Category Archives: Leslie

The Middle Child

I was the eldest of the three Green children. Leslie was the middle child, and Marcia the “baby”. However, more than a few people who have assumed that SHE is the eldest because she’s much more outgoing, while I have always been bookish, keeping to a far fewer number of friends and associates than she has.

She really enjoyed being the only girl/the younger for the four years that she was, until she wasn’t. This led to all sorts of odd sisterly stuff that I tried to stay out of but would inevitably get sucked into. (One date in particular: March 12, 1995). I got along with both sisters most of the time, especially Leslie, with whom I sang with our father. Yet about once a year she’d goad me so much that I’d get really angry and some unfortunate outcome would take place. (When she was about 12, and I was 13, she and her friend Bonnie kept opening the bathroom door while I was sitting on the toilet – there was no lock – and I was trying to keep the door shut with my arm or leg; the end result was a broken bathroom mirror.)

I realized long ago that if I don’t have a strong opinion about something Leslie cares about, I tended to cede to her position. That was not the case, though, when she wanted to bury our father in a casket but the rest of us preferred cremation. The tension over that lasted a couple years.

Meanwhile, Leslie seems to have drawn closer to Marcia, as they both deal with my mother. (I do too, but Marcia lives with my Mom and Leslie is currently looking for a job, having been laid off after 18 years working for Long’s Drug Store after it got bought out by CVS.)

One of the good things about the last trip to Charlotte was, frankly, listening to Leslie kvetch about the CD that her church put out – she is on its music Praise and Worship team. Her name was misspelled as Lesley – thrice. I was going to plug the CD but can’t find the particulars. Did, though, find this YouTube video about the church.

Another highlight, oddly, came from watching TV. Lydia, my five-year-old, is watching Wonder Pets, which I admit to liking myself (Just saw “The Wonder Pets Save the Beetles”, which was full of Liverpudlian puns.) Turns out that Alex, Marcia’s 18-year-old, remembers Wonder Pets fondly. Then Rebecca, Leslie’s 30-year-old calls (or is called by her mother); come to find out, much to Leslie’s surprise and chagrin, that Rebecca and her husband Rico ALSO are big fans of Wonder Pets. Leslie watched and actually sussed out its charms.

So, it’s Leslie’s birthday, and even though she occasionally makes me crazy (and you don’t know the half of it), I still love her very much.
For all you folks in the San Diego area, here our the upcoming dates for Rebecca’s group, Siren’s Crush.
July 24th-Valley View Casino
July 31st-Valley View Casino
Aug 7th-Valley View Casino
Aug 8th-Viejas Dreamcatcher
Aug 21st-Viejas V-Lounge
Aug 28-Valley View Casino
Also, they have been asked to perform at a “VERY exciting event coming up on Sept 26th” in which they will be “opening up for Teena Marie, Lisa Lisa and some other favorite Old School artists for Magic 92.5 and Viejas Casino! This event is free and for the whole family!”
Click on this link for more information.



Reading Arthur’s post about his sister’s memory reminds me yet again of an incontrovertible fact: in the main, the sibling is the longest relationship one will have. Longer than parent/child or spouses. Probably longer than most friendships.

Here’s a picture of the Green children of 5 Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY, which my sister Marcia came across and sent to me in the last month. I recall that it was taken when I was 10, Leslie was 9 and Marcia was 5. But some notation on the back of the picture suggests that it was shot earlier. Frankly, I can’t believe that Marcia could have been 3 when this photo was taken. This was considered the “good” picture, compared the “ugly glasses” photo taken three (or five) years later.

I was talking to Marcia a month or two ago about a trip Lydia and I will be taking to visit her, our mother and Marcia’s daughter Alexandria in North Carolina. As I’ve noted, Lydia is afraid of dogs. In this conversation, my sister notes that they had to put their dog down. Now, previously, I might have offered some sentiment of condolence. But I was so focused on how this would affect my daughter, I felt – this is not admirable, but it is true – a sense of “Well, THAT issue is resolved.”

Of course, Marcia calls me on this, but she used this ancient example to make the point. She recalls that when I was about 12, each of us got a kitten. Mine was Tiger, Leslie had Taffy and Marcia had Tony. Somehow, Tiger got out and was run over by a car and killed. I was devastated and even more so because my sisters had taken some glee in this; children can be so cruel.

So in 2009, Marcia says, “Don’t you remember how badly you felt when you lost a pet?” and she’s correct, of course, but pulling out that 40+-year old example is something a sibling is most likely to have brought up.

I find it interesting that each of us has only one child.

Indeed, because she was the youngest, Marcia tends to remember almost everything. She can start a sentence, “Do remember when…”; many’s the time Leslie and I will say no, but the essence of the story and the details are so vivid that we accede to her recollection.

The sisters used to drive each other crazy, with me as the involuntary referee, but they’ve become closer over dealing with my mom. Whatever that childhood noise once was, we have more important things to do.
Marcia is the best at sending presents and cards for all occasions, something I’m lousy at and Leslie’s not much better. That is her arm holding a dress that she ultimately sent to Lydia for her last birthday, which Lydia likes to wear. (Cell phone picture taken by Alexandria.) She’s the one who sent the anniversary card to Carol and me.

When she lived in Binghamton, little sister’s name was pronounced MAR-sha, but since she moved south, it’s become mar-SEE-ah. Anyway, today’s Marcia’s birthday. Happy birthday, baby sister. Have I sent her a card yet? Er, it’ll be in the mail. Soon. I swear.


The middle child's birthday

My sister Leslie sent me this video, with a note: “Who does this remind you of ???” well, her, of course. She was near-legendary for her multiple sneezes; after she hit five, everyone count aloud: “Six. Seven. Eight.” It was usually 7 or 8, virtually every time.

Since my sister seems to have a sense of humor about herself, I thought I’d share this story about our childhood. She and I got along famously well, oh 98% of the time. We sang together, confided n one another, etc. I’m only sixteen and a half months older.

But that other 2% was always the same: I wanted to be left along and she would goad me into finally chasing her away. One time, I was probably 10 and she was 9, and I just wanted to read, but she’d hit and poke me repeatedly, Finally, I chased after her. She was wearing a bathrobe, and I stepped on the back of it. She went straight down to the ground and chipped one of her upper front teeth. She cried; I was mortified. Oddly, I don’t recall getting punished for this, perhaps because my explanation of my sister’s M.O. was plausible. Anyway, for about the next two years, she had a silver tooth in her mouth. The good thing: she hardly bothered me at all during that time.

Happy birthday, Leslie.

The Beckster

I’ve been looking through a particular photo album a lot recently; I have a couple dozen books, but this one seems to get the most play recently. The pictures are from 1980 to 1982. It contains pictures from my early FantaCo days, the “royal wedding“, and my old friend Deborah. It also has pictures of my niece Becky, the daughter of my sister Leslie:
These are rather tiny – though clicking on them should help – but the pose of her holding her doll is unmistakably familiar to me. I knew Lydia looked quite a bit like her at that age, but seeing these pictures was still a bit of a shock to the system.
Becky got married last year to Rico. She’s been busy with her singing career; among other gigs, she is the vocalist with with house band for Anthology, the new jazz club in the Little Italy section of San Diego. Plus, she’s going to school and dealing with real estate. She appeared on the cover of a San Diego-area magazine in the last month:

Her birthday is tomorrow. Happy birthday, eldest niece.
Love, Uncle Roger
Not so incidentally, Becky and Leslie appear to be safe from the raging California fires.


I called my niece Becky last night. She and her husband Rico were over at my sister Leslie’s house in San Diego County, California, gathering materials in case they need to evacuate their homes because of the wildfires. Last year, the fires were close enough that Leslie could see, and taste, the smoke from the fires, but this year, the flames are much closer, and depending on the direction of the quirky Santa Ana winds, they may be required to leave at any time. So far, in the county, 500 homes and 100 businesses have already been destroyed by fire.

To that end, they are packing up their cars with necessary items. After the call, I found this site, which includes a list that would be useful in case of most any evacuation:
* A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won’t spoil.
* One change of clothing and footwear per person and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
* A first aid kit that includes your family’s prescription medications.
* Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
* An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash, or traveler’s checks.
* Sanitation supplies.
* Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
* An extra pair of eyeglasses.
* Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Assemble a smaller version of your kit to keep in the trunk of your car.
In the latter category, we were talking about passports, driver’s licenses, and Social Security cards. I also suggested a deck of cards and a couple paperback books, to stave off possible boredom.

I discovered that, while she has my phone numbers programmed into her cell phone, she, probably like many others, don’t have my phone numbers or e-mail in an accessible place if the cell service is down (or the cell phone runs out of juice) and she doesn’t have access to a computer. (That’s probably true of me and phone numbers/e-mail addresses as well.)

So, keep a good thought.


A Whuppin'

When I was growing up, we had an upright piano. I’m not sure why, because no one really knew how to play. (I took lessons when I was eight for about a year, but I was never particularly proficient.)

And, for reasons I no longer remember, it was painted some beige/tan/eggshell color. Maybe it was to cover up the discoloration or marks in the wood.

One day, when I was five, the piano was marked up with crayons. My father asked my sister Leslie, who was four, who had done it, and she said that I did. So, I got spanked. I kept denying my guilt, which angered my father, and I got spanked some more. Now this wasn’t by hand, but with this leather strap I guess was used for sharping razors, or whatnot. Eventually, through these denials, my father decided that either 1) I was stupid or 2) I really DIDN’T mark up the piano. So, he went back to Leslie, asked her again, and she finally confessed. Then she got got it, not only for marking the piano but for lying. But I got the worst whupping of my life for something I did not do.

Happy birthday, Leslie. Believe me, I understood and I forgave you long ago.


The Middle Child

I was only 16 months old when my sister Leslie was born. If I had any sense of entitlement from being an “only”, I don’t recall it. Leslie DID relish in being the youngest and the only girl until Marcia came along nearly four years later.

Leslie and I were always close. I remember when I was in first grade and she was entering kindergarten, I brought her around to all my friends. I was so proud.

Then for a number of years, we sang together, first as part of the junior choir in church, then as a trio with my father (more about which I’ll tell in September, around my dad’s birthday.)

As adults, we pretty much were in synch. I understood where she was coming from, and vice versa, even when we disagreed, which wasn’t often.

So when we had a major falling out around the time when my father died (the details of which I’ll relate in about 20 years), it was very difficult for both of us.

So, I’m glad we’re back. She calls me about affairs of the heart, family dynamics, politics, issues of faith, indeed a wide-ranging dialogue, and our phone bills reflect THAT.

My sister sends me more “junk”, which is to say non-personal, e-mail than just about anyone I know. This one is pretty typical:

Just passing along a little Biblical humor…

A new pastor was visiting in the homes of his parishioners. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door. Therefore, he took out a card and wrote “Revelation 3:20” on the back of it and stuck it in the door.
When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned. Added to it was this cryptic message, “Genesis 3:10.”
Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter.
Revelation 3:20 begins “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”
Genesis 3:10 reads, “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked.”

Happy birthday, middle child, albeit a day early. I love you.