I have mentioned many times that Little Sis is a lot younger than I. She's 12 years younger, as a matter of fact! When Mikey and I started dating in December of 1964, I was 18, he was 19, and Little Sis was 7.
Our first Valentine's Day together, was the following February, when we had been dating for only about 2 months. We were still in the blissful first blush of love! We were crazy about each other. We were both attending the U of I at Navy Pier in Chicago. We both still lived at home; me on the North side of Chicago and Mikey on the South side of Chicago. Neither of us had access to a car. So the bus and the El were our only means of getting together. He lived about 20 miles from me (Chicago is a BIG town) and it required a couple of buses and the El to get from his house to mine. Obviously it wasn't all that easy or quick for him to come to my side of town, but he did as often as he could.
What that meant was that when we did get together for a date we were starved for time together so we started out as early as possible and he stayed as late as he could and still get home by his curfew.
At this same time, my 7 year old Little Sis somehow developed a pretty nasty infection and was actually hospitalized in Isolation so they could give her lots of antibiotics and monitor her till the infection surrendered and disappeared. It turned out to be the Infant Isolation unit so she was in with babies. That certainly didn't help the situation, as she had no one to talk to or play with and she was bored, lonely, and pretty unhappy. She was there alone that day because both mom and dad had to work, so I was going to visit her instead.
It was Valetine's Day and Mikey and I had a date; as was our custom we started out in the early afternoon and would be together till late into the evening. I don't remember specifically what we were doing the rest of the day, but we were going to start by visiting Little Sis in the hospital before we went on to our Valentine's Day activity.
When Mikey arrived he gave me a very cute Valentine's stuffed animal, a little Scottie dog. It was the very first present he ever gave me!! I loved it! I loved him! He loved me! Oh, it was just young love at its gooiest!
So off to the hospital we went, Mikey, me, and the little Scottie dog. Can you tell where this is going? Unfortunately, I couldn't, so I was unprepared.
We walked into the Isolation unit (why we were allowed to do that I don't understand, but we were.) Well, Little Sis immediately focused on the cute little Scottie dog and quite reasonably thought it was a gift for her! Her face broke out into this enormous smile and she was so happy to see that little dog, and us too!
Before proceeding, I'd like to clarify that I had never visited anyone in the hospital before. I was unaware that going empty-handed to visit a child was really NOT the thing to do! I didn't even think about bringing her something. I was just 18 years old and my mind was lost in Love Land and my focus was all about Mikey and me. (That's not an excuse exactly, just an explanation.)
Well, this is where I fell off the track toward Big Sister of the Year. I told my sweet, sick, lonely, 7 year old baby sister, that the little dog was (oh, I'm so embarrassed to admit this) NOT HER'S!! Oh the shame of it now! I told her that it was my brand new Valentine's Day present from Mikey and she could NOT have it. I was a real pal! Couldn't I have managed to "Give the Kid a Break"?? After all it was just a little toy and she was just a little girl alone in the hospital! Evidently I couldn't! Oh no, not me! My thought was how could I give away his first present, with him standing right there??? I wasn't being intentionally mean, just stuck on the wrong priority!
|Little Sis at 5 years old|
P.S. Just so you know what a great sister I've got, yesterday on the phone she told me she didn't remember staying heart broken for long. It didn't turn out to be as traumatic an experience as it might have been. Still, it's been 46 years (or thereabouts, -- better LS??) and we both still remember! I have no idea whatever happened to the little Scottie dog, but Little Sis and I are still pretty close. So I guess it turned out okay. Thank goodness!!