This picture was taken on our farm in 1960. From left to right are Linda, me, Curt, and Debbie. Our lovely mother is behind us. My mom says this is a rare photo because I'm in it. At age three, I went through a spell of camera fright. I used to run and cry at the sight of one, whereas Debbie's unique impulse was to scratch.
My little sister was a kewpie doll cutie. Anytime we had company, they would go on and on about her big blue eyes and want to pick her up and carry her around. By the time I started school, I was pretty sick of it, which was, I suppose, the reason I told a couple classmates one day that she had unexpectedly died in the night. The news spread quickly and before I knew it, I was repeating the tragedy to my alarmed teacher, looking as sad as I could fake it. Although I enjoyed the sympathetic attention, my conscience started bothering me, and the next day I owned up to the fib. I tried unsuccessfully to smooth things over by saying it was a joke.
The sibling I quarreled most with was my older sister. One time in the barn, I called her "Big Butt" and she overreacted and threw an egg at me. Ordinarily her aim was terrible, but this was her "lucky day", as she still likes to say. Not only did the egg hit me, it was rotten besides. Thankfully, the stench wore off by the time I was old enough to date.
As a rule, my brother was mean. He got a kick out of ridiculing us with nicknames. When Linda went through a pudgy stage, he called her "Chubby Checkers". I had an overbite from sucking my thumb (insecure) so he named me "Charlie Horse." He referred to Debbie as "Beautiful" in her early adolescence, when she was gawkily unattractive, even though he knew she couldn't help it. He also dismantled our bicycles and used them to build a go-cart.
Were we unusual? It would ease my mind to know other families have sibling battle stories.