The Website of Wilhelmina Grant

When We Were Five
By Wilhelmina Grant

They called me Pooka
And my sister was Deevi
Nicknames given to us by our daddy
We were two same-aged girls
We were the daughters of
Two different women
Nonetheless, we were sisters
We were bonded by blood
We spent the summer together
For the first time
When we were five

South Carolina was my home since birth
I lived with my grandmother
Who we called Gar for short
Gar's house had a small wooden frame
With a shiny tin roof
She grew vegetables out back
And flowers in the front
Beside the house stood a big pecan tree
With a generous supply that made the
Ground look like a nubby brown carpet

We arose early in the morning and did our chores
Fed the chickens and sprinkled the yard
With a garden hose to keep the dust down
And deftly collect eggs from the roost
Without getting pecked, one to distract
The hen, the other to swiftly snatch the egg
A team effort made the chores go fast
The rest of the day was free for play
When we were five

Life was easy, life was fun
We would ride bicycles to our hearts content
And roll down the hill inside on old tire
Deevi, was bigger and was almost too large
To fit inside the circular tube
We rolled down the hill again and again
At least ten thousand times
When we were five

We cracked and ate pecans until we caught a belly-ache
We swiped cherries and grapes
Before they were ripe
We ate so many hard, fuzzy, green peaches
When we were five

We wore crisp starched crinoline slips
Underneath our identical dresses
But my dress stuck out
Like a hoop skirt
Because I secretly sat on my
Slip to flatten it out
Like a record player disc
I didn't mind that it itched my legs
But I got glances from Gar
Because my slip made me fidget
While the pastor preached
Church seemed to take forever
When we were five

Right after church service was a delight
Sweet cupcakes with pastel icing
And unending glasses of sweet, red, punch
Sweeter than anything we'd ever tasted
Redder than anything we'd ever seen
Sweet punch colored our tongues and lips
Like the red lipstick Gar wore only on Sundays
We pretended we wore lipstick on Sundays too
And we had a contest to see whose tongue was reddest
Our red lip tint would fade before night
Sundays were special when we were five

One of our pastimes was playing make believe
We created jokes and stories, dances and songs
We played dress-up with hats and old clothes
And giggled as we performed for each other
We shared everything
When we were five

I introduced Deevi to my spotted dog, Tippy
Who was just a baby, but huge for his age
I was afraid of him so
Deevi taught me how to dodge
Before he could charge
And knock me down
And cover my face with
Slimy wet dog kisses
Deevi taught me that
Tippy was a "puppy"
Not a "spuppy"
When we were five ..

By summer's end 1961
We both started first grade
We were separated by circumstances
But we were bonded by friendship
We were bonded by blood
We were sisters
We were innocent, we were free
We spent a summer that was magical
When we were five

Dedicated To My Sister