Bobbie Billups

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Wise Words

An Unsolved Mystery is a Thorn in the Heart!

I borrowed this introduction to this article with the permission of Joyce Carol Oates, award winning novelist, who gave her students permission to use this statement for a writing assignment. I am a virtual MasterClass student of hers so hopefully this permission extends to me.

Imagine what life would have been like for a 7 year old girl and her 9 year old sister experiencing what she thought was the happiest day of her little life. She and her sister are skipping, laughing and singing as they walk along an East Coast inner city street. She instinctively knows that she is leaving something for something else. She has no idea of why or what, however, “the something else” has to be very good, or why would she feel this happy. A day that is etched in her mind as a very happy moment in her life that had its beginning and ending at the same time.
What would her life have been like if this experience was true?

Does she know at the time that this event will change her life? Or does the event gain importance only retrospectively as she tries to identify issues that drastically impacted her relationships with her family members.

Life went on as it does without regard to the shift in this girl’s and her sisters´ life.

Yes, sisters. Not just her older sister who skipped, laughed and sang with her along that inner city street, but another sister who was left behind in “something” that these two girls were leaving.
There are many unsolved mysteries. Some that will never be answered, and some that are being solved, gradually, now that we can get past the long time held culture of secrecy. Some secrets were forever buried with those responsible of deliberately depriving these three girls of a very special relationship.

As for this little girl she had one sister because her oldest sister was never spoken of in her presence. Over the years she came to know that she had another sister, however, the separation was so wide and the negative perceptions of that older sister were so deeply implanted that sister number 3 didn’t really exist.

At least the two sisters had each other. Number 3 was alone. She had suddenly lost two people that she had known all of her life. The two people that she had slept with every night, played with, gone to church and school with.

Some other questions for her were/are: where was her mother before this pivotal moment? Where were her grandmother and grandfather? They were the “something” that she left behind.
Where was her father? Because the man with her mother that day on that inner city street was not her father. Not even someone that they knew.

Although some of the experiences of this little girl seem dark, there is also light in that negative experience. Even as this little girl and one of her siblings were apart for decades they now get to enjoy one another (remotely because of COVID). They are comparing experiences of the past and fostering a wonderful loving relationship, even though she does not get to relate to both sisters at the same time because it is still just two. They are getting pleasant surprises as they get to know each other and sister # 2 in different ways.

So this little girl did get the best of life with both sisters, just not at the same time.

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