Carolyn’s Online Magazine (COMe)*
MARISSA AND JOCELYN: A FAIRY TALE
*COMe: Credible, Observant, Motivated, ethical
Once upon a time there were two pigtailed girls with ribbons in their hair that was the color of golden raisins. Their mother, Sarena, didn’t want to care for them when she married her second husband Tabor, so their Grandmother Kallie surrounded Marissa, eight, and Jocelyn, seven, with bear-hug love.
The children loved Grandmother Kallie, a somewhat plump woman whose favorite dress had once-red flowers that were now faded pink. Her thick stockings often sported wrinkles at the ankles, and her black, low-heeled shoes were beyond a good polish job. Wisps of her orange-tinted white hair stretched out from the semi-perfect bun that sat just above the collar line of her dress. Her rosy cheeks had comforting wrinkle lines and ruby red lips left lipstick smudges on her grandchildren’s faces when they were kissed.
Grandmother Kallie read Marissa and Jocelyn fairy tales like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling,The Snow Queen, and The Princess and the Pea. Grandma Kallie would also play Candy Land, Go Fish and other games with Marissa and Jocelyn, and only occasionally allow herself to win.
The girls were the best dressed children in their neighborhood because Grandma Kallie was an excellent seamstress. She made them the most gorgeous outfits—plaid dresses, pink skirts, white blouses.
Grandma Kallie frequently let the girls cook with her. On Valentine’s Day they made cutout cookies. The three of them had great fun decorating the hearts, horses, and stars with icing of all colors. And Grandma Kallie didn’t even yell at them when they made a mess of things. Grandma Kallie even kissed Marissa’s nose when it was covered with purple icing, and ran her fingers through Jocelyn’s icing smudged golden hair.
One day Grandma Kallie became very ill. The ambulance came and got her and took her to the hospital. When the ambulance took Grandma Kallie away Marissa and Kallie had to visit their Mother. The next time Marissa and Jocelyn saw their Grandmother was at the funeral home.
After that Marissa and Jocelyn had to live with their mother, step-father, and sister, Perenna, three years old. Their step-father Tabor made them wash the dishes, do the laundry, clean the kitty litter, scrub the bathroom with a toothbrush, and wash the walls each month. He would inspect their work and if he was dissatisfied with anything they would be punished. He would make them stand in a corner with their hands up in the air for twenty minutes. He would beat them with whatever might be handy—a belt, a wooden spoon, a yardstick. Mother Sarena would laugh at his punishments, and sometimes she would beat the girls too.
Perenna was the perfect child in the eyes of Mother Sarena and stepfather Tabor. She could do no wrong in their eyes. But Perenna gained joy In causing grief for her older sisters. She would toss kitty litter on the floor and blame her them. She scattered papers, smudged dirt on the walls, colored the kitchen cupboards, and blamed Marissa and Jocelyn. Then she laughed when they were punished, mocking them while they stood in the corner arms stretched up or cried out in pain while being beaten.
Mother Sarena and stepfather Tabor worked to destroy the loving relationship between Marissa and Jocelyn. When Marissa requested a bicycle for Christmas it was what Jocelyn received. If Jocelyn wanted a cookie she was told no and the cookie was offered to Marissa. When either of them did something the parents deemed was worth punishment both girls were beaten.
The girls lived in this wretched environment until they grew up. Marissa was the first to leave home. She moved far away, able only to get mediocre jobs. It took Jocelyn many years but she completed college and found a good job.
It wasn’t until about ten years later that the sisters saw each other again. There was much animosity between them. Mother Sarena and stepfather Tabor’s teachings went deep.
However, one day they had a conversation with a wise old woman named Ivana. She reminded Marissa and Jocelyn of their Grandmother Kallie, so they listened to her sage advice. Ivana told them that they were the only two persons that shared their common childhood, and that their Grandmother Kallie had taught them to love and value each other.
Marissa and Jocelyn considered Ivana’s words and took them to heart. They forgave each other and released the harsh feelings they shared. They also forgave their Mother Sarena and stepfather Tabor. These actions freed them to love each other.
And they lived happily ever after.
Although the fairy tale above isn’t biographical it does incorporate some aspects of the childhood my sister and I shared. Last week, while reviewing notes I’d kept on our conversations, made over the years, I spoke with my sister and we reflected on the stories of our childhood—both good and bad.
Sister and I: Cluttered Versus Neat Home