Gary Rinsem

Sweet Lil Sister
by Gary Rinsem
August 2004

  • Bus Stop

"A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost."
Marion C Garretty

Well, Sweet Lil Sister... I've thought about you often over the years. I wish that one day you'd read this and be moved to call. I'd like to know if you even remember me. I'd like to hear about your life, and know that it's been happy and satisfying. You were so very young. Do you have any idea why "Bus Stop" is your song

I have many memories of that young girl. All of them very happy. The memory I'm writing here is important for more than just the day it happened. For me, the memory has been an important reminder, which helps to keep me in tune with the women in my life. It's a long and vivid memory, playing like a detailed movie in my mind.

In the 70s I had a little sister for three years. As the sister of my first love, they were lost to me at the same time. I've always had the highest hopes for her life. I loved her and she often showed affection for me. Very young then, about eight grade when I last saw her. I'd guess she barely remembers me today.

I have numerous memories of her rushing to the door, excited to share something important with her big brother. She did well on a test or a friend said something funny, seldom significant, but nice bonding experiences with my Lil Sister.

I was expected. I rang the bell and instantly there was commotion inside. My love and my little sister were both excited about more than just my arrival. I could hear them yelling from opposite ends of the house. The door opened with an explosion of excitement, neither was calm enough to say what they were up to. Giggling with a secret to share, I had to drag the cause of excitement from them.

Lil Sis blurted out something incoherent through the giggles. I couldn't understand so my love repeated it. They were excited to share something which made me instantly uncomfortable. Little sister was crazy excited at sharing a girl moment. She'd begun her first period that day and couldn't wait to tell me.

Immediately I realized I didn't understand women at all, or girls either if there's a difference. The lessons learned have been valuable to me in relating to the women I've known. In that instant my little sister taught me several bits about women. Most obvious, they'll get excited about the strangest things.

I nearly blew it. I nearly ruined this important event. My instantaneous response was shock and disgust. I thought, why did she tell me this I don't want to know I realize now that it was immature, but give me a break, I wasn't that much older than them and I'm proud to have pulled it together nicely. My initial response was the right thing to say.

Racing, my mind solved the puzzle. I thought of a boy's bar mitzvah. Associated with the ritual I'd heard the phrase "Today I am a man." A thought instantly followed, "Today she is a woman." With that thought, I simply said "Congratulations." I'm still proud of myself for figuring it out and responding correctly, before the first impulse took over and ruined the moment. Since that day I've felt privileged that it was shared with me.

Big sister was ecstatic for Lil Sis and wanted to ensure the important event went smoothly. My love said to me "She needs her own" long pause "you know, stuff!" Huh Was this sudden embarrassment over the topic I really didn't catch on to what she meant. With what must have been a puzzled look from me, my girl said "Can you take us to John's Pharmacy?" With that my confusion ended. The three of us rushed to my car.

In the parking lot my love grabbed me and quickly said "We don't have any money." I handed her a five dollar bill which she turned and gave to Lil Sis. It was important she buy her first "stuff" herself.

At the pharmacy I had to wait just inside the door, a boy near the feminine aisle wasn't allowed by them. Disappearing between the isles, Lil Sis soon rushed to the cash register. Big sister followed, standing far behind to avoid interfering, but close enough to share in Lil Sis's experience as the cashier rang up her purchase. Still excited beyond reason, my little sister hurried to the door and handed me the change, then ran across the parking lot with big sister close behind.

Excitement was extreme. The car door opened while I was still moving and both of them jumped out, big one chasing the little one up the driveway.

In a rush, they'd left the front door wide open. Big sister was found standing by the closed bathroom door where she smiled at me. Lil Sis came out a few moments later, the excitement had turned to calm happiness. She hugged me tight around the waist and said "Thank you Gary."

There are many common occurrences which cause this memory to flash through my thoughts. It's been recalled hundreds of times since the mid 70s. TV commercials for feminine products or women telling me "Sorry, wrong time of the month," I've always understood far better as a result of being close to my little sister.

Thank You 'D'...