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Flashback Friday ~ Siblings

It is time once again for Flashback Friday with Linda of Mocha With Linda. This is the meme that takes us back in time. In Linda’s own words:

This meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been!.

Participating in this meme and reading everyone’s answers is one of my weekly highlights. Grab the button and the link and come play along. Linda’s theme this week is:

Do you have siblings? (If not, keep reading – I’ll get to you.) How many and are they boys or girls? Where do you fall in the birth order? How did you view your “spot” in the family compared with the others? If you are the oldest, did you resent the things the youngest got to do that you didn’t? If the youngest, what did you want to do like the older ones? And if you are more of a middle child, how did that impact you? How do you think your birth order shaped your personality? Did you and your siblings like each other growing up or did you fight all the time? Are you close now? Or at least friends with each other?! What memories stand out about you and your siblings?

If you are an only child, how did you like that? Were you glad to have all the attention or did you want to have a brother or sister? What advantages were there to being an only child? What disadvantages? Which side of the fence is greener?!

For everyone, did your sibling experiences (or lack thereof!) affect your decision to have kids or to have a certain number?

How to Rear a Well-Balanced Child

  • My mother’s children in birth order: Jean, Jackie, Caryl, Harold, me
  • My father’s children in birth order: Bruce, Sue, me, Randy, Ronny
  • As a teen, I lived with my elder sister Caryl when her children were young.  In that family I was the eldest.
  • Between the ages of 6 and 14, I lived with my maternal grandmother, where I was the only child.

Let’s consider the evolution of me. I am my mother’s youngest child, my father’s middle child, and the only child they produced together. This means that, in the various households I’ve lived in between birth and 18 years of age, I was the youngest child, the oldest child, the middle child, the step-child and the only child. I have all the syndromes. In light of that I submit that I am not odd, I am one of the few well-balanced people living today. It is the rest of you who are odd.

Jean, Jackie, Caryl, and Harold are (respectively) 13, 11, 10 and 8 years older than I.

Bruce and Sue are 18 and 16 years older than I.  I do not remember ever meeting them, but my father said they were part of my life when I was a baby.

My father and mother had both been married previously. My mom died when I was three and my dad married two more times.  I had step-siblings:

Ray and Richard were the children of my first step-mother. Ray was 8 years older and I remember him fondly.  Unfortunately he lived with his father and I didn’t see him often).  Rick was 6 months 0lder and I loved him dearly.  I tried looking him up when I was 18 and no longer forbidden by my father to contact them (my first step-mother did not treat me well).  Rick was killed by a drunk driver shortly after he graduated from high school.

My second set of step-siblings (from dad’s 4th wife) were Pam, Gary and Brian.  I was 14 when I joined that family.  Pam and Gary were already grown and gone from home.  Brian was 16.  He was my buffer and deflected a lot of my step-mother’s nastiness — until he got married and moved away.  I still love him dearly for being my shield.

I have no children of my own because nature decreed it so.  Perhaps that is why I became a teacher and took to nurturing other people’s children.


  1. ROFLMBO!!! Quilly, I would love to play this emem (your spelling – not mine) this week — but I just can’t! I’m thrilled to have read THIS though! I see another post down a ways that I want to read too! I’m back — but not back “as much”. Love you! Did you get Ella yet?

  2. A well rounded child you were. So we all are odd. Odd is as odd does if you ask me. But whose asking anyway. LOL.

    1. Tom — I totally agree, odd is as odd does. I mean, I know this guy who runs around inviting people to bite him!

  3. After reading that, I agree with you! It´s amazing what a well balanced individual you´ve become! 🙂 That must have been so hard on you! All those changes, so quickly.
    My heart goes out to you!

    1. Betty — what one does is shut off all emotion. It was kind of hard learning to trust again, but I had my Gram and she was wonderful.

  4. That was so very interesting. I too am amazed at your normality.

    I am always amazed at large families and with people who have so many brothers and sisters. I do have one brother, four years younger, but I have always spent a great deal of time alone although my brother and I love each other a great deal.

    1. Nessa — all told there are 12 of us — 6 girls, 6 boys — but we have never all been in the same place together.

  5. my mother was the eldest of 10 children. She says she never had a normal childhood as she had to cook and sew at a very young age and care for her young siblings, as well. I was the eldest of 5 children and remember having to babysit them.

    It’s too bad you are not a mother, yourself. I think you would have been a good one.

    1. Gigi — as a teacher I often spoke to parents about the fact that their eldest child didn’t have the babies, they did, and as such they needed to take care of them themselves and let the eldest child be a child, too.

  6. And those students for whom you were a spiritual mother were among the most blessed.

    I love that on Mother’s Day our church honored all mothers — those who had children of their own, and those who spiritually guided and molded the ones God sent their way.

    And…with this blog, you’re still doing it!

    Blessings Q…

  7. I don’t know about the part where you say you aren’t odd….

    You sure had experience in every silbing role though. I always wanted an older sibiling, but that never happened. I think my sister and I ALMOST had our parents convinced to adopt us a big brother at one point though. haha!

      1. Maybe, but I figured I just wouldn’t listen :p I was old enough that my parents wouldn’t have left an older sibling in charge of me anyway when we started asking our parents for one haha.

  8. .
    I understand, Quilly. Ditto for Mrs. Jim. One of her brothers died in WWII when his plane crashed before she was born. That part of her family and those sibblings she seldom saw after her father died when she was five. Her other brother is ten or more years younger than she.

  9. That’s pretty funny. You have a little bit of everything! You should know how to get along with anyone!

    And as the fourth child, I’m not odd. I’m even.

  10. Glad you found your way to teaching….quite a complicated history but as you say, it’s not odd…every family is odd in its own way : )

  11. I loved reading that – and boy am I going to feel at home with you!

    My Dad had four kids and my mother had two – I’m the youngest of both and the only one they had together. At holidays and extended visits (the family was scattered all over) I was the baby sister. Most days at home during the school year, I was an only child.

    But, one sister lived a few miles away: her oldest daughter was a few months older than I and her youngest two years younger. My sister and mother both worked and babysat for each other, so all summer long and most weekends, I was the middle child of three girls. We were teenagers when my sister became chronically ill, and her kids came to live with us, so I was permanently the middle kid for a while in a house where I’d been the only one. Or sometimes, the youngest.

    I think you’re right about the balance it gives you — we can genuinely identify with so many more people than if our situations/positions had always been the same. But boy, you could write a novel — or series of novels — with your childhood! Pretty amazing.

  12. I really loved reading this story, Quilly. It gives me even more respect about you becoming the person you are today. I agree to Susan that you could write novels with your childhood, and on top of it I really think that you also have the skills. Have a wonderful day.

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