My sibling scribbling is because I have much to say about my sister Mary Jane and my brother Joseph Bennet . Most of my fondest memories ignite over the years we lived on Rose street together. It was a mansion in my mind as it had two stair cases, four fireplaces, pocket doors, an atrium of free flying birds, a billiard room, a basement, steam heat, a rose garden, a huge front porch, a library and palm trees in the front and a redwood tree in the back yard. We each were able to choose the colors of our own bedrooms. Ben had a fireplace with a wooden ship model on the mantel – this was so appropriate as Ben became a sailor at age 17. Mary’s room was in various shades of tangerine and it had windows that overlooked the red wood tree in the backyard. We climbed out that window many times to watch the fireworks. My bedroom was flounced in purple and red. I had wall sconces with two small doors that encased a miniature sink. All of us had fun sliding down the front staircase banister, sometimes on top of a card board. Ben and Mary attended a Catholic grade school and I walked to my public school. We had a basset hound named Boswell, and a half moon parrot named Boobie. Our parents sponsored a German couple to work for our family. Oma and Opa both spoke in German to us. Oma shopped at March’s grocery store, cooked and cleaned and her husband Opa worked in our garden. Dad had a home based business as an independent insurance agent and mom worked as his secretary. We were not the typical “Father Knows Best” family, however, when I came home from school and opened the big front door, I was a part of a family that I truly loved. Growing up my brother tolerated me while he hung out with Bruce and Randy, and my sweet sister eagerly volunteered to join me in organizing all the old records that dad brought home from the Freitas Music store. As it was going out of business Dad raked up hundreds of 45’s and 78 records for pennies on the dollar. Dad loved music and one day he brought home a surprise for the family! “Oh Dad, we three squealed thanks dad!” A beautiful, lift the lid, HI FI! The first 45 record Dad purchased on the Miracle Mile was by the Beatles “I want to hold your hand”. Well to this day both my siblings and I have our favorite playlists of music that we turn up when we are together! After dinner on Rose Street I remember performing a dance routine for the family with Ben to ‘James Brown’ , and once to the ‘Blue Danube’! Another fun memory was when mom and dad went out for the evening (probably playing cards with Manfred and Gisela) and we stayed up till midnight to watch the ‘Bob Wilkins” horror show. Brother Ben had a plan to watch Dracula with his little sisters while their eyes were open. Ben organized Mary and I on the floor, in front of the tube. Like the three Musketeers, we three sat watching Dracula show his bloody teeth. With a pot of popcorn and a pot of cold water on hand, when my eyes drooped closed, Benny dunked my head in the water to wake me. Yes, that really did happen …and I savor it as one of many treasured memories. Ben also delighted in hiding in the closet just outside the upstairs bathroom. He would jump out to scare me when I came out! Once we took the bus to downtown Stockton to see the movie Psycho at the Fox theatre. Ok, ya’ll know that scene where the creepy lady rocks in an upstairs room in that big old house…well that was my bedroom on Rose Street. In our house we had tubs with feet and shower curtains. After Psycho, I never took a shower in that house again! Ben also took me on a Huckleberry adventure in a blow up boat on the Delta. We were gone for 8 hours exploring past Pixie Woods from Legions park with just a peanut butter sandwich to sustain us. Every family experienced drama, including the Castle and Arbini family, however, we lived unaware of the term dysfunctional, and we might have seemed like a kooky Munster’s family to onlookers, but we were happy. Dad had lots of clients and one particular Halloween the Rose street family hosted a fabulous costume party. Our dear uncle Jerry dressed up as Dracula, and we had live music and his wife Arlene sang professionally. As a grade school child I thought our family was the coolest! One Christmas eve dad assembled three new Stebler bikes for us in the library. I know because I slipped down the front stairs and peeked. Ben eventually took his bike named the ‘Red Baron’ and my bike named ‘Dixie’ apart to make a ‘bicycle built for two’ but we never launched it down the sidewalk. I believe a few bolts were missing and it didn’t work. Earl was a generous dad who thrilled us by filling the attic with a variety of toys. It was a slanted ceiling attic with a window over the front porch. We threw water balloons from that window on occasion, again mom and dad were absent from that timeless fun folly. The toy room was full of dolls, skateboards, bowling balls, dumbbells, fishing rods and shot guns. Once Ben got to go deep sea fishing with dad and uncle Paul when we lived on Santa Maria Way. The night before this big ocean adventure, the boat was parked on a trailer outside and I slept in my fishing clothes when I went to bed. Well, dad did not have the heart to tell his excited 5 year old little girl that she could not go. They all quietly slipped away before I woke up. My heart quickly rebounded when they returned with a catch of nasty sea monsters! The tales of sea sickness and the sight of that
one big ugly fish with a thing-a-ma-bob dangling from his brow…that was proof positive that my dad loved me enough not to take me! As I recollect we siblings got along without much fussing. We grew up nicely following our own unique interests. There exists a vast number of miles between us, but our love and respect for one another has never diminished, it only grows as we admire the lifestyles we each enjoy. My sis is a brainiac, a seamstress extraordinaire, and an athlete who plays golf and tennis. My bro is a Submarine sailor, a triathlete, and a living legend after his ‘lost at Sea’ tale! Both my siblings remain fit as a fiddle! Then there is the youngest, yeah lil Barbie, and I am that I am, a wordy woman who continues to write, kayak, putter in the garden, hostess and volunteer. Today as I write this, my sister and I are in the midst of that twilight zone that occurs each year. For a brief time my sis and I are the same age, we are now perfectly aged 66! So today with a satisfying soul, I lodge these rambling memories to share with my siblings who may not remember some of what I remember. We all have different memories, interests, dreams, personalities and lifestyles, but despite the differences we are bonded. We are united, and we remain connected via My fitness Pal, email, Flicker, Facebook and Google+. Yet, it is important to me to visit face to face with what is left of our living family. My sis lives in her favorite climate in Phoenix, and my brother lives by the Sea of Cortez. No matter the gaps of time that elapse between our face time, we sail, we golf, and we write united and strong! Just shouting out a big thanks to Papa Earl and Momma Mia for the independent spirits they passéd on in us! Dad labeled Mary the ‘smart one’ and Ben ‘his adventurer’ and me ‘the huggy kissy one’. We dropped those labels and built the unique lives we live today without comparison or envy. We give each other the gift of acceptance as we delight in the comfort we take in our shared family memories. We know that we do not need to change, or impress anyone by what we do, or have accomplished. We simply love each other and that continues to bless my soul! I treasure my brother and sister to the moon and back! The many positives and the few struggles are acknowledged, and our shared love is abundant! It is a great life, and we live in an amazing century! We each have made a huge impact on many just by “beaming happy”! Happy Birthday sister Mary, all that you are is beloved by me! Enjoy these few shared memories and have fun making more! — And Benny, if you’ve read this far, note that in all the pics of you, you are wearing the Santa hat! Love you Benny, you light up my life, just as you did as Captain Benito in the very first lighted boat parade in Loreto, in December 2016 — GO Baja!