Growing up on a farm with nine older siblings, I don’t recall having slept with my sister, Dorothy. She slept with Mary Alice, who was closer in age, while I slept with Gladys, who was closer to my age.
And then we became adults. The six sisters had traditionally started celebrating six separate over night birthday parties soon after our children were raised.
When Dorothy’s husband was still living, she had a king size bed. This is when “Baby Carole” ---so named by the sisters---slept in the middle of the king size bed with Dorothy and another sister. I didn’t mind. I loved the warmth of two bodies on each side of me.
After Dorothy’s husband died, she invited me to drive to New Hampshire every summer to visit her son, Michael, wife Nancy, and daughter, Gracie. We did this some thirteen years. On these visits, Dorothy and I slept together in the guest room. Dorothy and I became like school children again chatting into the night.
I recall one of our chats. I told her about my pet cat “Dimble” on the farm. The cat ran away and I prayed and prayed for her to come back. She did come back but only one day. The next year we visited her son, when Dorothy and I were in bed, she said, “You know the cat, “Dimble” you always talk about?”
I said “Yes.”“Dimble” was my pet cat and she loved me!”
I was stunned. “I can’t believe, after all these years, you try to claim “Dimble” as your pet cat! She was my pet cat and she loved me!”
Thus it was, how Dorothy and I became closer with our late into the night chats.
During these visits to New Hampshire, Dorothy sold the home that her husband and she lived in. She moved into a development for over 50 seniors . This is when she purchased a queen size bed. I again was Dorothy’s bed partner at her birthday gatherings with the sisters. Our chats continued in bed---giggling over the day’s events and laughing into the wee hours.
A few years ago, Dorothy became ill. My sister-in-law, Millie and I, drove to visit her for the last time. She was in bed and as befitting a bed partner, I crawled into bed with her and sat cross legged while holding her hand. Others stood around the room and chatted. Eventually we hugged our last goodbye. She died within a few weeks.
The bed saga doesn’t end with my sister’s death. Dorothy’s son, Michael, was selling her home and furniture. I had heard my daughter, Tina, was shopping for a new bedroom suite. I asked if she’d be interested in Dorothy’s bedroom set. After seeing it, my daughter bought it.
One day, I called Tina and asked, “What day do you have off from work? Could I come over and we have breakfast in Dorothy’s bed?” Tina agreed.
I picked up a breakfast sandwich for the both of us. Once at her home, I left myself in, took off my slacks. I looked quite rumpled in my PJs as I crawled in bed with Tina. The both of us cross legged on the bed, ate our breakfast sandwich, and chatted till late into the morning. At some point, I called out, “Dorothy, I’m having breakfast in your bed and making lots of crumbs!” And then a tear fell.
Carole Christman Koch contributes columns to Berks-Mont Newspapers. Koch grew up in Kutztown and has been published in numerous publications. She has a passion for writing and has many stories from growing up on a farm, raising children and humorous stories about her and her husband.