Yes....2020. I see you. You have arrived. Something my sister and I never could believe we'd ever see. Mom was doing laundry in the cement basement with the old washer. There was an electric ringer she had to put the clothes through before she could hang them up in the basement. Sandee and I were riding our bikes or trikes around before all the clothes were hung up. Mom wouldn't let us help. She thought we'd get our fingers stuck in the ringer and be maimed for life. So we were contemplating how long we'd live. It's so funny that I remember that moment so clearly.
I'm guessing it was close to New Years 1967. I would have been 7 and she, 5. We were counting the years by 5s, but since she couldn't do that yet, I was announcing each year. The grey concrete seemed to make my pronouncement of each year more profound in the moist dark basement. "Could we live to 1975?" Yeah! She and I would scream. Then we would take a lap around the 2 poles that held the basement up. Could we live to 1980? '85? 90? Each year was a resounding YEAH! Until I reached 2000. My sister screamed NO!!! We could never live until the year 2000. So I started figuring it out. In 2000 we would be 39 and 41, I told her. Would we live that long? Well our mom was 29, and we knew plenty of people older than her. So my sister agreed we could live that long. And we took our obligatory lap around the poles.
Years later when we were having our 2000 bonfire on the beach near her house in Texas, waiting for the Y2K disaster to strike, I reminded her of this ceremony we had done when we were little. She had no recollection. But she was distracted with her 7 kids of various ages (5 adopted) swinging marshmellow sticks around the fire.
It's ominous now....but we continued the game and when I got to 2020, she said no, we would never live to see 2020. I said we would. We'd only be 60 and 58. I can't remember what happened next. Maybe mom called us to help hang the clothes on the basement clothes line, but I don't remember doing our obligatory race around the poles.
In November 2018 she died of a pulmonary embolism. She predicted it back when she was little. So here I am welcoming 2020 without her. I'm the one left to remember and to document life in the 20s. So my new decade's resolution is to do more writing about life, not only for my sister....but for my grandchildren and those who come after me.
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