Saturday, 21 April 2012

S is for ... Sarah

I'm using today's letter to write about someone I think the world of.

I have one sister. She is exactly 1 year, 10 months, 2 weeks and 9.5 hours younger than me. Her name is Sarah. Sarah is awesome.

Since Sarah is now 22 years old, I thought I would share 22 memories of growing up with her (this is still an ongoing process: neither one of us is a 'grown up' yet).

My first memory is having my photo taken with Sarah. I had to have my arm around her shoulder and I remember being able to feel the elastic pattern across the front of her dress. I must have been about 3 or 4, so Sarah was plenty old enough to be able to sit up on her own, but she kept leaning forward and being a general nuisance.
When Sarah was 2 years old she had to go into hospital and have a tooth taken out. Apparently afterwards, the first person she asked for was me (I don't remember: I was too busy showing off my Polly Pocket rings to the nurses). You know what I did to return this hugely flattering and ridiculously adorable gesture? I turned to our mum and announced that I thought Sarah looked like a monster.
For my fifth birthday my parents gave me a book called We're Going On A Bear Hunt (I hope you know it, I think it should be read to every child). Sarah, who was 4 at the time, knew that I was going to get this book and got so excited about it that she told me very matter-of-factly on the way to school one day that I was going to get it for my birthday. Maybe it spoilt the surprise a bit, but that book is the only thing I remember about that birthday.
Sarah and I used to share a bedroom and, when it was being decorated, we had to sleep in the spare room for a while. One night we decided to have a midnight feast. I don't think we really understood the concept of a midnight feast: ours neither happened at midnight, nor was it a feast. At about 9pm (too tired to stay awake any longer) we tucked into our two Dairylea triangles that we'd managed to sneak from lunch.
When my dad mowed the lawn, Sarah and I used to pretend we were fairies and that the lawn mower was an evil creature that would kill and/or eat us. We never told dad what we were doing and I don't think he ever guessed. Probably just thought his weird children were being weird again.
If I ever couldn't get to sleep at bedtime, Sarah would make up a story for me. The stories always involved a girl called Katy going on various adventures, but Sarah would always let me choose things, places or people that I wanted to be in the story too.
On holidays/vacations I wanted to make friends with other children staying at the same place as us, but was either too nervous or too lazy to do it, so I'd ask Sarah to go and introduce herself first. She sometimes grumbled about it but she never refused to do it.
Up until the ages of 11 and 9 we lived in a semi-detached house. The last panel of fencing at the bottom of the garden fell down at some point and was never fixed. This meant that we could easily go and play with our neighbour, Tom, who was in the same school year as me. One of our favourite games was 'mechanics', which would involve one of us 'falling' off our bike and the other two coming to help. Basically it was an excuse to touch the chain on the bike and get messy. Poor Sarah, being the little one, was always the one who had to fall off her bike melodramatically and then sit around while Tom and I 'fixed' it. Again, she complained but she would always play along.
Sarah and I used to call ourselves 'The Super Sisters' (you have to say it in a loud voice). I suppose we were a kind of super hero tag team (although the only heroic thing we did was 'save' each other from Dad The Tickle Monster from time to time). We even designed matching costumes with a logo across the front which we tried to persuade our mum to make. I think it was purple and yellow.
When we shared a bedroom (some of my most memorable memories seem to come from that time) we also shared a bunk-bed. I had the top bunk first (mum said Sarah was too little - I didn't just call dibs) but after a while we swapped and Sarah got to sleep up top. This suited me just fine, since it meant that I could lie on the bottom bunk and shove my feet between the slats of the top bunk, pushing the mattress up and down, creating a 'roller coaster' for Sarah.
For my tenth birthday I got a Gymnast Barbie. She was amazing because she had joints in her knees and elbows which allowed her to bend (it was revolutionary stuff at the time). When Sarah had a look she accidentally pulled one of Barbie's arms out of its socket and felt so guilty that she nearly cried. We fixed it - the arm went straight back in and it wasn't your fault, Sarah!

We're halfway there, folks. Tea break, anyone?

Speaking of tea, Sarah LOVES the stuff, but she is very particular about which brands and types she likes. When we went on holiday a few years ago, she had a cup of tea at the hotel we were staying at and was so disappointed with it (it tasted like the smell of elephants - I tried some and agreed) that we now take a little Tupperware box of tea bags in case our holiday destination can't be trusted to provide good tea.
Did you ever have a talkboy growing up? The different speed settings meant that you could record yourself talking on the 'slow' setting and then listen back to the recording at 'normal' speed. The result being that you suddenly sounded like Alvin the chipmunk. Sarah and I loved this marvellous discovery and used it to make short radio broadcasts from 'Radio Chipmunk'. Fortunately for us I think all the tapes have been lost or recorded over.
Around the back of the house we used to live in there was a small concrete area between the garage and the garden shed. There was a manhole cover right next to a small step which led down into the concrete area. Sarah and I used to sit on the step and make concoctions (I think we pretended we were cooking) in a dent in the manhole cover. Watery, leaf soup anyone?
In our teens Sarah and I invented a very simple game to wind our dad up (we still play it on occasions). When dad was driving, one of us would suddenly announce that any left turns he took meant that he loved one of us, and any right turns meant that the loved the other one. Instead of dismissing the game as silly and saying that he loved us both equally, dad would panic and try to equal out the number of turns he took, much to the hilarity of Sarah and myself. I know, we're evil.
Sarah and I were allowed to get our ears pierced between primary and secondary school (aged 11 for anyone outside the UK). When Sarah got hers done, she'd already seen me getting mine done and she knew that when the person doing the ear-piercing said they'd do it "On 3", they'd actually do it when they got to 2.  Dad mentioned this out of earshot of Sarah, so they changed it and actually pierced on 1, catching Sarah off-guard. The look on her face was priceless.
My Grandma has loads of card games and our favourite was Woodland Happy Families, which we would insist on playing every time we visited. Each card had a picture and name of a woodland animal on it. Sarah's favourite was Miss Owl. If she got this card she'd celebrate, and if anyone else took it off her throughout the game, they would 'officially' have it, but they'd give it back to Sarah 'to look after'. After a while, mum drew a picture of Miss Owl so that Sarah would always have her.
One summer Sarah went to an activity week which I didn't go to. I was pretty bored without her, so I made up dance routines with a string puppet to an entire cassette's worth of Smurf songs (I've always been one of the cool kids). At the end of the week I performed them ALL to Sarah, who sat and watched the whole thing without complaining. 
Back when we shared bunk beds, and I was on top, I used to wake up before Sarah (probably because I'd made her tell me Katy stories) and I used to lean over the edge, see that Sarah was asleep, and then whisper, "Are you awake?" repeatedly until she woke up. I'm surprised she didn't ever punch me in the face.
At the end of my first term at university I surprised Sarah by picking her up from school (I think she'd been led to believe I was arriving home later in the evening or the next day). I saw her a few seconds before she saw me, but when she did, the most humongous smile spread across her face that I nearly cried from the cuteness.
Twenty One.
Recently Sarah and I played Hide and Seek (told you we haven't grown up yet). We decided that it would be fun if the seeker filmed themselves trying to find the hider. It turned out that Sarah was pretty good at hiding: my film was 15 minutes long.
Twenty Two.
When we lived in Bristol, our favourite thing to do was to go to the zoo (which is where we are in the picture below). There was an aquarium which had a big tank in the middle, and if two people stood in the right place, they could just about see each other through it. We loved this, and one of us would always dash off to the further place as soon as we got into the aquarium. We'd then swap places and check that it still worked (funnily enough it always did).

Me and Sarah


  1. Erm excuse me, memory three is wholly inaccurate! I did indeed know of this surprise but you pestered me to tell you so I did and then you told on me and Mum had to give you the book early because it wasn't fair for it to be a birthday present anymore. If I remember right she put it under your pillow. You may have got a whole extra present that year because I gave iaway the surprise. You. Are. Welcome.

    1. Maybe I should have included a disclaimer at the top of the bloglet: memories are from my point of view and may not be entirely accurate.

  2. Oh and the super sisters arch nemesis was 'Daring Daddy'

    1. Was there Magnificent Mom too?

    2. There should have been! That would have been ace, but no, as far as I remember mum stayed out of our crazy adventures.

  3. What a great tribute to your sister - you are both adorable :)

  4. This is such a beautiful post. As Martha said, a great tribute.

  5. I loved meeting your sister via your memories.

  6. Very cool. I always thought having a sister would be so awesome.

  7. Oh fun! I have an older sister and think sisters are great. It sounds like you guys had a great childhood and now-hood. Thanks for posting!

  8. That is so sweet! I have 2 older sisters who are 11 and 13 years older than me, so I never did fun stuff like this with them. However, I do share a birthday with the oldest. She was not happy with THAT birthday present!

    Lisa, Random Ramblings

  9. Super post, describing a beautiful relationship.

  10. I don't want to sound all touchy feely, but this is a beautiful post. You know you're blessed when you have a sibling that you're close with. :)

  11. Beautiful post but it makes me sad that I never had a sister..