I have never been alone. From the moment of conception, as a tiny embryo, my sister was right at my side. Growing up we did everything together, even being born.
Keri was always the leader, sometimes at great cost. She was the first out of the womb, making the way easier for me, but the process took its toll on her. In December of ’74, just two months old, we both caught pneumonia. Being the first born, Keri’s immune system was weaker than mine, and her case was more serious. We were both admitted into the hospital. As my mom rocked Keri to sleep, she noticed her skin had become tinged blue, as well as her lips. Keri was rushed to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. On the way to Children’s, Keri stopped breathing 2 more times.
I can remember spending many nights at my Grandma and Grandad Bailey’s house. During the summers we stayed for weeks at a time. We loved it. Looking back, I don’t know how she managed to keep her sanity. It wasn’t just me and my siblings there, it was ALL the cousins. At any given time she would have 7 to 8 kids running in and out of the house, sometimes more when we brought a friend.
Grandma never minded though. She loved us being there. I can not remember a single time that she lost her patience and yelled at us. That’s not to say she didn’t get on to us. I remember her chasing the older cousins around with a switch from the tree or more often, her fly swatter. I don’t remember ever getting a whipping myself, though I am sure I must have. Grandma had a paddle hanging on her wall that someone had decorated and given her. “Grandma’s Paddle” was written across it. I don’t remember the paddle ever leaving her wall. Grandma and Grandad both were easy-going, never yelling or screaming at any of us. Their patience seemed limitless…….or maybe that is why Grandad spent so much time out in the shed.