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Seventy trips around the sun

There are some things a little girl wants as a birthday present.

A two-year-old might want a puppy, but Diana already had one of those.

A tricycle maybe, but she had one of those too.

Building blocks, check. Stuffed animals, check. All the usual, check.

What The Legal Genealogist is quite sure she wasn’t at all prepared for, six days after her second birthday, was the arrival of a wriggly, smelly, wet-at-both-ends bundle plunked into her lap — and her life.

Di holding Judy

As a matter of fact, it doesn’t look much like either of us was entirely prepared for that moment.

That single moment when she and I began to share, well, just about everything: a set of parents, a room, a world, a life.

We are in so many ways polar opposites: she’s the blonde with blue eyes, I’m the brunette with brown eyes. She, as the oldest child, was the rule-follower. I was the second-born–and the rule-breaker. You could eat off the floor on her side of our shared bedroom, you couldn’t see the floor on my side.

And yet despite those opposite traits we were the best of friends–and the klutziest of co-conspirators. It was, of course, always my fault. I would head off to do something dumb, she would dutifully follow along to try to keep me out of the worst of trouble, and inevitably end up in trouble right by my side.

When we played hooky from school, and we did more than once, it was always my idea. When we decided to raid the Christmas stash and see what our presents would be (ruining all of the Christmas surprise), it was undoubtedly something I thought up. When we ended up covered in dirt or mud, it was always something I had started.

Still, we were always together. Walking to and from school. Taking care of younger siblings. Even doing the dishes (and both of us hating every minute of it).

But time has a habit of changing things, and our lives and our ways changed as we grew older…

She joined the Air Force and I went off to college. She moved to California, I stayed on the east coast. We no longer shared all our thoughts and all our concerns. We didn’t share the same interests any more. We didn’t like the same music or watch the same shows or read the same books.

We had, it might have seemed, grown completely apart.

But time also has a habit of doing its magic.

We’re now the ones who remember best what it was like way back when. We’re the ones who remember the day each one of the others was born, or married, or brought a new member into the family. We’re the ones who remember — and share — the stories.

We share a common interest in our common family history. We share a common commitment to finding the entertainment value even in the parts of life that drive us batty. By the miracle of modern communications, we share a part of every day together that we can, even though we live miles apart.

She has, as of this week, made 70 trips around the sun. She’s officially a septuagenarian.

She’s my first friend.

My oldest friend.

My lifelong friend.

Diana and Judy

My sister.

Happy birthday, Diana — from one who is still wriggly, occasionally smelly, but at least not usually wet-at-both-ends!

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “The septuagenarian,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 16 Mar 2019).

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