This memoir was written by my Uncle Mike, who is my mom's oldest brother.
It’s really hard to write things about a little sister you hardly knew when she was my “little” sister. I left home to go to war only six years after my little sister was born and did not come back for almost seven years except for military leaves. During that time I met my wife, got married, and had already started a family by the time she had grown to be a teenager. I missed a lot by being the oldest of five children.
Even so, I was stationed somewhat close to home at my last military posting before I was discharged. Just a few weeks before I was to finish my Air Force duty, I came home and picked up my little brother, Jeff, and Deana to take them back with me to Arizona where I was at Luke Air Force Base, near Phoenix.
I’m sad to say that at first, things seemed a little awkward. It was like babysitting kids I only barely knew. Deana was still very young. Deana was only about 12 or 13 years old. She seemed very subdued, even though I knew she idolized her big brother in uniform who had sent her interesting and beautiful gifts from my travels in the Far East. I’m sure that wasn’t because she was timid being around me. If I had to think about it, I would have to say she missed living with her mother and father as a married couple. Sadly, mom and dad divorced while I was away, and Deana lived with my dad who seemed not to care much about the children he had to care for in absence of a mother. This would make any child sad. Hell, it made ME sad, and I was living with the love of my life and enjoying every minute of it!!
After a few days they started to have more fun as we swam almost every day in the pool at our apartment complex in the sizzling Arizona heat. We’re talking August, folks…Hot, hot August! Then we took a trip to the Grand Canyon and Deana still talks about it to this day. It seems odd to me that someone can have clear memories of times long gone by, but cannot remember her friends names from church, or who is the President of the United States.
Anyway, in absence of having decent guidance at home, I stayed close to my little brother and sister as much as I could while being a deputy sheriff in the neighboring county. I would drop in on their apartment my dad rented in La Sierra, and visit her at work when she worked at TG&Y stores. Once when we found out she was dating a non-LDS guy, my wife warned her that his “kind” have only one thing they are after—sex. Well, it didn’t take long for my wife to be proven a seer. Not that he tried anything with her, but he did it with someone else and she found out. She broke up with him and came to ask how my wife knew that would happen? She has been grateful ever since.
Then she told me sometime later she was dating a neighbor boy named Buddy Alves. I remember when I first saw him and wondered if my sister had even learned anything from the last guy. Next thing I know he is being baptized and my sister is marrying him. She had to get out from under a stressful and lonely home life living with my dad and his second wife. How could I blame her?
But, something was obvious; the two were madly in love, and even a hard-nosed cop like me could tell that. So, believe it or not, I began to drop by the newly-weds home as much as I could. That’s when I really got to know my sister, and as you might expect, her new husband who I grew to like quickly, long hair, beads, and all!! He was not afraid of hard work and I respected that a lot. I knew he would be good for her.
We camped and fished together often and always got together on holidays. My sister also added to the family income by selling crystal and had these “crystal” parties. I remember one time when she was trying to sell a group of ladies a crystal dove, or something like that. She said you could use the dove as a way to signal your husband that “tonight’s a good night for romance” by placing the dove upside down on the dresser. I about swallowed my tongue. That’s just stuff I never talk about openly, but both my brother and Deana would giggle at small gatherings joking about uhh, umm let’s just say their love times. Funny, now she has totally lost any brakes and will sometimes say things that will make you blush or cover your ears and yell “la,la,la,la!”
I think it wasn’t until her older years that we finally grew close and truly felt like a brother and sister should towards each other. Which makes it all the more difficult to accept that I am already losing the sister I once knew. I am so thankful that in the life that awaits us hereafter, we will be as close as any family can be thanks to the blessings of a merciful God, temple sealings, and the power of the Priesthood.