|Mom, third from left, and five of her eight brothers.|
Her 'baby sister' Roy, alias Rosie, is far left.
A selection from my Mom's journalsThis was my Mom's favorite story . . .
Being the only sister near the middle in a family of eight brothers, I found myself competing with the boys and growing up as a 'Tom Boy'.
I was athletic and could run as fast, jump as high and throw as far as my brothers.
I milked cows, drove and rode horses as well as the boys.
As the fourth in the family, I often considered myself the fourth brother.
In spite of this, I yearned for a sister, sharing my mother's yearning for another daughter.
By the time I was five, I had three new, small brothers but still no sister.
My little brothers seemed more cooperative and trusting than my older brothers; maybe little brothers could substitute as sisters? I decided to try to make one my little brothers into a little sister. Perhaps if I dressed them up in girls' clothes, they would pass as sisters. I rummaged through Mama's trunk and found an old dress and a bonnet with lace trimming.
Armed with these frillies, I looked about for a likely prospect.
Roy, the fifth brother and three years my junior, seemed the best choice. I approached him where he was playing in the yard.
"Roy, come and see what I have here."
He came willingly after I promised him a cookie.
We went upstairs where I slipped him into the dress, tied the belt and put on the lace bonnet, all the time crooning how nice he looked - so very nice. I gave the dress a tug to cover grubby clothes and ankle-height shoes.
I called my new little sister Rosie, my favorite name at the time.
For a while we played games that I supposed girls would play. We played with dolls and improvised a tea party including the promised cookie.
We were having such a good time, just us girls.
It was wonderful having a beautiful little sister.
Finally, I thought and I and my little sister should go for a walk to see the cats and the farm animals which would be frolicking about outside.
I took Rosie by the hand and for several blissful minutes, I led her around the yard, describing all the interesting features of our farmyard and garden.
Luckily, we did not encounter any brothers with their taunting giggles and snorts.
Suddenly a car came into the yard.
The spell was broken. Rosie, reverting to Roy, leapt into the air and shot like a rocket toward the house.
As the passengers poured out of the car, they were surprised to see what looked like a human tornado, shedding clothes as it sped to the nearest hideaway.