I am the second born of nine children. I have an older sister, Gloria Jean. She was named after a movie star, Gloria Jean Schoonover. In her youth she was called GlorJean because in the south everyone always had a double name… you know like Jimbob and Billybob… and when someone said it they just kinda ran the name together. Everyone always called me Clarjane (Clara Janie). Now, I call her Glo Glo and she is my best friend. It wasn’t always this way, as I was convinced as we were growing up that she was always trying to kill me, or so my child mind thought at the time. My sister was always a very inquisitive and bright child and, unfortunately, I was always the one she used to prove (or disprove) her theories.
One night my father and my sister were sitting at the fireplace and my father had the poker in the fire stirring the wood around and he explained to her that if you left the poker in the fire long enough that it would turn white and that it would be a cold heat. A few nights later we were both sitting on the hearth watching the flames flicker at the fireplace, and, of course, I had not been privy to the conversation she had with my father several nights before, then she calmly placed the poker in the fire and let it remain there until the poker turned white. Whereupon, she then proceeded to remove the poker from the fire and place it on my leg and calmly turned to me and said “Is that hot?” I let out a scream that brought Mama running to see what harm had befallen her precious second child. As soon as it was determined that I would live, Mama took me into the kitchen and put some kind of ointment on my leg and pretty soon, it blistered up. It was quite painful and took several weeks to heal. To this day, I still have the white scar on my leg where Glo Glo placed the poker and I delight in showing it to her sometimes.
The second such incident took place in the garden. I think I was about 7 at the time and we were harvesting the vegetables and getting things ready for Mama to cook and we were in the pepper rows at the time. Glo Glo comes to the row of hot peppers and she had read somewhere that the juice in a pepper was very hot. So she is going along the row picking the peppers and she asked me to come over to where she was so she could show me something and I trotted over to her like a little puppy to see what she had. What she had folks, was a red hot pepper. She said “bend down and look at this”. I should have known what was coming… but you know that little voice that develops inside of your head that tells you not to do something… well, apparently the little voice had not yet developed in my head and so I bent over to look and as I did she proceeded to break it in half and the juice from the pepper shot into my eyes… blinding me and she says “Is that hot?. Again, the screams ensued and Mama came running to find out what harm had come to her precious stupid second child. Mama took me inside and rinsed my eyes with clear water from the well and continued to do that for a while. Pretty soon, Mama was convinced that I was not blinded for life and that everything would be ok. The pepper incident did get me out of work for a while but after it was determined that I was not maimed for life, I was sent back to the garden.
The third such incident occurred out in the yard one summer day when I was about 8 years old. Glo Glo had decided to build something. For the life of me I can’t remember what, but the end result was that she asked me to hold onto this stake while she used a brick to hammer it into the ground. And again… still no little voice. I knelt on the ground and held the stake while she proceeded to hammer the stake into the ground, or at least that is what was suppose to happen. Ooops… instead of hitting the stake, she hit me in the head with the brick. Again, the screams ensued and Mama came running to find out what harm had come to her precious really, really, stupid second child. She soon determined that I was not seriously injured and I just had a big bump on my noggin. It hurt and ached for a couple of days but soon I was as good as new and ready for the next incident.
We now laugh about these incidents and the amazing thing to me is that no matter how we were as children or teenagers, today there is nothing my sister would not do for me, nor I for her. A perfect example of this was when I wore her cashmere sweater to school one day and she saw me in the hall and she grabbed me and told me that if she ever caught me wearing her clothes again, she would rip them off my back right there in the hall in front of everyone. I believe she would have done it too. However, today, she would take the clothes off her own back and give them to me… and has done so… just not in public.
I will always love and be grateful to my sister for all of her love and support. She has taught me many things and I admire her for her generous, caring nature and her ability to make me feel better even in the depths of my sorrow. Aside from my husband, Jim, she is the best friend I have ever had or could ever hope to have. God blessed me with wonderful parents and 4 brothers and 3 sisters all of whom I love dearly and am proud to call my friends. Yes, I am truly blessed and give thanks every day of my life for the gift of my family.