Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Life Changes, Graduation

June is the month of Father's Day, weddings and graduation. Isn't it funny how that works? Father's Day I understand, I just wrote an article about the history of the holiday for the Tombstone Times. It is in honor of a Washington State woman's deceased father's birthday. She didn't think it was fair that there was a Mother's Day and not a Father's Day.

Graduation is obvious. The kids got out of school to help on the farm in the summer. I often wonder why we still follow that schedule but that's the way it is. And maybe that also has to do with the brides. The young ladies graduate and it's time to move on. Or was it because travel was easier in the summer? I haven't studied the history of weddings and frankly I enjoyed my October wedding...especially here in Arizona; although we almost got snowed in in Aspen on our honeymoon which would be fine but most of our stuff was still at my sister's in Denver.

But, I digress. I brought up graduation because I was thinking about my sister and how her graduation affected my life. She graduated from Great Bend High School 1961.

 She was 19 and I was 8. It was a time of new beginnings for her and I know she was excited to move on with her life. This is actually one of the few photos where my sister smiled.

With the ten years difference, and no siblings in between, Betty's graduation and leaving home brought major changes to my life, too. Especially when she got married and moved to Colorado a couple of years later.
I had my own bedroom for the first time. Since mom worked full-time I spent a lot of time alone.

It was much later that I realized how much that change affected me. Betty was my idol. She was an artist, selling oil paintings and doing other artistic work while still in high school. She controlled the tv and totally influenced my love for Westerns. She had me convinced I couldn't stand hard-boiled egg yolks...because she didn't like the whites.

Betty always protected me and I could always turn to her. Sure we had our problems as siblings but as the years went on they ironed themselves out. I never became the artist she was. I do like egg yolks and popcorn and fried okra which she always ate just like popcorn.

Here we are on the pink couch I will never forget. Betty was 15 and I was five. Another reason I looked up to her... she had beautiful red hair and got to wear all those wonderful petticoats, full skirts and the other 1950's stuff that we all look back on with great nostalgia. Of course, I didn't realize that until much later either. (Besides thatm she was able to do her own hair by that time. Oh the things my mother did to me.)
She was my sister, my sometimes "mom," the artist I wanted to be and she was off living her life long before I even thought about it. Sometimes I miss my sister terribly...sometimes I still feel her near.
How did a major change in somebody else's life affect yours? How did you grow from that experience? What things are you still learning from that part of your life?