilarious thing you ever did:
1. “Gimme the forty dollars” (Dad, the money tree)
2. Wearing Mom’s pantyhose to church on Christmas Eve at the ripe, mature age of two
3. Having to get a running start from the door in our bedroom to try and get into your first big-girl bed and failing nearly every single time
4. That dance you had to do to that Jimmy Buffet song “Volcano” and us practicing it a million times and slapping each other with the dance moves as we did so
5. You purposely spitting juice out of your nose like 10 times in a row only because I couldn’t stop laughing every time you did it
6. Certain, dead-on impressions of certain grandmothers
7. The look on your face when I made you ride Steel Force (the 275ft roller coaster) at Dorney Park at the age of 8
8. “A video? Haaaaaaaaaaaay”
9. Singing the American Idol theme song every time we talked on the phone (yet the song has no words)
10. We can give most of the credit to John for this, but your inability to control your hysterical laughter when we watched old home videos of John doing his ninja action moves in slow motion
11. Labeling all of my moving boxes with a general descriptor, followed by the word “Shenanigans” (kitchen shenanigans; towels and shenanigans, etc)
I could list these things forever. You are a funny chick. And, irregardless of the fact that I am your sister, I am seriously one of your biggest fans. Who couldn’t love and admire such a smart, talented, kind-hearted, selfless person? I adore you, and those who think differently - F them. I wish I could be there to help you bring in your 22d year of life in epic fashion; I love ya and hope you celebrate this special day as much as I celebrate you!
A handed down family tradition from the Great Depression was home made Birthday cards and wrapping Xmas presents in the old colored cartoons from the Sunday newspapers.. At some point, while still learning to spell and print clearly, my son John 'created' Happy Bifdax, and Merry Crimmus. Like all good memories, it keeps coming back for an encore every year or so.
Hope you enjoyed this as much as I