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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

31 Days:::Sweet Valley High

When I was little, I had a step sister that was 6 years older than me.  As a six year old, I had a lot of heroes, but Lindy was at the top of the list.  In my mind, there was nothing this girl couldn't do.  She was a cheerleader.  She had super cool friends.  She had the longest hair I had ever seen (aside from Crystal Gayle, of course).  She taught me how to make Barbie doll waterbeds.  She loved to play school with me.  Lindy was pretty spectacular.  I worshiped her (as I should have).

{lindy and angie circa 1982}

Before we moved to the South, Lindy came to our house every other weekend.  We shared a bedroom.  I loved telling the kids in the neighborhood that I shared a bedroom with her.  I felt that perhaps it made my cool points move up a notch or two if people knew we slept near each other.  

And one thing that she did for years in that room was lay on her bed and read.  She loved the Sweet Valley High series.  I was barely able to read and was so in awe of everything that she did anyway, so, we spent many Saturday afternoons on her bed together - she, stretched out reading, me - sitting at the foot of her bed watching her.  She wasn't reading to me, just letting me watch her read.  And this made me love her even more.

I have vivid memories of her reading this book in particular...

At the end of 2nd grade, when I was 8 and Lindy was 14, we moved to Georgia.  She stayed up north, living with her mom and brothers.  My every other weekend with her became scattered holidays and visits over the summer - ones that had to be carefully arranged because I had to visit my dad too.  

One day, when I was in the middle of 4th grade, I came home to a large box on our front porch...addressed to me. It was from Lindy.  After years of reading Sweet Valley High, she had outgrown them.  And even though she was 16 - in high school, cheerleading, having friends and boyfriends - and we lived 750 miles apart, she thought of me...her annoying little step sister who would have given anything to read one of her Sweet Valley High books...and she sent them to me...thirty of them or so.  

Those books changed the course of my life.  Really.  Not Sweet Valley itself, but the act of kindness.  The books became a thread from her life to mine.  I knew that she loved me...the box on my front porch told me so.

Not long after that,  her dad and my mom decided to get divorced and these people who I considered to be my siblings - two stepbrothers and my beloved step sister - were no longer my family.  But Lindy made sure that we kept in touch.  She wrote letters to me and I would write back to her.  We always signed our letters to each other, "Love, your sister -."  Even as a college student and a young teacher starting out, Lindy continued to call and check on me.  She made sure that we kept in touch when I was too young to know how.

Those books?  They're on my bookshelf in my front room.  I consider them to be one of the best gifts I ever received.  I see them everyday.  Everyday I am reminded of her and I am reminded of how special that box of books made me feel. 


michelle @ this little light said...

That is just beautiful ... and I think it's fantastic that you still have the books!

CB said...

I am cursing you because you made me cry...

Rebekah said...

Are your girls interested in reading them?

Zakary said...

Well, thanks for making me cry.

I love, love, love SVH, I've read them all.

The Dose of Reality said...

I loved every single thing about this post. It totally made me get teary-eyed and also took me down the SVH memory lane! Thank you. :)

koreen (aka: winn) said...

Very sweet story... it gave me tears in my eyes.