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Story ID:10384
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Location:Gilboa New York USA
Person:My kid sister
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By Fred Wickert

I was remembering today what it was like growing up with a kid sister. I was the only boy and I had three sisters. Two of them were older than I and the other one was 15 months younger. She was the baby of the family.

As a child growing up on the farm I was always in trouble. There were some things that I did regularly, knowing full well I was going to get a whipping for it. I did them anyway. I was always making up some sort of an excuse to try to get out of it, only to get a second whipping for lying about it. I guess it had a psychological effect on me because to this day I hate a liar, and anybody who calls me a liar will have a fight on their hands.

That little trait of mine, always being in trouble, came in handy for my kid sister. Whenever she did something wrong, before I knew it had happened, she ran to tell Mom and Dad that I did it. More than once I saw my Dad coming toward me on the double, with a crate slat in hand. I knew from the expression on his face I was in for a whipping. I didnít know why. He always told me the whipping was a reminder I better not do it again. When I protested that I had not done it, I got the second whipping for lying to him. My sister had broken a barn window with a snow ball or some similar infraction, and had told Mom and Dad that I did it. She was believed.

Dad had been a Vocational Agriculture and shop teacher. The doctor had told him to stop or he would be dead in three years because of his blood pressure, so he quit teaching and went to the farm. World War IIhad come and gone. Seven years had passed since he quit teaching. Mom was tired of the farm life and urged Dad to go back to teaching. He got a job teaching in Gilboa, N.Y. in the Catskill Mountains.

When we were on the farm I attended school in the city of Syracuse. There they had a new grade start every September and every January. I never did my homework and I flunked once because of it. That put me back a half year in school. In Gilboa they did not have that. They started classes only in September. They had been conducting some sort of experiment with it and had a special ninth grade class a half year ahead of the regular class. I was put in that class and my sister in the eighth grade.

The following year the school decided to end the experiment and put us all back with my sisters advancing class so I got the ninth grade all over again. Even worse, my kid sister and I were in the same class and remained that way until graduation.

At home, we had a ball. I never knew just where it came from or what it was for. It was similar to a soft ball, but about half the size larger than a soft ball. It had the same type of smooth leather cover sewn on it, but seemed to be filled with sand. It was very hard. If you hit it with a ball bat, it might break the bat and was sure to hurt your hands. It did not bounce like a soft ball or baseball either, and it was much heavier.

One day my sister, my Mom and I were in front of the garage doing something. My sister and I began playing catch with that ball. My mother approached and was saying something to me. I had my head turned toward her and was paying attention to what she was saying. My sister threw the ball hard, right at my crotch. She scored a bullís eye because I did not see it coming in time. I doubled over and fell to the ground writhing in pain, with my hands between my legs. My sister started laughing. It seemed to her one of the funniest things she had ever seen. Mom of course, told her to stop laughing and that it wasnít funny.

My sister was a large framed girl and big for her age. She also had very large breasts. One of my proudest possessions was a heavy white turtle neck sweater. One day I saw her wearing it. I was angry about it because she never asked me if she could use it. She just helped herself. Mom told me to stop complaining about it. She said it wouldnít hurt it and I didnít need it at the moment.

The next time I wanted to wear that sweater, I put it on and was appalled. My sister had very large breasts and in the chest area the sweater had stretched so that when I put it on, it looked like it had two empty sacks in it. My sister laughed long and loud about that, and she ended up with my favorite sweater. I never got another to replace it either.

One summer day I was approaching the house. My sister was sitting in the shade under the kitchen window that was over the kitchen sink. There was no such thing as air conditioning in those days, and in the summer all the windows were wide open with screens on them. My sister was doing something with an object she was holding in her hands.

She began to sing a song out loud. I heard the lyrics, ďNever trust a sailor, Iíll tell you what heíll doĒ and then I heard Momís voice yell out the window to her. Mom told her to shut her dirty mouth and to never let her hear that song again or God help her. My sister instantly stopped the song. I was of course intrigued. It was a song I had never heard but because of Momís reaction, I knew I wanted to. Many times I asked my sister to sing that song or tell me the words to it and she never would. Of course I knew better than to ask my mother. To this day I am still wondering just what that sailor is going to do.

When I was in high school I had a reputation as a ladies man. I had more girl friends than anyone. A new girl came to school and she worked in the school cafeteria. She was really cute and I wanted to get to know her. I introduced myself, talked to her for a few minutes while she worked, learned her name and got her phone number.

A school dance was coming up. I decided to ask her for a date for the dance. I was not quite prepared for what I ran in to. To begin with, she was living at her Grand Mothers house on South Mountain. Her grandmother was the person who signed my Dadís pay checks. She was the treasurer on the school board of education.

Her mother told her she had to be home by midnight and she had to meet me first before she would allow me to take her daughter anywhere. I had to come in the house and be checked out before I could take her daughter out of the house to go to the dance.

The school dances were always from nine P.M. until one A.M. They didnít start until nine because most of the kids lived on dairy farms. The boys had chores to do in the barn, then eat supper, take a shower, get dressed and then drive great distances to pick up their date and then go to the school. There was always a band. The members of the band had to finish their work, some of them were farmers, and after eating and getting cleaned up, had to drive great distances to get there. If the dance start time was any earlier, nobody could get there. The basketball games were the same way.

The last straw came when I was informed that I had to take my sister with me on the date. She wanted to go to the dance but had no date. If I wanted to be allowed to use the car, I had to take my sister with me. I called the girl with the news and she was okay with it. In the meantime her mother was having second thoughts and was wondering if perhaps she should insist on a chaperone to accompany us. When her mother heard my sister was coming she was very happy. There it was. I was stuck with it and had no other choice.

My sister did go with me and she did not interfere. She was also not against leaving the dance early. The girls Mom said she had to be home by midnight. The dance started at nine. They had a half hour intermission beginning at eleven. We left the dance at the beginning of intermission. It was a seventeen mile drive to where the girl lived from the school. My house was only three miles and I dropped off my sister on the way.

When I got her home, her Mom invited me in. She had just taken some brownies out of the oven. I was seated at the kitchen table, given a tall cold glass of milk and a plate with a half dozen brownies on it. I ate them all. From then on I was very popular with the girlís mother. The mother was popular with me also because whenever she knew I was coming she baked me some fresh brownies and they were so good. She always filled them with nuts.

In our senior year, my sister was on the committee for ordering the class rings. I had a pair of cowboy boots that had been hand made in Great Falls, Montana. I loved those boots and wore them everywhere for they were the most comfortable things I ever had on my feet. My family did not have TV but there was a popular TV program in those days called Hop along Cassidy. I had a couple of western shirts I often wore and those boots, so the other kids started calling me Hoppy and the nick name stuck.

When we were ordering our class rings we were asked what we wanted to be engraved on the inside of our rings, if anything. These rings were nice, and they were expensive. When I ordered my ring I instructed the engraving to say, Fred Wickert, June 1952. When the rings arrived a couple of weeks before graduation, I was given mine. I tried it on and the fit was perfect. Then I took it off to examine the inscription. Inside my ring was engraved, Hoppy, class of 52. My kid sister had struck again. The other two girls on the committee I am sure were amused but I was not. Unfortunately there was nothing I could do about it except complain, but nobody seemed to care. I was stuck with it.

In the long run it really was not important and made little difference. After I went in the Air Force I gave the ring to a girlfriend. While I was overseas she wrote and told me two guys who worked with her at her summer job had stolen it and she never got it back. In the meantime I had met the girl I was going to marry and didnít care. By that time my class ring seemed unimportant.

In August of 1967 during a national airline strike, my kid sister was killed in a car crash on her way home from work. She left behind a husband and four little boys aged nine, seven, five and three.

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The first photo - Priscilla, my kid sister
Second photo - the author in high school
Third picture - Priscilla's wedding reception on lawn outside church. On left is Dad, then Mom, Mom's Mom, Priscilla and Chuck, her husband.
Fourth photo - Senior trip to Washington during Easter week. My kid sister is the tallest girl and I am the tallest boy.