Velvet Ribbons

Big sister, do you remember
how I cried when you married
and left home (I was only seven),
and how you tried to console me
when you hugged me goodbye,
saying you'd come visit often?
But you knew you wouldn't,
because World War II was raging,
and gasoline was rationed.

You moved far, far away
(or so it seemed to me)
to Miami with your new husband
who soon joined Uncle Sam
to fight for our country.
You stayed on in Florida,
because by then you worked in a war plant
and drew a small check.

Do you remember the lavender-dotted
fabric you sent Mama
to make a dress for me?
And the white eyelet-embroidered lace,
the purple ribbon for trim?
You'd saved up for months
(I learned years later),
because you wanted me to have
a special dress -- a Sunday dress
not made from flour sacks.

That was fifty years ago,
but I can still feel the velvety texture
of the ribbon between my fingers,
and on my cheek --
like the softness of your love, sis.

Copyright 1994 Ruth Gillis

Previously published in Moments In Time February 1995


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