I call her my baby sister, because even though we were twins, she waited for 45 minutes to follow me out into the world. We were preemies. I did OK, but poor little Jane had to spend several weeks in an incubator; but I think what will always make me think of her as my baby sister, was the fact that she talked baby talk way passed the age, when most children stop talking that way. She was no fool. She was just as cute as could be, and she knew just how garner the instant affection, of the adults who controlled her circumstances.
As we grew up, she perfected her skills, and became quite adept at charming people into giving her what she wanted. I on the other hand, knew that the quickest way to rejection, was to ask for something I wanted, so consequently I learned to go to Jane whenever I wanted something, and persuade her to ask for it instead. She was marvelous! She pulled off the greatest coup of our lives, when in our senior year of high school, while living in Frankfurt, Germany, she talked our father, who was normally quite the skinflint, into paying for a week long trip to Jordan and Greece. When she gave the news to me that dad had relented, and we were both going, I was completely flabbergasted! I knew she was good, but not that good!
It was probably the most wonderful trip of our lives. We stayed in the Mount Of Olives Hotel, overlooking the ancient walled city of Jerusalem, with it's gold Dome of the Rock. Later during that trip, we would take off our shoes, and walk on the beautiful oriental rugs, that completely covered the floor of that mosque, and would marvel at the mosaic art that surrounded the rock, that Muhammad allegedly ascended to heaven from.
From the Mount of Olives Hotel, we took day trips around the holy land, chauffeured about in a fire engine red 1959 Plymouth Fury, by our absolutely stellar Egyptian driver, Hassim Abdul el Neel (forgive me Hassim, if I have spelled your name incorrectly). Jane was always completely uninhibited, and consequently a joy to be around. One morning, during a ride from Jerusalem down to Jericho, Jane spontaneously started singing, "Joshua fet the battle of Jericho! Jericho! Jericho!", and the next thing we knew, me and the two other American high school kids traveling with us, began to clap and sing, "Joshua fet the battle of Jericho! And the walls came a tumbling down!" Well! You wouldn't believe the smile that this little impromptu display, brought to good old Hassim' s face, and on the trip back, he told us that if we wanted to go, he would treat us all to movie that night! Of course we accepted his kind offer, and that evening he pulled up in front of the Mount of Olives Hotel in his flaming red Fury, and we all pied in, and went to see Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines, or How I Flew From London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 minutes. It was the first time in my life, where I ever saw people actually smoking inside of a movie theater. How wonderful I thought, and being the typical teenage miscreant that I was, I lit up too! Jane looked over at me with a frown, that instantly turned to a smile when I looked back at her.
I really came to love Jane during those high school years. I will never forget how proud I was of her, when I came home late one night, after we had both gone out together. We were living in a third flood, three bedroom, US Army housing area apartment, in Frankfurt. Being the good girl that she was, she had left the party at a reasonable hour, and gone home. When I finally walked home much later, Jane was hanging out of her bedroom window, and she called out to me. I looked up, and she started giving me the cover story that she had cooked up and told mom, as to why I was late. She wanted to ensure that we were in sync, and thus save me from my mother's volatile wrath. At that moment, all sibling jealousy vanished, and I knew that l truly loved my sister!
My brother-in-law called me this morning, and told me that she had passed at 9:24AM. I had just seen her the night before. She wasn't looking good at all, and I knew the end was near, so I was expecting his call. I drove into town today and joined my mother, older sister and niece at my brother-in-law's house. I've know him for 28 years, and this was the first time that the two of us ever embraced. It was also the first time that I had ever seen this steely retired Lt. Colonel cry. Am I sad? Yes, profoundly so. I've been enduring spontaneous fits of tears all day long, but I'm so happy that my sweet little sister isn't suffering anymore. God love you Jane!