Monday, Monday. How I wish the week started on, say, Tuesday! I know, I know, then Tuesday would be the new Monday and act just like Monday and nothing would be different. I could pretend it’s already Tuesday and closer to hump day on its way to the weekend on the down side of, you know, the week. But I’d know, deep inside, it’s Monday.
I can still remember when all days were the same, except Sunday, when I had to shepherd my little brother to Sunday School. In the cool of the summer morning we’d walk hand in hand the six or so blocks to the stone Methodist Church with the short square tower and the bright red door. I felt the resistance in his hand, all the way up his arm, stiff necked and scowling. Sunday School cut into his fishing time. Worse, his big sister became the Sunday morning boss.
All the lawns were damp with dew so by the time we got to church his Sunday shoes were wet. Sunday best pants, white shirt, stick-on tie, slicked down hair were all in disarray by the time we arrived. If he fell while dancing on everyone’s lawn, his pants would be grass stained about his knees, his shirttail hanging down his back. He was a regular mess.
I, on the other hand, loved dressing up for Sunday School, complete with hat and little purse. Patent leather shoes with silver buckles, anklets with lace, a lavender suit with peplum turned me out so fine! The addition of a brother ruined my sense of style. I hated being stuck with him. Complaining would get me a smack, so I didn’t.
We’d had a small breakfast beforehand, but were ravenous once we returned home. Dad was up and reading the Sunday paper with his coffee. Mama spooned cereal into the baby and chain smoked her Camels. The quiet house exploded as we came bouncing in, eager to shed the Sunday clothes to race back outside. Dad scowled at us. We were too noisy.
Mama came to the head of the stairs to tell us there’d be no fishing today; instead we’d be going “up home” for a typical Sunday dinner spent with her siblings. You might think we’d be disappointed, but that wasn’t the case. We loved our crazy aunts and uncles. Mama was one of nine kids. Didn’t matter whose house we’d visit; we loved them all ,half the reason being that they all loved us. Such fussing over two kids you never saw! Even if we’d just seen them last week, they acted like it had been years. Their enthusiasm was heady and welcome. Cousins came tumbling out the door to greet us, a veritable mob gathering us into their warmth, their energy, their total acceptance. For such a long time they were uncertain that we existed for real.
We were their real cousins who lived for some years in an orphanage. It took a while to piece together the history that put the two of us there. Along with us, they kept fretting that we’d be sent back. We didn’t understand we had a new permanence.