Monday, January 12, 2009

My Sister Rose

My sister and I.(Dressed alike) She was two and a half and I, four years old. These are the first photos I have of us. People didn't take many photos when I was a child.

I was fifteen months old, when my mother had her second daughter, and fourth child. We were all born at home as was the fashion those days. The midwife allowed my dad to carry me into the room (I wasn’t walking yet) and together he and I saw the new baby, named Rosemary, for the first time. In the fifties parents didn’t prepare their toddlers for the arrival of a new sibling, like they do today. No matter how you felt; here was a baby cuter than you and you weren’t the baby anymore. My mother was always scrupulously fair and sensitive to our needs so I experienced no such feelings. However, in a family of four children all under seven, my sister and I were left to our own devices most of the time. Oh, we were well cared for and beautifully dressed, but for our spiritual and emotional well-being, we had to depend on each other. I think I realised even at that young age that this dark-haired little doll and I would be closer than twins and that we’d always enjoy a wonderful relationship.

My mum dressed us in identical clothes from the time my sister could walk. This was because my mum, an ardent admirer of the Queen Mum dressed Princess Elizabeth, now Queen of England and the late Princess Margaret, the same. I became a boarder in 1966, and my sister followed a year later. Every afternoon after school, we’d liaise about our choice of clothing and we’d dress the same!
My sister and I as teenagers. Note our dresses are the same!

We grew up in the sixties, which to us, were idyllic times. We were like any regular teenage girls who loved fashionable clothes, make-up, music and boys! We wore sole-less shoes (which my father couldn’t believe we’d paid good money for) and flowers in our hair. My sister and I both played the piano and she played the guitar. When I was sixteen and Rose - as I call her - was a little over fourteen, we attended a Christian camp at the sea. On 9th January, 1969 (which was forty years ago last week) we both committed our lives to the Lord.

Growing up in the sixties, we loved music, wore sole-less shoes and flowers in our hair
Young married mums in the late seventies/early eighties

As young married women and later, mums, we lived close to each other and our two first sons, John and Mark, born six months apart, became the best of friends. She and her husband had a daughter, Naomi, and a second son, Matthew. My husband and I moved from the Natal Midlands to the Zululand coast where I my second son, Angus was born. Notwithstanding the 400km/250m distance between us, my sister and I still saw each other quite regularly throughout the year. When Angus was four years old, Rose had her youngest son, Luke. We did everything together. Here, in our thirties, we modelled clothes (with a group of young localbeauty queens!) for a charitable evening at church

In 1988 my husband and I moved back to the Midlands and Rose and I enjoyed two years of close proximity. Apart from attending school activities together, because our children were all at the same school, we also attended the newly-opened beauty salon and joined a weight loss club together. We worked together for community projects and even modelled clothes for a boutique at a church fashion show one evening. I still look back on this period as one of the best times of my young life.

In 2001 my sister came out to South Africa. Together we nursed my mum who was very ill. (Our taste in clothing is still the same!)

In 2000, Rose, her husband and family immigrated to the United Kingdom. From the moment she touched down on English soil, Rose found employment. Among other she worked in the Frail Care of an Old Age home. When she told me what her job description was and how challenging the work was, but that she loved it, I could only marvel at the tenacious spirit of my sister.

My sister Rose, professional, efficient, admired and loved,

is also a grandmother of eight!

In February 2002, she applied for and was successful in securing a position with a large company South of London. Now she schedules reviews for large deals, opens calls for conferences calls and takes the minutes. She works with the Quality Assurance Work Business team and liaises with companies across the globe to schedule reviews. She edits and processes the company data base and compiles the monthly spreadsheet of all deals that have been passed.

Not only is my sister a hardworking employee in a large British company, she is also a grandmother of eight. These precious grandkids are all under four and comprise of a set of twin boys, and triplet girls; the other three are beautiful little girls. It is no trouble for Rose to work all day, fly to Germany for meeting, fly home, collect three birthday cakes and next day attend to her triplet granddaughters’ first birthday.

My sister Rose and I have remained close even though an ocean separates us now. I’ve been over to visit her and she has been back to South Africa twice since moving to England. Whenever I want to pour my heart out about something or have an idea which I want to share, she is only a phone call away. I know she feels the same and we communicate often by e-mail as well.

Even after five and a half decades, she and I are on still the same page...


  1. I've always wanted a sister :)

  2. What is a soleless shoe, please? I can't picture how one would stay on.

  3. Hi Toni, yes, I'm very blessed to have a sister... Hugs Jo

  4. Hi Jeanne, these "shoes/sandals" were merely a length of raffia which we wound around the second toe (next to Big Toe) twisted it across the instep and tied it around and behind the ankle. Weird I know:) Our soles were always BLACK; very hippy-ish. Thanks for always popping in. Hugs Jo

  5. I gave one of my daughters a photo frame for one of her birthdays ,of herself and her sisters as children and the quotation on it is..
    Life made us sisters, love made us friends
    Which I think applies to you and your sister too.

  6. Oh Peggy what a lovely quotation. You are blessed to have so many daughters. Are there three girls in your family. I only have sons but love my dil's like my own. Thanks for popping in. Hugs Jo


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