Nancy, my cousin…er, other sister

The letter came with extra scotch tape on the seal.

She was family famous for wrapping Christmas presents, usually about a roll of scotch tape on each package regardless of package size. We would laugh and she would laugh. She had and still has a great laugh. She also continues to use lots of scotch tape.

The return address label has a puppy on it. She and her brother had a dog when they were growing up in Red Bank, a suburb of Chattanooga. His name was Spot. The puppy on the label did not look like Spot, but it brought back memories. Her name is listed as “Mrs Nancy Schwarze.” She is also known as Nancy Orr Winkler Schwarze, a history lesson in her name.

Being she is on the other side of this country, we don’t see each other often, certainly not often enough. When we were growing up, i thought she was one of the prettiest girls i had ever seen. She was. i have a photo where she looks like a young Elizabeth Taylor, but it’s late and i’m not going to look right now.

Nancy is two years and change older than me. Her brother Jon, who passed away several years ago was between us. They were so much cousins they were like another sister and brother.

The letter was addressed to Maureen, but Maureen was in Cleveland with high school friends. i cheated and opened it. It was a very nice, heartfelt letter generated by a communication Nancy and Maureen had a month or so ago. The two are alike in they love family unconditionally.

The letter contained lots of news about her family and how she and Bill Schwarze, her husband are doing. It also told of her folks, my aunt and uncle Pipey and Evelyn Orr and the war years.

Then she related a story about the three cousins, Nancy, Johnny, and me. i did not know about this one. i will not attempt to rewrite but give you Nancy’s narration from the letter (with Maureen’s approval):

Jim was two, i think. He was not exempt from getting into trouble. One day, Granny was keeping the three of us out on the farm (the Webster land on Hunter’s Point Pike) while our mothers had gone to play bridge (This was during the war and Daddy and Uncle Pipey were still in the Seabees and Navy respectively). When they got back and came into the house, Granny was sitting in a chair and the three of us were sitting on the couch. The only bath tub in the house was a metal tub on the back porch (i have a photo of that too, but again, not tonight). Our mothers asked Granny what happened.

It seems we found a jar of Vicks salve or Vaseline and rubbed it all each other from head to toe. Granny gave each us a bath in that tub. After that, we went out to let the cows out of the barn, and we rolled in manure. Another tub bath for each of us. Granny sent us out to play and we all played in the do dirt (cow pies and dirt). After the final bath out of nine she had given us that day, she put us on the couch and dared us not to move. 

I (Nancy) was probably the instigator, but I will never admit it.

Now Nancy, my sister, and my brother have better memories than mine. And Nancy did get us, as well as herself, into some difficulties, but i suspect that threesome were all culpable in the antics that afternoon.

Maureen might tell you i haven’t changed.

But i will never admit it.

i wonder how many children in this country today have a chance to do that. i’m pretty sure the answer is none. Sad.

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