Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Cousin Lynne

I have a cousin who is seven years older than me. When I was younger I absolutely ADORED her! Whenever we were together, I would follow her everywhere and do everything she did, or at least I would try to.

We lived about an hour and a half away from each other, and her mom and my dad are brother and sister. There wasn't a thing about Lynne that I didn't love.

She spelled her name with an "e" at the end. Wow, when I was a child, that was a special thing. It set her apart from everyone else and gave her a little more class in my book.

She was an only child, and that was great in my opinion. She had no younger brother (like I did) who would constantly bother her and get in the way.

Lynne took piano lessons, so whenever we went to visit them, I had her show me how to play something on the piano. I can read music, but trying to get both of those hands going at the same time...well, that's not quite something I've mastered yet! HOWEVER...when I was in kindergarten my teacher asked if anyone knew how to play the piano and I raised my hand. I figured that Lynne had taught me well enough that I could get by. My teacher asked me to play something for the class and I just pounded the crap out of those keys, hahaha! She told me to go back to my seat then...I guess she wasn't impressed.

Lynne was also a majorette. Now THAT was really cool! When I would stay there for a few weeks every summer, she would have to go outside and practice baton for about an hour before she even ate breakfast. Of course, I would be right outside with her. She could twirl 2 batons at one time and that was so cool to watch. I started trying to do her routines with her.


Okay, those of you who know me personally can now QUIT laughing like crazy.

All things considered, I really wasn't that bad. At the time. When I was young. Way back when. Way WAY back when. In a previous life. When I weighed a LOT less, and I do mean A LOT LESS.

I even went so far as to tell my high school band director that I might consider trying out for majorette. (I told you people to stop laughing!) But she told me that I wouldn't make it because I played trumpet and I was pretty good at it and she needed me there. Did I believe her? Of course I did, hahaha!

Lynne had contacts. So naturally I wanted glasses so I could get contacts too. Lynne had braces for a while. I wanted them too...at least until the time came to get my impressions taken and then I changed my mind and talked my parents out of me getting them. Besides, they would have interfered with my trumpet playing.

I felt bad for Lynne though. Whenever I would stay there, she had to take me everywhere. Not only did I really want to go, but my aunt (her mom) MADE her take me. She would take me to the park swimming pool. Of course she would stand around and talk to the guys (who ALWAYS seemed to be hovering nearby!). If she and her current boyfriend were going to go out riding around, there I was, in the backseat. Oh man, those guys must have HATED me for that!

I would just love to watch her get ready to go somewhere. She had to get out her clothes, which were absolutely perfect and gorgeous on her. Then she would start her whole make-up routine. That would take about an hour to get it absolutely perfect. Then she would do her hair. She wore her hair so many different ways that it constantly amazed me. It would be nothing for her to take over 2 hours to get ready to go anyplace, and I loved watching her get ready each step of the way.

So anyway, Lynne was like my idol. She was beautiful. She had these gorgeous high cheekbones and long, thick dark hair. Her smile was absolutely beautiful too. She wore a size 2, so she was thin. She reminded me a little bit of Cher, of Sonny and Cher, only Lynne was much prettier.

Lynne decided to become a teacher and went away to college. Fortunately she stayed her in Ohio, but a couple hours from home. She was a majorette in college too. Oh, how I idolized her.

Her boyfriend that she met in college would come to my aunt's house and stay for a few days at a time (in another room, of course) and I'm sure that he got real tired of me really quick. But he never let on. He was a pretty nice guy back then. Once he and Lynne got engaged, it was REALLY great, because he had "connections" with the Cincinnati Reds and our Grandma was a big Reds fan. The boyfriend's dad had an executive position with the Reds and back when the "Big Red Machine" was in existence in the 1970s it really paid off. Lynne and Grandma went to several World Series games and sat right behind home plate. Lynne got to meet many of the Reds players and even got a baseball autographed by all the team members for my younger brother. That would include players like Johnny Bench, Pete Rose (yeah, I know), Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Ken Griffey, Cesar Geronimo, and others.

She graduated from college and got a teaching job immediately. She was teaching 4th grade, living away from home, engaged to a great guy.

Lynne also had some bad luck.

When she was in high school she had to have her wisdom teeth removed. They were so impacted that they had to be removed in the hospital. She ended up in ICU for a couple of days because things just didn't go smoothly.

Her freshman year in college, she caught mono. She had it really bad. She had to come home and she missed an entire quarter. It took her a couple of summers to get those classes made up. Then she found out that her boyfriend/fiance just wasn't quite the man she thought he was, and she broke up with him. She eventually met another man and fell in love and got married. He turned out to be gay, so she divorced him. She met yet another guy, fell in love again, and got married. After a few years she became pregnant. When she was 4 months pregnant, she had appendicitis and had to have her appendix removed and was on morphine. Of course it wasn't an easy procedure, because nothing with her ever is. Fortunately her daughter was born 4 months later (a month premature) and everything was fine.

It gets worse. She and her husband were walking out of a restaurant with their daughter and Lynne had on those Dr. Scholl's wooden foot sandals. (Yes, I had several pair too...just because Lynne did!). She fell as she was walking out and broke her ankle. Of course it wasn't just a normal break, it was all messed up. The doctor that set it and put a cast on it did a terrible job. About 4 months or so later she had to have surgery on the ankle and have it re-broken and cast again. That didn't work either. She had to have some other kind of surgery on it and they had to put the lower half of her leg in a halo type contraption. She had three titanium rods through her leg, holding the halo in place. Then a week before the surgery to remove it, she felt a snap and one of the titanium rods snapped inside of her leg. Her surgery was moved up to IMMEDIATELY. Not too long after all that got sort of straightened out she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Of course she has the worst case that her team of doctors have ever seen. She has osteoarthritis in her back and was in severe back pain for a long time....months and months. This was going on during her flare ups with fibro. She finally had back surgery to fuse certain vertebrae, and is now in even worse pain.

At this time she is practically bed-ridden.

If it weren't for bad luck, Lynne wouldn't have any.

It's hard to see the person that I so badly wanted to be like slowly turn into the person that I would least want to be. I feel so bad for her.

I guess we never really appreciate what all we have, even if it's not what we thought we wanted.