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Remembering Janie

Janie is my sister. She was born October 20. I’m celebrating her today. Janie is with God and loved ones who preceded her in the wondrous journey from this life to life eternal. God has clothed Janie with a new body, a clear mind.

If I look closely, I can see ten-year-old Janie playing ball on the weed and dirt field at the corner of Fourth and Sanford, fielding a bad hop and throwing out the runner at first. Smacking a line drive to left field. Neighborhood kids who knew her always picked Janie for their team, because she could field, throw, and hit. There’s Janie playing basketball for the East Erie Turners, all five feet two of her, matching up against a six foot two girl from the Greek Catholic Slovak Club, and saying to her coach, “Holy Smoke, what does her mother feed her?”

Janie and I are riding the Lake Erie waves and we’re pretending not to hear dad and mother calling that it’s time to go home. She’s walking with mother along the beach at the water’s edge, pigtails and all, looking for colorful stones, and shells.

Janie marries John Tubbs and they are the parents of Chuck, Laurie and Jill.. We’re on the phone, and I want to know the news about her, but Janie doesn’t say much about herself. She tells me about her kids: Chuckie’s starting to walk; Laurie lost one of her baby teeth; Jill started kindergarten today. Time passes and she tells me about grandchildren Amy, Michelle, Patrick, Katie, Jenny, Jared, Josh. Janie loves her family.

Singing was a large part of life for our dad and mother’s families. Janie and I are little kids, and we learn a bunch of songs and hymns from our family. We’re together in college, singing harmony in the stairwell of her dorm, because the sound is awesome. We sing at her granddaughter Amy’s wedding under the dining tent. We sing on the phone, the words and music temporarily leaping over the Alzheimer’s barrier. Now it’s a few days before Christmas, 2013. At the care home where she is living, Janie sings Christmas carols with me. We sing the Swedish version of Jingle Bells for the staff, “Yingle Bells, Yingle Bells,” and we laugh and hug. In March 2014 we said, “So long for now.” Janie is my sister. I love you, Janie.

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