…Billy, age five, and I, age three, were riding on the hood of Momma’s Willys station wagon. The hood ornament, really a simple strip of chrome, was between us. We hung on to the strip as Momma drove through the countryside. “There goes a jackrabbit,” Billy said.
“I wish I could see a jackrabbit,” I said. Then I asked, “Do you see any stars tonight?” “Yes,” Billy said.
“’Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.’”
“I wish my sister Peggy could see again.”
“Y’all doing okay out there?” Momma called through the open window. “Yes,” we called back. If I tried hard, I could see the headlights of the Willys shining on the road in front of me.
I find it amazing that Momma had a blind three-year-old riding on the front of her car as she rode down a country road I mentioned that to Billy not long ago and he said, “What about me?”
What happens to a normal child when a sibling becomes disabled? I believe that I, the injured child, was brought to the forefront. Momma went with me to Boston and New York for surgeries in the mid-1950’s while Billy was shuffled off to relatives. I always thought that Billy didn’t suffer during those ears, but now I know he did.
When Billy could see the stars and I could not, the separateness and the closeness of our lives began.