Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Not everyone has a sister like Alice-Anne

I ran my fingers across the soft black and white photo I picked up from lying in the corner my high school journalism classroom.

It was a typical school picture. The 90's puffy hair era was unforgettable and quite regrettable. Those fluffy bangs were like a rolling ocean wave above her forehead. I wondered how long did it take for the curling iron to singe them perfectly into shape. Or the ounces of hair spray to glue them together.  I couldn't avoid the shades of her over-used cheap purple eye shadow that was most likely applied incorrectly. Her braces. Did she think the same thing I did while in high school? Whoever escaped adolescence without braces was easily considered a goddess. Despite all of societies description of imperfection, I thought she was beautiful. And not just because she was my sister.

Meet Alice-Anne. She has a personality to match the uniqueness of her name. And a smile to match the goodness of her heart. Her high school fashion has since died, and now fancies in making homemade yogurt, having to-do lists, and goal lists to last a century, and giving every second of attention to her three high-energy children.

Even though she towers twelve years above me, her name, service, speech competition poise and journalism charm left a legacy on my high school. Twelve years later I was still walking in her footsteps in the journalism field, the mission field, and the BYU field.

Now, I still walk in her shadow in the field of life. And I plan to stay there.

Individual memories with Alice-Anne are fewer, considering she was exiting high school when I was entering kindergarten, but i'll always remember one afternoon conversation over a nice clean up of dishes. I was five and stubborn. I walked around like a queen with the 'show-only-not-to-be-used' quilt drag behind me on the kitchen floor. I unloaded the dishwasher. Knife for knife, spoon for spoon. She rolled her eyes I am sure. I made some terse comment to my other sister, Julia, who sat right above me in the hierarchy. That was me thinking I was so clever. Yet, I was wrong. Alice-Anne, being my mother in that moment, squared my shoulders and straightened me up. She wasn't happy. Okay, she had a right to be. She grabbed my hand, pulled me down the stairs and talked to me. Really talked to me.

In a matter of minutes, my sister had extracted me from my world of demanding and commanding. I was the master of that house--I reined with my five year old status. But here I was, sentenced to sit on the couch to listen to her lecture--which was quite good--she persuaded me to change my behavior within minutes of talking to me--no wonder she won the Oregon State Speech Competition.

I sucked on my thumb as she spoke. That my was security. I sucked my right thumb raw. Her words asked me to stop being so rude to my sister--which I could've have done just by doing so silently in my head. But her action showed such great love and concern, it brought about a change I wanted to make in my heart.

She told me the terms, and we made an agreement. I was to never talk so brutally to my sister again (oops, sorry Julia!). To make matters official, she asked that we shake on it. I looked at her outstretched hand. I looked back at my saturated sucked thumb, and smiled, "I really doubt you want to shake this," dangling my thumb high in the air.
"Good point," she said with a smirk.

I switched fingers, "How about just a pinky promise."

Thank you, Alice-Anne.


  1. AA is awesome! And I love the way you told the story at the end. Like something out of a column ;) You sure are a good writer bubs!

  2. Ah...the high school photo...the epitome of my awkwardness! I cringed reading your description. It was bad! :) Thanks, Emily for your kind words. You're pretty wonderful yourself! I love you!

  3. I'm glad you recorded this event as it was life changing for you. Amazing that it had such an impact and you were just 5 years old. Alice-Anne is remarkable and her influence has blessed many lives. She did what I probably couldn't have done so well in this circumstance.


Total Pageviews

© j u s t e m i l y
Maira Gall