There's Something About Mary

I was the youngest of four sisters.  I love them all and individually.  They each have amazing unique traits and talents.  I still learn from all of my big sisters to this day.

My sister Mary Ann is a real chef, retired. She honed her skills in Fort Wayne, Indiana and then in Sarasota, Florida.   She's our eldest sibling.  She lived a whole different life being that things were another way back when she came into the midwest world.  1947, my parents were very youngish.  She would grow up alongside some of my dad's younger brothers.  She would hold a lot of responsibility and it seemed she became an adult quickly due to all this.  I never saw a picture of her as a young girl playing.
Growing up for me, Mary was sort of the bomb.  In the 70's she wore the false eyelashes, white lipstick and shiny white crinkled patent leather boots.  And wigs!  It was like living with a famous Rockette.  We had hose hanging in the bathroom and lots of makeup cases everywhere.  It seemed to be a production getting ready for dates or outings and I was always very curious to hear of her exploits.  But even more than that she was always reading and sharing exciting tales of higher ideas and ways to improve oneself.  She was a good teacher and she liked to hear what I had to say and a young kid which was kind of unheard of back then. Her friends were very colorful and full of fascinating thoughts about life and most seemed to appreciate me as much as I them.
Her boyfriends were always very charming and my sister Rachel and I would put on little shows for them, variety shows complete with costume changes and dance numbers.  We'd rehearse back stage, which was usually in my mom's room and find wardrobe pieces before coming down to the little side room off the living area where her and her beau would be nestled together anticipating the performance.  Mary would always make sure we were rewarded with 50 cents.  I believe my costar stepped out of the limelight for a couple of nights for reasons I can't recall and that's when I realized I could make double the money becoming a solo act and I had complete artistic control of all the numbers.  I loved how Mary would act so pleased and called us doll and I learned to give flirty eyes to men.
Mary gave up her career to help my dad start his restaurant business.  When you're young big stuff happens and sometimes you're so far removed from all the seriousness of it all.   I was only 9.  But I know it was a huge sacrifice for her, one that maybe she sometimes regrets.  My dad, bless his heart can be more of a taker than a giver.  He did provide plenty for us though and we never lacked anything.  Dad was smart in enlisting Mary to help with the start up and she doesn't get the credit she deserves for any of that work she did to make it go and successful. You never hear about her or Rachel when talking about their successes or even my mom for that matter but she was key, as each of them were.

There is something about Mary that is so strong and smart.  She taught me so much about how women can be interesting and strong, artistic and in charge.  She showed me that I had value and girls could be complex and fascinating for what was inside and not just what they looked like.  I don't know any women like Mary and wonder if I ever will.  She's pretty incredible to me.

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