When my sister, Lisa, was born, I was nearly 14 years old and up until that point the only child of very doting parents. I was immediately aware of the imminent changes that were taking place now that my spot as the “only one” was taken by a crying, demanding, very needy baby girl who seemingly stole the hearts of the two people who had once given their hearts to me. She not only soaked up all of their attention, her needs made a huge dent in our finances. Such was the case on a freezing February Saturday at the Newberry Store in Caribou.
How I loved that store! Two floors of everything from candy to pets to clothing to hamburgers to luscious lemon, apple, and blueberry pies that spun before my eyes like multi-faceted jewels in the display case. On this particular Saturday, a photographer was at Newberry’s. Mom dressed Lisa in a white cotton dress with a pink collar embellished with red and yellow flowers. On her cherub-like feet, she was adorned in lacy white stockings and shiny black Mary Janes.
My mother carefully explained to me that I would have to wait until the next time we shopped at Newberry’s before she could buy me a “treat.” Finances were a bit tight that week but Lisa’s pictures were a priority. I told my mom that none of this was fair to me and before she had time to comment, I was stomping down the aisle toward the turtles and canaries in my flashy yellow bell bottom pants.
Despite my fascination with the pet section, I could not help but wonder how the photography session was unfolding, and when I heard Lisa’s very distinguishable cries, I returned to the area where the photographer was working.
Lisa was laying on her side, her lacy socks and Mary Janes abandoned. I stepped forward, now positioned so that she could see me. Immediately, she sat up and reached out to me. I looked toward my mother, who stood holding Lisa’s pink ski suit in her arms and asked her what she wanted me to do. “Get her to laugh,” she said, using the same tone she used when telling me to clean my room. Lisa now had one of her sleek Mary Janes halfway into her mouth and she began scooting toward me. I reached out and took the shoe from her and she began to laugh!
Wasting no time, I dressed her feet once again and the photographer began snapping one shot after another, thanking me in between clicks for what was turning out to be a fabulous photo shoot. Stuffed animals and funny noises and even Melba toast failed. Lisa only responded to me: her resentful and jealous sister.
The pictures of my little sister taken on that frigid February day at Newberry’s in Caribou will always be a family treasure. Lisa leaves her stockings and shoes intact these days but her glorious smile and that sister-magic we share is timeless.
Editor’s Note: Belinda Wilcox Ouellette has lived in the Caribou area for all of her 56 years. She presently lives in Connor TWP. with her husband Dale and their Goldendoodle Barney. They are currently working on building a home in Caribou. You may contact Belinda online at: dbwouellette@ maine.rr.com.