Fanny is my father’s older sister, four years older in fact, and even though in middle age she is a bit stuck up and bossy, my father is fond of her because she was awfully good to him when he was little and there wasn’t much money. Fanny went to work when she was 18, she and Moritz were the only family members bringing in anything, and if my father needed a book or a new baseball Fanny could always find a little extra for him. So that past colors how my father sees her forever even if she isn’t much fun now.
Fanny tells everyone that she is younger than my father, calls him big brother. My father is good natured about the deception and I don’t realize the truth until I look at old census records. It makes me wonder about families and secrets and sisters, and how that particular intimacy works. You wind up never meeting them for the first time, there are always memories clinging to you that can’t be brushed off. You’ve got history.