I had no idea then of the value of those times. It wasn't just being treated like "one of the girls," it was the sisterly warmth, the laughter and sudden emotion, eye welling up, when one aunt spoke of living so far from "home." Now, probably 50 years later, I can see her leaning against the wall, her sisters looking toward her with understanding sympathy. I can hear them talking about their parents, my grandparents, one difficult, both disappointed with their lives. For a little while, the burden of worry lifted a bit as they shared it.
They were part of what is literally another world; hats and gloves, scars from the Depression, government service during World War II, an abiding sense of appropriateness. Like Betty Draper, they left careers to stay "home with the kids." Their lives were so different from ours, constrained and regulated -- lives that many daughters went to work to insure against.
What we forget is that, even then, there was sisterhood. Maybe it wasn't as powerful and certainly it wasn't as organized, but for me it still modeled a solidarity, loyalty and love of the company of women that I still cherish. And it's so exciting to see us all now, taking that example along with the many farther afield, to enhance our larger community - still a family of sisters - from one end of the Internet to - well - to the whole wide world.
Cross-posted at BlogHer