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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.


Seductive Musings

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, little sister!

One of the luckiest days of my life was August 27, 1966. That’s the day my baby sister was born. She was my baby sister and no one else’s baby sister.

I cherished her, played with her, cut all her hair off. I did my best to help take care of her. She was so important to me that I had nightmares about her getting hurt or getting lost. I remember one night waking up in tears and screaming because I dreamed she’d chased a ball into the street and a car had come. My mother had to wake Michelle up and show me that she was okay to stop my crying.

I was 4.

She and I shared a bedroom until I was about 10. We shared lots of toys and a love of plants and animals, too. We had guinea pigs, a hamster, a cat and mice. I named my mouse Rush, after the rock band and the fact that it ran very fast, she named hers Mousie. Then there was the time she brought home a white kitten and kept it hidden in her bedroom closet. She named it White Kitty. When the kitten finally came out of the closet, we renamed it Noël, because it was white and it was almost Christmastime.

Of the two of us, I have the flare for naming things.

We played outside all the time during the summer, swinging on our swing set, making up games in the back yard, sneaking off to a candy store called The Strawberry Pony — which I accidentally called The Pink Horse many times — for ice cream.

We were inseparable.

If I could tell you all one thing about my sister it is that her disposition has always been sweet. You can see it in her lovely face in these photos — a genuine sweetness. When I had nightmares, I would crawl in bed with her and feel safer even though I was older and bigger than she was.

In the summers, we watched re-runs on TV, and I can remember a time when we sincerely wanted to be genies as in I Dream of Jeannie. We talked about our bottles — how they looked, what was in them. We did our best to blink spells. Nothing happened.

We both loved Star Trek, too, and together with our two brothers watched it every day, acting out the episode afterward. To this day, we are a family of Trekkies.

Michelle had a talent for gymnastics that I as a klutzy left-handed person simply did not share. I remember watching her do walk-overs and wishing I could do them, too. I had to be content with cartwheels.

We both had stick-straight hair as little girls. Then around the age of 10, our hair got curly. In the age of straight hair and feathered bangs, this was agonizing. Now, however, we have gotten the last laugh, as other women spend hundreds for spiral curl and we just wash, rinse, comb.

I have no idea what this photo is from. Choir? Marching band? Concert band? We shared a love of music, as well. We still do. Rock. Classical. Celtic. We both love to sing, and when we're together we inevitably end up singing along to whatever happens to be playing.

Sometimes one of us gets the lyrics wrong. This has been the source of much hilarity. I mean what is a “studded sharfore” anyway? If the lyric describes something that does not exist, shouldn’t that be a clue that you’ve got it wrong?

I wasn’t around when Michelle went to prom. I was in Europe, but she soon followed me over there, living in Sweden while I was in Denmark. I think her date here is a Finn kid named Pekka. Many Finns are named Pekka.

Michelle was a beautiful baby, and she grew up to be a beautiful woman. Her sense of humor is sharp and can be very cutting at times. Like me, she discovered her temper later in life. But even when she’s really pissed off, she makes me laugh.

But we never spent enough time together as adults. For a while I was in Europe. During our college years, I had babies, while she had a social life. She moved to California for a while, and that was probably the time when we had the least contact.

From there, she went back to Sweden, where she now has citizenship. I had two kids to raise and couldn’t leave the United States. (That’s ironic because I was the one who’d wanted so badly to settle in Scandinavia and live the rest of my life there. Life is not without a sense of humor.)

She was my maid of honor at my mountain wedding (I’m in the poofy white Princess Di knock-off, and she’s standing behind me). And although the wedding should never have happened — women, just throw yourselves a fancy party with a beautiful dress, an elaborate cake and gifts, then get artificially inseminated — we had fun getting dressed up and playing with the flowers and our hair.

We talk on Skype almost every weekend. Sometimes she calls me at work — always a welcome interruption. And she always comes home for Christmas. But I miss her every day.

We never run out of things to talk about. There’s True Blood and Game of Thrones and Spartacus and Jack Bauer. And there are my books.

I cannot begin to tell you the number of hours Michelle has spent with me on the phone or on Skype talking about whatever novel I’m writing, reassuring me, supporting me, letting me “talk” the story out. Without her, I don’t know whether I’d have nearly as many novels written or whether any of them would be any good.

No one lifts my spirits when I’m down the way she does. My boys tell me that she and I are always laughing when we’re together, and that’s true. We’re both single and talk about living together again. To end my days living in a flat in Stockholm with my sister and a bunch of cats would be just fine with me because I know I’d die with a smile on my face.

I don’t know that I’ve been as good a sister to her as she has been to me, but I have loved her every day of her life.

Happy Birthday, Michelle!

Sisters and friends forever.


Karen C said...

Happy Birthday, Michelle! Lovely post, Pamela.

Joyeux anniversaire Michelle!
This is a wonderful tribute to your sister, Pamela, and your post shows how deeply you love her.

Paljon onnea syntymäpäivänäsi Michelle!

(Though I am a Finn, my name isn't Pekka. Promise. ROFLMAO)

angela said...

What a wonderful tribute to your sister! It brought tears to my eyes, you are so lucky to have such a loving and supportive relationship with your sister...something to cherish...Happy Birthday Michelle!

Awww, that is so sweet! You two are lucky to have each other. I envy your relationship. I always wanted a sister of my own. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHELLE!! 8-)

Amy said...

WOW...Pamela you made me cry!!...Yuu both are so very lucky to have each other and that you have been and always will be close!! Thanks for sharing and Happy Birthday Michelle!!

Mom said...

I am the lucky one. i have two beautiful , intelligent, funny daughters;. They have a very special relationship.
Michelle is everything Pamela said she is.
Happy Birthday Michele. I love my girls.

Alison said...

Happy Birthday Michelle! Beautiful post Pamela!

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes and thank you Pamela for the amazingly beautiful post. I think you have more pictures of me than I do. The one with me in the ruffly shirt is from when I got to be a server at prom. It was an honor reserved for the sophomores with the best grades since we weren't allowed to actually attend prom. That was the first time I really came face-to-face with the difference between men's and women's bodies. I tried on that men's shirt and when it got down to the hips I wasn't able to button it anymore.

And now let me say how you have always been my role model and inspiration. I have always admired you for your courage, your sense of honor, your talent, your beauty, the depth with which you feel things, and more. I am so happy that we can skype every week and I look forward to each new chapter when you are writing books. Love you.

And also I want to say how great it is to have a family that is so loving. I got to Skype with Mom, Dad and Bob & family today. They even had a birthday cake and I blew out the candle all the way from Sweden!

And thanks to David for the thought, time and effort that he puts into writing and performing a new version of "Mikki's Growing Old" (to the tune of Strangers in the Night) every year.

What a wonderful, crazy family we are!

Luci said...

What a beautiful post! Happy Birthday Michelle!

Thanks, everyone, for wishing my baby sister a happy birthday. I just talked with her on the phone — always a pleasure. We didn't speak long because she wants the next chapter of DEFIANT.

Michelle, I was waiting all morning to see what David would pull together with this year's rendition of "Mikki's Growing Old." It was excellent! Glad you got to Skype with Mom and Dad. You might have been able to blow out the candle, but I know who's going to eat that cake. :-)

Yes, a fun, crazy family, for sure.

And thanks for your sweet words. It's frightening to think I'd be anyone's role model.

Have a lovely day!

And now I'm going offline to write so that my sister can wake up tomorrow morning to find Chapter 14 of DEFIANT in her e-mail.

Mom, it's wonderful to have you post here. Your girls love you, too!


Jane said...

Happy Birthday to Michelle. What a lovely post, Pamela.

Mary G said...

OMG this brought happy tears to my eyes.

landipan said...

Aww,this is the sweetest thing ever! Your sister is so lucky to have someone like you in her life! This is such a beautiful thing to do for her.

wow! that's so sweet! btw, found this blog and have just bought the newly released edition of Carnal Gift as well as your ebook. Great! Glad I found this!

Happy Birthday, Michelle! Congrats, Mom, on two wonderful and loving daughters! Thank you, Pamela, for ruining my mascara on a good makeup day. Now that I've cried its time to call my big sister and let her know how special she is to me as well. What a great Monday this turned out to be!

Diane W. said...

Awww, that was beautiful!! Happy Birthday, Michelle!!! I always wanted a baby sister, but in 1967 I got a baby brother instead. He's terrific, but it's not quite the same thing. What a special bond you two's very clear in your post.

PS. I had that exact same kiddie desk that you did. I think the top was a chalkboard and it lifted up so you could store stuff underneath. I loved it! I played "secretary" with it. Yes, the pre-feminist "Mad Men" days of the 60s didn't allow for the possibility of me playing "boss" yet. LOL

Happy birthday to your sister! And Happy Became-A-Sister Day to you! How blessed you both are.

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