So, today’s Mammoo’s birthday.
For those of you who don’t know Mammoo, let me introduce you:
Decidedly not my (on the left) best moment. Suggestions for uneven complexion, anyone? Hair? Weight loss?
But, Mammoo! Now, she’s a looker!
If you haven’t guessed and didn’t already know, yes, she’s my sister. She’s three years, three weeks, and three days younger than I am. She’s a labor and delivery nurse, currently rocking the well-baby nursery at the hospital where she works in Memphis.
Her real, maiden name, of course, is not Mammoo, but rather Amber Elizabeth Stone. She married CueBall…
…whose last name is also Stone (Not related. We checked. That’s Arkansas. Not Tennessee.), so she’s never had to go through the trauma of having one’s social security card, driver’s license, tax documents, employment papers, etc. changed to a new name.
Unlike me, her name was always her real name. Until the Diva came along. The Diva couldn’t say Amber, so she started calling her Mammoo, and now and forevermore, that’s what she is.
Mammoo’s the kind of person who is a friend magnet, unlike me, who is a friend repellent.
She processes aloud, to my internal processing.
She has a million handbags. I have one.
Which I pilfered from her.
She does not cook (that’s CueBall’s department), but she’s bakes like a pro. Me, I cook and try to bake.
She’s always laughing. I’m always…cynical.
But I’m working on it.
She has a son (above, the Bubbe). I have the Diva (as you well know).
She’s a shopper. I’m a coupon fiend.
She played in the band. I sang in the choir.
She played soccer. I played softball.
She’s the kind of person who’s funny but never, ever intends to be. She says things, people laugh, then she looks surprised and starts laughing too. Me? I think critically about what makes people laugh. Or at least what makes me laugh. You know, funerals and the like.
In essence, no two women could be more opposite of each other. But no two sisters have ever had the experiences we’ve had together.
As kids, our Dad (the Nomad) moved us from here to high yonder about every two years. As a result, we didn’t ever have the chance to make long-term friends. But we always had each other.
Mammoo slept with me, though she had her own room, until she was practically grown. She followed me around, sucking her thumb, for years, much to my consternation and my parents’ amusement. She couldn’t say my name, so she called me Thithy, her toddlerized version of Sissy. In short, she made me crazy and cramped my style. Don’t judge me. I was 10!
As a kid, I once locked her in the garage when I’d had enough. Stop judging me. Mammoo judges me plenty over this incident. Mammoo: bitterness is not becoming.
It was summer. We had a babysitter because both our parents were at work. The babysitter was watching soaps, and Mammoo was driving me crazy. She went into the garage to get something, and I locked the door. It was dark, and Mammoo was scared of the dark. And dogs. And clowns. And storms. And basically anything that moved. When she got back into the house, she called Mom at work.
There’s some good news!
Parents came home. Beatings ensued. Babysitters were fired.
But you know, when my parents went to bed that night, they laughed their heads off!
I didn’t do it again. That was a one-time show.
In high school, she began her freshman year as I began my senior year. She decided to play her clarinet in the band. I drove her to band camp in July before school started in August. Because she had been at a far-away school, she knew no one. She was nervous. Throwing up practically. She cried and carried on and made me promise to come back and take her to lunch because she had no friends and was sure life was going to end before the day was over, and she didn’t want to die alone.
Because I am a good sister (I am. Really. Garage incident, notwithstanding.), I did. When I showed up at noon to take her to Wendy’s, she came out to my car. With 3 friends in tow. In the best mood I’ve ever seen her.
“Hey, Heather,” she said. “These are my new friends (insert names here). Can they come to lunch with us?”
You’ll remember that I don’t like people, right? Insert eye rolling here.
“Sure, ” I said dryly. “Get in.”
We all went to Wendy’s. I didn’t get talked to or get to talk the whole time. They talked of the New Kids On the Block, 90210 (the original version), what boys were cute, and how the July heat made their make-up run. I was just looking for a place to hide and read Shakespeare. It may have been the closest I’ve ever come to actually committing one of the -cides. You know, sui-, homi-, etc.
So, today’s her birthday. We won’t say which one. We live far away from each other (she in TN, me in CA), but this Internet thing brings us close together. I think this Internet thing’s gonna catch on. It might be around awhile.
Happy Birthday, Mammoo!