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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » 5000 Memories -- Happy Birthday, Maya

   
Author Topic: 5000 Memories -- Happy Birthday, Maya
Raia
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I was six years old. Nervously, I sat on Sarah’s couch and waited for her to get off the phone and tell me that my mommy and my new sister were ok. A half-eaten apple lay forgotten in my hand as I fidgeted on her brown, puffy couch. Finally, my wish came true; we hurried to the hospital, and I held my tiny sister, Maya, when she had only seen the world for half an hour.

I was seven years old. Excitedly, I rushed around school, telling all my friends every little thing that Maya did. I went to her crib to examine her while she slept, making sure she still had all her fingers and toes. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to steal them while she was sleeping. That would have made me angry.

I was eight years old. My family took a trip to the American Southwest, where we rented an RV. Maya was two. I wanted to fold and unfold her portable crib inside the RV. My dad obviously didn’t know how to do it properly. This was the big sister’s job. After battling with the various pipes, I condescended to allow my father to help me. It was, of course, because I wasn’t tall enough to reach the top ones. Yeah. At mealtimes, Maya would give us long performances, standing up in her high chair, administered entirely in Mayanese, as she could not yet speak. She would sing, dance, and give speeches. Each show was different. Even at age two, she was already starting to develop her love of the spotlight.

I was nine years old. My dad got offered a job at Warwick University, in England. We packed up all our belongings and said goodbye to the neighborhood in which we’d lived for the past three years. The community in which Maya was born. On the plane, I taught Maya how to play “agulim” (circles), a game that my mother had taught me once on a plane trip, before Maya had been around. With just the pen and paper, we amused ourselves for hours. It was also at this age that we were introduced to Bumblebee, Maya’s childhood playmate. To Maya, Bumblebee was as real as I was, and she came to share in many of our family’s joys and woes. A fifth person was never allowed to sit in the car, because that was Bumblebee’s seat, and Maya always took great care to buckle her in safely. Bumblebee remained with us until Maya was almost ten, when her stories became fewer and fewer and finally stopped being told altogether.

I was ten years old. Maya’s fourth birthday. My family rented a bouncy castle (a huge inflatable palace that kids jump on) and set it up in the backyard for her birthday party. Her cake was a pig, roughly attached by skewers so as to avoid a sudden accidental decapitation. Suddenly, the party was interrupted by screaming from the castle. We rushed outside to see what had gone wrong. Maya was lying on the floor of the castle, clutching her small, four-year-old arm and screaming. My father transported her to the emergency room while the rest of her four-year-old guests enjoyed cake and ice cream. I sat and waited for her to come back. A few hours later, she walked in with a broken arm. Someone had accidentally jumped on her when she fell over in the castle. Not a tear was shed when she came back. She ate some cake, one-handed, and continued to enjoy her birthday party.

I was eleven years old. We were tired of living in Coventry. It didn’t suit our needs. We decided to move again. Once again, we packed up our belongings, and this time, drove the hour drive to Oxford, where we parked once again, this time in a rented house. Maya’s prospective school, St. Barnabas, refused to accept her before her fifth birthday, which was to be in April. Maya cried, having been promised this school with the paper maché animals in the lobby window. Instead, she was placed in a nursery school until she could be admitted to kindergarten. Some of her best friends in England were found in her nursery school class. Mrs. Payne, her nursery school teacher, remained Maya’s favorite teacher for a very long time after.

I was twelve years old. It was December, and Maya’s school was getting ready to explain the story of the nativity. Every time the vicar mentioned the animals in the barnyard, a small voice rose in protest at the lack of pigs in the story. The vicar agreed that this was indeed a terrible misunderstanding, to have forgotten the pigs, and the teachers laughed at his reaction upon discovering that this disapproval came from the only Jewish girl in her class. Later on in that year, Maya and I, and our friends Sahar, Avner and Alma (all of whom continue to be some of my dearest friends today) wrote an entire show called “Heart and Soul.” We performed it for our families and neighbors, and all the Summertown kids. It was a huge success, and the donation tin we set up at the front of our house raised over two hundred pounds in support of the World Wildlife Fund. Maya stole the show, as she had been prone to doing all her life, speaking in an adorable Oxford accent, and dancing her little heart across the “stage.”

I was thirteen years old. Once again, my nomadic family found itself packing up everything in the house, and shipping it overseas, to Bloomington, Indiana. Two weeks we stayed in the house of a colleague of my father’s, an expert on Chinese history, and took care of her cat, Xiaouhuang (which the neighbor taught us to say), and waited for our new house to get vacated. Maya had seen “Basil, the Great Mouse Detective” at a friend’s house before we left England, and had fallen in love with it. I had never watched the whole thing myself, but knew the entire movie by heart after watching my little sister re-enact the entire thing for her family. Three or four times a day.

I was fourteen years old. A scared freshman waiting to experience her first taste of an American high school. Maya was looking forward to her mixed first/second grade class, in which she had already participated the previous year as a first grader. Her class did a project on important people from Indiana. Maya took great pride in announcing to us that Abraham Lincoln himself was from Indiana. It was not until later that we found out that he was not born there, but in Kentucky. But Maya continued to be proud, even after this upsetting revelation.

I was fifteen years old. I got my first summer “job” dog-sitting an eight-year-old Britney Spaniel, and a thirteen-year-old arthritic German Shepherd/Japanese Akita mix. For four months, their owner was visiting his ill wife in France while I went to his house and took care of his dogs every day (my mother refused to let them into our house). One afternoon, Kara was at our house, and Maya knocked on my bedroom door. She opened it, apprehensively looked inside, and informed us that Lucy, the spaniel, was outside our front door. The three of us hurried downstairs to find this announcement to be completely accurate. She had undone the gate by herself, and walked the two blocks to our house, a haven she knew well by this point, having spent many happy hours in our backyard. We returned her to her home, and made sure the gate was properly latched.

I was sixteen years old. The wishes of Maya and me for a dog of our own finally came true. A Spaniel/Golden Retriever mix by the name of Charity was delivered to our door for a trial period of one weekend. She never left. We renamed her Tallulah, at Maya’s suggestion, and she became a central part of the lives of all of us. Maya took Tallulah and showed her off to all of the neighbors. It was with great pride that she introduced the beautiful new addition to the family to everyone she knew.

I was seventeen years old. College decisions were weighing hard on me, and I took less time to be with Maya than I should have. Much of my time was spent shut in my room, talking to my friends online, reading Hatrack, and doing my schoolwork and looking apprehensively at college applications. Finally, I came to the decision to study in Israel for a year, after which my family coincidentally decided the same thing. This time, we packed up just part of our belongings, and flew to Israel. Maya, who could speak the language but hardly read, learned Hebrew at lightning speed when she was placed in an Israeli elementary school for sixth grade. She stubbornly persevered despite being behind the rest of her classmates, and studied in Bible class, among her other classes, a subject with which she had hardly been acquainted before. Heroically, she completed all her homework assignments in Hebrew, and began talking like an Israeli as opposed to the American-born daughter of an Israeli. At her school’s very first assembly, she bravely sang a Hebrew song, learned the week before, into the microphone while her entire school listened.

I am now eighteen years old. Today is Maya’s twelfth birthday. Her bat mitzvah. The turning point in her life, the rite of passage, when she crosses the border into womanhood, according to the Jewish faith. I can’t believe this came so quickly. My memory of sitting on Sarah’s couch and waiting for the announcement of a new baby sister is still as fresh and vivid in my mind as it was the day after her birth. I’m sure there will be many memories from this year, and all the rest, as she continues to mature.

Happy birthday, Maya. [Kiss]

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rivka
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*wipes away a happy tear*

That was lovely, Raia. And a yom huledet u'mazal tov l'Maya! [Smile]

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Boris
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This is the kind of thing I missed out on...Sometimes being the youngest isn't all it's cracked up to be. Thanks for the landmark...And, uhh...I'll second what rivka said [Smile]

(((Raia and Maya)))

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imogen
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[Smile]

Happy Birthday, Maya!

She's lucky to have such a great big sister.

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Rappin' Ronnie Reagan
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[Smile] [Smile] [Smile]
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Shigosei
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Happy birthday, Maya. Congratulations on becoming a woman.
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ReikoDemosthenes
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*smiles* that was beautiful...thank-you for writing it...
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Derrell
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That was truly beautiful. (((Raia))) Wish her a happy birthday. Hatrack is a better place for having you here. [Wave]
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Morbo
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Happy birthday, Maya!
A very moving tribute to your little sister, Raia. I enjoyed reading it very much. [Smile]

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Beanny
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Beautiful... Happy Birthday, lots of health and good experiences!
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SteveRogers
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(((Raia and Maya))) That was quite beautiful Raia. I hope she has a wonderful birthday and bat mitzvah (?).
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twinky
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[Cool]
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Belle
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Raia - that is one of the best things I can remember reading on hatrack. Seriously.

Can I save it and share it with some other people? I will give you full credit, of course, and if you want to email me your full name and all so the credit is accurate that would be great.

You may be wondering why - I've been asked by some people to work on a community education class on journal and memoir writing. This is a shining example of the types of memories that should be written down and preserved. It was a joy to read - I'd love to share some or all of it (if I ever get the class off the ground) with the people who take the class.

Email me if you have concerns or anything - it's bamawards_AT_alltel_DOT_net

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ElJay
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[Smile]

Very, very nice, Raia. I hope you save it so Maya can read it again on her 18th birthday. Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

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lem
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That was very lovely. I have seen less and less siblings with the kind of relationship you share with Maya. That you for letting us in.

quote:
This is the kind of thing I missed out on...Sometimes being the youngest isn't all it's cracked up to be.
I am the youngest too. I hear ya!
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Raia
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Belle: I would be honored. [Smile] I'm so touched that you want to use it. I'll e-mail you my name and such as soon as I'm done writing this post. Thank you!

Everyone else: [Smile]

Thanks. [Kiss]

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romanylass
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Happy Birthday, Maya. [Party]

That is just lovely Raia.

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lucy hummer
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Maya is seriously the cutest kid ever. I think my cutest memories of her are standing outside south waiting on her bus, or oh Finale!!! that was perfect, I went up on stage at the end with roses for you, and she came up with me, being so cute, we'd talked on IM a few times but I don't think she knew me at this point, and she told me her life story just waiting on you to see us and get your roses.

(note I'm not stalking raia, but I just emailed her)

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Eruve Nandiriel
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(((((Raia)))))
(((((Maya)))))

Happy Birthday, Maya! [Smile]

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digging_holes
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Awwww.

That was beautiful. [Smile]

*chuckles about the vicar and the pigs*

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Teshi
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[Big Grin] :) Little sisters are great (I have two).

[I didn't realise you lived in England for so long!]

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Raia
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This is Maya!

I am so moved! Thanks so much! Today was really exciting and I thank Shani so much! Thanks for the "Happy Birthdays" and as for the good lucks- I'm going to need them!

The surprising thing is I rememeber almost all of the memories.... [Wink]

Thanks you so much again!!!!

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Raia (Shani [Wink] )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Thanks Sarah (Lucy hummer) for the compliment!

[Blushing]

Now we are going to have a family dinner to celebrate and then its off to shower and to sleep for me.

Thank you, [Wave]

Maya, the new "woman" (ack)

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MaydayDesiax
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(((Raia and Maya)))

Maya, happy birthday! You're lucky to have a big sister like her and not me. [Evil]

Raia, thank you so much for letting me read this last night. Congrats on 5000, little one.

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Miro
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Great landmark, Raia. Both in the sentiment and the quality of writing. [Smile]

quote:
quote:

This is the kind of thing I missed out on...Sometimes being the youngest isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I am the youngest too. I hear ya!
I couldn't agree more. I used to ask my parents for a little brother or sister as a present.
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Raia
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((((((((((Maya))))))))))))) [Kiss] It was my pleasure!

Everyone else, thanks again. [Smile]

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esl
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Happy five thousandth post, Raia!

Happy Birthday Maya!

My younger brother turns eighteen in a couple days. Coming up with gifts is so hard. Your post was a very fun read, Raia. Keep 'em coming [Big Grin]

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Corwin
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Oh, they grow up so fast! [Wink]

So tell us, Raia, when are you going to give Maya "Ender's Game" to read?!

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Narnia
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Raia! Great landmark! I'm so grateful for my sister, I don't know what I would do without her.God bless you both! [Smile]
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Kwea
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That was amazingly well written. Great landmark.
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Dragon
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[Smile]
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