Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Me and my sister, 1955

Remember the Smothers Brothers? They started a shtick in the 1960s based on sibling rivalry. I could always relate to Tommy when he complained to his brother that "Mom always liked you best!" Throughout our childhood my older sister Rebecca would brag, "I am my parents' favorite child, I am my grandparents' favorite grandchild, and I am my aunt and uncles' favorite niece!" She would say it with such authority, that even though I told myself that she didn't know anything (after all, she was just a kid) I secretly feared that she was right. Now that we are adults, I know she was right.

My sister, the child, 1958

The plethora of gifts, money, family heirlooms, sympathy and attention directed towards my sister has never ceased. I rarely have a conversation with either of my parents without her name coming up. Yesterday I phoned my mother to ask about my stepfather's memorial service. The only time Mom cried was when she told me that Becky had borrowed money to send a dozen yellow roses.

No, I didn't send flowers. But I was there in person earlier this year---just one crazy week before my daughter's wedding---when my mother was suddenly locked up in the psychiatric unit of her local hospital. With her husband near death in another hospital, my daughter Cristin and I tried for days, unsuccessfully, to improve the situation.

My sister and my mother, 1991

While going through legal documents with Cristin, we came across this line in her Trust: ALBERTA PAXSON has intentionally omitted any gift to Kathleen Stewart Goodrich and [her] issue. Despite this slap in the face, I returned to California when she was released from the hospital and begging me to come help. Even my brother, who has been estranged from her for over twenty years, and likewise disinherited, flew out from Iowa. While she quickly returned to old resentments against me and my brother, she never ceased fretting about our sister. At this time Rebecca was virtually homeless and penniless. (So tell me something I don't know!) Bobby and I gently suggested to Mom that an extended visit from her little Bubelah could benefit everyone. "I love her too much to have her come and live with me," Mom insisted.

My sister, the adult, 1998

My sister has a heart of gold, a personality trait I will never have. She has endearing dimples, an infectious laugh, and an ironclad devil-may-care attitude. I once warned her in an e-mail not to move-in with a boyfriend. She wrote back, "Well, as for your advice, I hope not to follow it....and since when did I ever follow your advice???" She's right. My dad calls her the Gordian Knot. The meshugas in the family means zilch to Rebecca. She can listen to our mother rant and rave and it's like water down a duck's back. No wonder Mom always liked my sister best.

copyright 2008 by Kathleen Stewart Goodrich


nalder said...

It's the same way with Cristin. Mom liked you best! It must be the oldest in every family. p.s. Great POST! I like all the pictures!

Cristin said...

I was just going to say that it must be an oldest child thing. I also like all the pictures.

nalder said...

Let it all out Mom... let it all out.

kaci said...

wow mom, good writing.. the pictures were funny. And are you serious that she actually borrowed money to send flowers?

amber and cody said...

Sister Goodrich! It's Amber Speakman... you know, good 'ol Cam 5th ward? Sorry about the blog stalking, Cristin had a link to your blog on her post so I decided to stop by :) I gotta say I'm so excited you have a blog too, the Goodrich girls must have inherited their humorous writing style from you, I am a big fan of the sarcastic humor and witty comments :) Please help me stay entertained and keep the posts coming!
P.S... I'm impressed you lecture on Genealogy! Which school are you at?