Happy Birthday, Dearest Shirleen, Happy Birthday, You YOU. I’m truly sorry about your esophagus and your lungs and the pleurisy and the hiatal hernia and the special test cards whose purpose I shan’t mention here and the work turkeys. I chose them all ESPECIALLY as surprises for your Birthday, but you haven’t seemed to be very excited about them…
Ah - the era in which one could be smocked to death.

Shirleen, Janet & Kate

I believe this picture is circa 1972. Yes, Shirleen was the “pretty” one and I was the “cute” one. Therefore (in my literal child’s mind), she was beautiful and I was ugly. OH, THE BAGGAGE!

My Mom STILL feels bad if we tease her about that one, because OF COURSE she didn’t mean it the way we interpreted it. Oh yes – and Janet somehow construed that she was ugly AND stupid. I don’t even know the origins of that. I suppose we could just go with the proverbial, “Girls, GIRLS – you were ALL pretty!” OR, we could just decide that we were ALL brainless and unattractive in order to be, perhaps, more egalitarian.

If it were not Shirleen’s Birthday I would tell you all about the mischief with which she got away because of her that angelic countenance. She could be very mean and oh-so-sneaky (in a fairly innocuous child’s way) to me and then her innocent appearance usually got her off the hook. Do not – DO NOT – trust her beatific exterior. It belies the fact that she is actually Miss Sneaky MacSneakster!

Wait – that was twenty to thirty years ago. Now she is by far one of the most generous and honorable people I know. Damn.

Oh – imagine that – I DIGRESS. What I wanted to say (again), was HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BIG SISTER! I especially like the last part because it reminds me (and you) that I’ll never, EVER be older than you. But in a nice way… I LOVE YOU!

P.S. Dearest Lil’ Chris, A Hipy Papy Bthuthdth to you, too!