By Jack L. Cooke
My sister Laurine (Cooke) McIntosh will celebrated her 85th birthday Oct. 10.
Laurine was the oldest of my three sisters Laurine, Pearl and Jean. She was born one year and one week before me but was already 15 going on 16. At a very tender age, she was put in charge to keep us safe from all elements, whatever they may be. Probably more important was she kept us safe one from the other. Growing up in a large family, there will always be a pecking order; thus, while in the stages of growing up it is best not to forget it.
Fate led the way as she was born right-handed and I was born left. Thus, we each wanted to go our own way. My way was always a shortest route to entertainment and fun, and Pearl and Jean were easily convinced to follow me. Laurine, though, held back and, although only six or eight years old, she offered clear-headed sound advice much like any adult.
Make no mistake, she was the one in charge and she made sure we knew it. Without a doubt Jean, the youngest, was the apple of her daddy’s eyes but it was Laurine who was born to lead. Sister Pearl and I joined hands together and very early in life we learned to barter. Still, the threat was very real:
“Just wait till your dad gets home”!
“Wait till your Pa comes home!” Oh, dear!
What a dreadful threat for a boy to hear.
Yet never a boy of three or four
But has heard it a thousand times or more.
“Wait till your Pa comes home, my lad,
and see what you’ll get for being bad.”
All too soon, the years have flown by and now, in my late years, a certain amount of wisdom has arrived. I know now it was a blessing to have had a big sister to watch over me and two younger sisters to be winsome and thoughtful in the ways only sisters can be. I am sure it made for a gentler…..me.
It is said having sisters makes you a more thoughtful and kinder person; my sisters are still working on “my case” but I like to believe, in time, it will all come true.
Happy 85th birthday Laurine; keep up the good work.
Jack L. Cooke is the author of A Walk Down Memory Lane and Getting By in a Silent World. He lives in London.