Sunday, June 14, 2009

Of Sisters, Zithers, and Red Sunglasses

This bookshelf sits in my entry way and holds many meaningful objects . . . memory of a summer spent in Antigua, hand-carved animals from Kenya, my great grandfather's flute.

But one thing it does NOT usually hold is a pair of red sunglasses, doll-size, attached to my grandmother's German zither!

I know to whom these glasses belong . . . a certain American Girl doll belonging to Oldest Daughter, long since put up for safekeeping in the closet.

What on earth? Why a pair of red sunglasses? Why on this shelf? Why attached to an antique zither?

Me: Oldest Daughter, can you tell me what these glasses are doing attached to my grandmother's zither?

Oldest Daughter: Ummm, Youngest Daughter threw them at me.

Me: What ??!! Youngest Daughter, what can be the meaning of this?

Youngest Daughter: Oldest Daughter threw them at me first.

Me: Excuse me (voice an octave higher)?? In this home of constant love, tranquility, and joy??? How is this possible?

Oldest Daughter: She wouldn't stay out of my stuff.

Me: And so you felt the best place in the house in which to keep these red sunglasses protected from the ravages of your little sister was attached to the strings of an aging, fragile instrument belonging to your great-grandmother, probably brought over from the Old Country in someone's leather satchel as their most prized possession along with the only other dress they owned?

Oldest Daughter: Ummm . . . yes.

Sisters . . . spatting . . . loving.

And so it goes on through the day. The two Daughters are next spotted shoulder to shoulder, cheek to cheek coloring the skirt of Cinderella's ballgown and her tiny glass slippers, giggling.

A while later I hear howls as Youngest Daughter is dumped unceremoniously outside Oldest Daughter's door, a voice utters sharp scoldings, and the door slams.

I find them yet later cuddled up together on a one-person leather chair, one earbud of an Ipod in Olders' ear, one earbud of the Ipod in Younger's ear, Younger's head snuggled up in the curve of Older's shoulder, sharing a favorite song . . . a "sister" song, they call it.

Not long after, there is a squall of angry voices, a torrent of tears, a stomp of a little foot on the floor, and something that would sound a lot like a kick to the shins . . . if I weren't totally sure it couldn't be . . . in my house. ::sigh::

How could two girls love each other with such abject adoration and then despise each other with such frustated fury. It's the way of sisters.

Man, I love 'em. With all their illogical, tender-hearted, sensible, catty, cherishing ways . I just adore them!

And I've kept a certain pair of red sunglasses on an aging German zither to remind me just how much.


  1. "the way of sisters" indeed! What a beautiful post. I can so relate, being one sister of three, each only two years apart from the other. It was wonderful, and it was dreadful, depending on the day, or the moment. You can bet I'd never trade it for anything.

    Girl power! :)

  2. Wow! I think we could be parenting the same two girls. I don't have an antique zither, but I have two girls that behavior bears a strong resemblance to your two. :)
    They are so different in their view of the world around them. But they are both my favorite.
    Here was my sister post a little while back.

    Your shelf is so beautiful. One day they can fight over who gets the zither. lol


  3. Yes! You have to keep them there.

  4. he he Shelly
    me and my sister were exactly the same, still are really!! I love the sunglasses I would keep them there now!! xx

  5. I think the zither looks dashing in those sunglasses!

    I love your post. I don't have any blood sisters, just one brother, but I wanted sisters so much! Now I have all of my sisters-in-love and those dear friends that I definitely consider my sisters, but I didn't have them growing up.

    I am so thankful that my girls have each other. I just wish I had been able to have just one more boy for my son so he wasn't the odd man out. With 3 sisters, he just couldn't win. But, he is an incredible son, an awesome boyfriend and will be a terrific husband.

    Funny story - we used to have an old station wagon with one of those way-back, backwards seats. Clarke always sat back there by himself. We called it his "estrogen-free" zone.

  6. I love the photo. (Still haven't found time to check out the site you recommended. Maybe when Otto Fox hits the teen years!) I love that the red sunglasses are still on the zither - by the way, I've never seen a zither until I read this. And I love this post - such fun tongue-in-cheek humor.

  7. Fun to know the story behind some of the artifacts in your bookcase. We never realized th historical significance just by looking at them. The HUSKER red sunglasses look good on it. Maybe we can get you to play a tune or two on it sometime.
    Congratulations on the beautiful work on those booties, they are a real keepsake!
    Thanks too for taking us along to camp with Y.S. on his first "all by myself" adventure. It was fun seeing him in that setting.
    We so enjoy reading your blogs, you are so creative.
    Do & Jo

  8. Aw, I love this post. I never had a sister so the thought was always a little scary, but this is beautiful.