My Sister Joanie
The Power of Wishes
Letter Dated May 2010
Make it a girl, please make it a girl. I want
a sister. Please God, I want a sister.
I said this every day, every hour, every moment since
mom told me there would be a baby coming to our family.
I wanted a sister. When mother was taken to the
hospital, I wasn’t allowed to go along, left at home
like an outcast, I ran down the street.
Please God, make it a girl. Then the rush of
guilt. They wanted a boy. I ran even faster, it was
April warm, God and the trees may be listening but no
one else; past Mrs. Rose’s house, the Bruckner’s, the
Feinstein’s. The ugly dog that followed me was an
adoptee, a white English Bull Dog, Bonnie.
God, are you there? I’ll change my mind. Let them
have the boy. But I don’t… I want a sister. "Please
God, I’ve changed my mind, give them a boy. Forget my
pleading, make it a boy."
Too late. I got my sister. They would have to wait
for their cherished David, or whatever he would be
You were my nine year old birthday present, born
April 20th three days before my birthday. I
would really be a big sister. Well, I wasn’t that big in
statue, but I could be somebody to someone.
You were placed into my arms. You were bald. As you
got older you became a beautiful blond with fair eyes,
and creamy completion. We were a contrast right from the
At first, little sister I was taught to change your
diapers, feed you your bottle, breast feeding wasn’t in
the cards for mother, either by something nature
prevented or by vanity, who knows?
You slept in my room; a crib. If you awakened in the
night, I lifted you out, feed you a bottle and we
snuggled together. You were my every one. There was a
downside. You wet all night. Even with momma’s double
diapering you leaked. I would just make my bed, covering
up the wet. Laundry day, I stripped my bed, displaying
uncommon responsibility after you came along, loaded the
washer without being ordered.
You stood in your crib, bouncing, calling me by what
you heard or thought you heard; Adrienne was Abian. You
learned my name as your first word, maybe because mother
yelled it frequently, Adrienne; get the trash out,
Adrienne, get the dog fed. Adrienne, clean the birds,
Adrienne, water, weed, mow the lawn, Adrienne, do this,
do that all of which I did ― eventually. But when you
called Abian from you crib, I was there. We went on
stroller walks, we played in the sprinklers, we took
your first steps together; we ate at the dining room
table, you in the high chair close to me. You had your
first solid food from the spoon in my hand; we bounced
together in the bunk beds. You rode in my bike basket.
You were a feminine sort. Not like me. But we were
Do you remember the time we went to the Doheny estate
where Daddy had arranged to play tennis on Sundays? I
got to go if mother wanted to sleep late. You wanted to
come along, I wasn’t too sure. This was my private
The Doheny property stretched for miles and miles.
The grand house was at the top of a mountain. It was
like a castle. I could go swimming or spend my time
hiking into this wilderness while Daddy was playing
tennis down below.
So you came along. OK little two and a half year old
sister, you want to come along share my time, my
activities. Let’s go on a hike.
The trail up was just a long walk, but then we went
into the forest. You got scared. I held your hand, but
the downside was too steep for you. You were ash white
with fear, there were your tears that scared me but you
wouldn’t leave my side. I knew what to do…loop our belts
together to make a lifeline. We sat with our butts on
the ground, scooted; worked our way to the bottom of
this mountain. I was scared that you would tell that I
had taken you into this perilous situation. Not you. You
never ever told on me.
Our nine year difference took its natural toll. By
the time you were nine I had left home, trying to be an
We were of such different natures. We had had such
different beginnings. You were the social one, I was the
I never asked for anything, just hoped to be asked;
never wanting to hear the dreaded NO. You were the great
charmer, I envied your technique when I visited home, I
would listen from the next room: