Monday, March 9, 2009

"Baby" Lauren 'n Me

Lauren is about 2 years younger than me, and is the baby of the family. We were together constantly for the first 4 years of our existence, and maybe that's part of the reason why we were not as close once we branched out to play with other friends outside of the family.

I think I tried to pass on to her the same treatment as Patsy gave me, but whereas Patsy was 4 years older & so had the muscle to back up her attitude, Lauren was too close to my size, so she was able to fend off any abuse from me. In short, she just would have none of it, so we were at a stalemate. And since I have never really had an agressive personality & didn't really FEEL any animosity, it was easy for me to drop it. So we got along fine when there were no other friends around, and we easily gravitated toward others of our ages when available.

Lauren - Brownie Scout, ca. 1955Besides our times as Girl Scouts, I remember Lauren & I playing with our Ginny dolls for much of the time, and we spent many of our days twirling Hula Hoops around hips, arms & necks. Countless hours also passed as we played "House," always arguing over which one got to be "Mom." Then there were millions of games of "Clue," and "Chutes & Ladders," and "Mr. Potato Head," & too many others to mention. There are so many memories swirling around in my head! Speaking of heads, remember the times we played with the paper dolls that came with the home permanents that Mom made us suffer through? And speaking of paper dolls, remember Betsy McCall? We'd tear into each new issue of McCall's magazine for the paper dolls - what fun!

Lauren - Hula Hoop
We also had a unique game we invented, called "TV Guide." That magazine's cover often featured people caught in the middle of doing or saying something zany, so they frequently had funny expressions on their faces. Our game was to stand next to each other facing a mirror, & on the count of 3, we'd each yell, "TV GUIDE" while we screwed up our faces, crossed our eyes, stuck out our tongues, plus anything else we could think of to look funny, then freeze, as in a picture. I guess you just had to be there, but we found it hilarious....

Even though we were close in age, that mere 2-year age gap might as well have been a whole generation when it came to the impact of the Beatles from Liverpool! The "Fab Four" captured Lauren's heart & mind instantaneously, while they repulsed me & left me cold. It was 1963. Lauren was a Sophmore in high school; I was a Junior in that same school. But we were separated by a virtual "Grand Canyon" of culture! I was old fashioned - still loved the classical music of my parents & found the Beatles' foreign bobbed hair styles shocking, their music jolting. I resented their intrusion into my American world & still clung tenaciously to my roots - folk music and artists such as Peter, Paul & Mary, Johnny Matthis and my own personal heart throb, Ricky Nelson (sigh).

These differences drove a deep wedge between us, so much so that it seemed our relationship resembled that of a parent-child rather than siblings. Lauren recognized it much more quickly than I did. I remember one heated exchange, when she remarked that I was "the most UNCOOL & UNNATURAL teenager she ever knew!" (she was right!).

Lauren, her best friend, Yvonne, and a couple of her other friends were absolutely captivated by the Beatles & the culture upheaval they inspired. In addition, they were fascinated by a famous model of the time, also English, named Jean Shrimpton. Lauren & her 3 friends studied everything they could find about Jean Shrimpton, Liverpool & The Beatles. They dressed like them, learned to think like them, & even mimicked their accents until they sounded just like Liverpoolians. They even memorized places & addresses in Liverpool where the Beatles lived & hung out! Each one of the 4 picked a personality to "specialize" in. Lauren "became" Jean Shrimpton, & I must admit, she was really good at it!!

Lauren & her date for her high school promI still remember my secret pride when I found out that Lauren, Yvonne & her other friends had taken their charade to a local radio station. They posed as English high school exchange students, from Liverpool, England, of course. The station interviewed them in depth and aired the interview as genuine! We who knew the truth were astounded that they got away with it, but they did. As I remember it, they even claimed to know the English Mopheads personally! They carried it off splendidly, maintaining their accents & characters to the end. I don't know how they were able to go on the radio & not get caught, and I don't remember how they got around linking their school with the story, because that would have surely called attention to them. All I do know is that they had a blast doing it, & to this day Lauren can jump into her Shrimpton character at a moment's notice, instantantly speaking Liverpoolian like a native. With talent like that, I've always thought she missed her calling - she should have been onstage, but she says that she's so intensely self-conscious, the stage fright would have killed any budding career on the spot. Too bad!!

After high school, Lauren went on to college, graduating with a degree in textiles and weaving. She has always been known as the family "flower child," and was at Kent State in 1970 when the infamous "May 4 Massacre" occurred. Lauren is still very much a "hippie" at heart, with a love & respect for all things natural. She is retired now, but was an art teacher for over 20 years. Now she delights in having the time to pursue the arts, and enjoys it all, from weaving to drawing, painting, pottery, and more. She and I enjoy a very close relationship, and the three sisters (Patsy, me & Lauren) have a great time whenever we can get together.

Lauren, I love you very much - I'm so GLAD you are exactly who you are, and especially that you are my sister! My memories of our childhood are full of light, warmth & love, and I've found while writing this that they've even improved with age (just like us - right??)! Maybe that's one of the best things about aging & having "senior moments..." Our memories are sometimes burnished with time & burn brighter, like the patina that gathers on fine polished brass over the years. I've enjoyed going back in time to write of our beginnings, & hope you enjoy the trip as you read it! All in love,
Niki

"You keep your past by having sisters. As you get older, they're the only ones who don't get bored if you talk about your memories." ~Deborah Moggach

2 comments:

  1. Oh my! I was a senior in 63...I LOVED Ricky Nelson...I named my son Ricky...actually Richard...because that's my husband's name...but the real honest truth is...it was because of Ricky Nelson. I have a sister one year younger and one that is 7 years younger. All three of us have different personalities...it is wonderful to share our memories...because each remembers things the others have forgotten! Thanks for your visit!

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  2. nice post thanks for sharing...God bless you...

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