Star Light, Star Bright: Excerpts from Chapter 4

…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.

Peggy-Billy_Paul_1954

 

4 thoughts on “Star Light, Star Bright: Excerpts from Chapter 4”

  1. I really enjoy the way you start with a seemingly innocuous conversation, or one of the unusual freedoms you had as a child, to pull us into a very vivid memory of deep emotions and relationships.

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  2. The exquisite dialogue between Ms. Comin and her brother paints a portrait of a close, complex relationship that foreshadows many life lessons to come. With disability, everyone in the family is affected. I am thrilled Ms. Comin is bringing this to light.

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  3. This scene feels like it is in a dream, with just enough darkness to leave one the feeling that morning never comes…leaving behind a feeling of an irreparable loss, and groping forward to something indefinite and sad…

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