Did you get along with your siblings when you were a kid?

Did you get along with your siblings?


To my way of thinking we got along just great, but I’m sure you would get different answers from my siblings.

Butch, Judy, Bunny, and Lisa Thorpe

As the oldest child I was always bigger and stronger so I dominated the others as is usually the case among children. For the most part I don’t think I forced them to do my bidding in an overall way, but I’m sure I must have made them do it some of the time. I didn’t have any plan for organizing and directing their behavior, however. Judy was the organizer of the bunch. She seemed to be in charge most often and wrangled the rest of us into what needed to be done.

The four of us fell into two groups. Judy and I were in one group and Bunny and Lisa were in the other. There were only 20 months between Judy and my birthdays. There were 3 years between Bun and Lisa. But between the two groups there were 4 years. So, we tended to associate with each other by group. Home movies usually show Judy and I doing things together and Bunny and Lisa doing things together.

Since Judy was advanced a grade between 6th and 7th, we went off to college only a year apart. That left Bun and Lisa to interact with only themselves for many years, while Judy and I only had four years by ourselves before the others came along. We have pictures of that time but I really don’t recall them. I remember when Bunny was born, and also Lisa, so the four of us were together for 10 years.

Judy and Butch | Lisa and Bunny


Did you get along with your siblings when you were a kid?
The basic answer is yes! I have four siblings and we are spread out by twenty years from oldest to youngest. There are big gaps of years between the five of us and I have always thought that the gaps contributed to the relative harmony among us. There were, however differences in the kind of relationship I had with each one.

Sue, Dick, Diane, Karen, and Linda Spicer

My oldest sibling was my brother, Dick. He is fifteen years older than me so it would be ridiculous for the two of us to bicker or to have any sort of disagreement when we lived in the same house. He left home for college when I was only three years old and got married when I was six. I had a hero worship relationship with him. My earliest memories of him were of being picked up and riding on his shoulders. I remember him as being very tall and handsome. In a lot of ways he seemed more like an uncle than a brother. He was a grown-up already by the time I had any real chance to interact with him. I was a shy little girl and probably didn’t initiate any real conversations with him until I was a teenager. After he was married I went to stay with him and my sister-in-law, Jeanne, a couple of times at their house in Marshalltown. After they moved to Texas, we didn’t see each other very often. It was fun to go to their house when his kids married. Each wedding gave me a chance to interact with him, Jeanne, and their friends as an adult!


My next older sibling was the oldest of us girls, Diane. She was eight years older than me but lived in our house as I grew up. Since she was the oldest, she pretty much bossed me around and I generally did what she said to do. By the time I was a young teen, she had entered the world of work. One thing I remember was that she was always asking/telling me to go get things for her like her book, her nail clippers, her scarf, etc. I remember going to search and ALWAYS having trouble finding what I was sent for. I would look forever because there was always trouble if I couldn’t find whatever she sent me after. She got downright crabby if I came back empty handed. I also remember that she was very generous with me. She often bought me things that my folks never would have. She got me a Barbie doll when they first came out and bought me the coolest outfits to go with it. In those days the clothes were very well made, stylish, and very expensive. I remember the ski outfit with gorgeous fake leather jacket and a gold lame’ dress and pillbox hat that looked like an outfit Jackie Kennedy could have worn. She also bought me a pair of navy blue wool bell bottoms that quite made me a trend setter!

Karen Spicer, Denny Doyle, Sue Spicer, Eileen Doyle

Next older than me was my sister Sue. Since we were only four years apart, we actually did bicker a bit when we were younger. Most of the time it was over the chores we had to do around the house. We had to do the dishes after every meal. We fought over who would wash and who would dry etc. If it got really intense, she might sock me in the arm but for the most part there was no physical stuff. Just as often we would laugh and joke around and have a good time. When I was younger, Sue was given the chore of watching out for me and had to let me tag along after her and her friends. I’m sure she resented that and sometimes tried to ditch me. I always wanted to do the same things she could do and looked up to her and and admired her. She and I both went to the University of Iowa and both of us became teachers! She was also very generous to me. She let me come stay with her in her apartments at college and introduced me to her college friends. Once after Butch and I got married, she bought us tickets to the musical Hair which was playing in Chicago and paid for us to fly into Milwaukee where she lived and invited us to stay for the weekend.


The youngest in our family was my sister Linda. I adored her from the minute Mom told me she was going to have a baby. I took part in all the preparations and loved helping Mom while she was pregnant. I always buckled Mom’s shoes for her when she couldn’t bend over and gladly ran around fetching things. I was five when Linda was born and was so excited to be a big sister. I spent lots of time just looking at her, touching her soft skin, and trying to make her smile. I watched out for her and tried to keep her out of trouble. I did get irritated when she got into my toys but that pretty much stopped after a near tragedy. I was playing with jacks on the front porch and Linda, who was just a toddler, reached out and grabbed one of my jacks. I tried to grab it back when, quick as a flash she popped it into her mouth. I shrieked and tried to grab her and she sucked in a big breath prior to crying. The jack went down her throat and she began to choke. I was horrified and called for help. My dad ran in and tried to reach in her mouth, then began to pound her back. The whole family came running. Nothing was working and she started to turn blue. Dad was frantic and said he would drive her to the hospital. Just as he and Mom got to the car, I suppose he realized there would never be time and he held her by her feet and turned her upside down. He gave her a thump on her back and she threw up and out came the jack. By then all of us were terrified and crying. I knew it was all my fault and couldn’t have felt worse. After that, of course I wasn’t a perfect sister, but I always tried to look out for her and protect her. Butch and I provided a lot of space for her when she was a teen and ran interference between her and our parents when things got tough. She slept on our couch many a night until she worked through a couple years of rebellion.

As we all became adults, I have loved the special close friendship I have had with my sisters. We have laughed together until we cried, and taken care of each other through thick and thin. Losing Diane to lung cancer left a gaping hole in our family but we were all there for her when she passed away. My siblings are a very important part of my life.

Linda, Sue, Diane, Dick, and Karen

This post is part of the StoryWorth project that I am participating in.
At the ButchieBoy main page click the “StoryWorth” category to see the rest of the entries.

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