Once upon a time I was going through a bit of stress and dropped ten pounds in a week.

Woohoo, I thought, skinny! I celebrated by buying a pair of Levi jeans in a size impossible to imagine today.

In reflection, I didn’t look good. I looked sort of like an old-fashioned kitchen matchstick: really skinny with a tuft of red hair on the top. This is not a good look on anyone.

Life Balanced Out, I began to Eat Again and Returned to my Usual Size

Shortly after I grew back into me, Jackie went into one of her crazy freak out exercise phases and poof, her body disappeared. The jeans went to her. You can’t trash a pair of Levis, you know? They have to be completely worn out, frayed edges, blown out knees, in other words–totally destroyed before they leave the closet. Sister friendships mean exchanging clothes–it keeps our wardrobes fresh!

Jackie wore them for some time until she got off her excessive exercise kick and went back to her normal weight. Where did the jeans go?

Neither of us cared until, I went on a crazy fitness kick and started exercising and even though my weight was the same, it got rearranged until I thought: Hmmm, I’ll bet I can fit that impossibly small pair of skinny Levis. Off to Jackie’s house I went. “Where are The Jeans?” I asked. “What Jeans?” Jackie answered, “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”

Jackie’s daughter was barely an adolescent at this time. I distinctly remember who the level-headed adult was as this casual inquiry became the biggest fight in a long history of major battles between two sisters. I mean, this argument beat out when I threw a hairbrush at her down ten feet of hallway, narrowly missing a mirror; or her whacking me a good one with a very wet, very heavy washcloth.

[bctt tweet=”I like an old-fashioned kitchen matchstick: skinny with a tuft of red hair on top.” username=”RoseMGriffith”]

Sister Friendships can Eventually Happen

Again, I ask: How did our parents not give one or both of us away?

The fight ensued and every single unsaid complaint we’d harbored against the other flung around the kitchen along with the aroma from the coffee we had been enjoying. The words bounced off the house walls–made of huge logs, they shuddered against the interior pine walls—damaging their soft blonde color. They hit against the cupboards and dropped with solid clunks upon the flagstone floors.

We exploded with exchanges that should have been shared in childhood. With tirades over things that happened as teens (she stole my boyfriend and I kept my side of the room like a pig sty to irritate her military tidiness). We moved onto who knows what conflicts we had in adulthood when we rarely hung out together and barely knew each other.

It was, as they say in the legends, a battle of epic proportions.

All the while, dear niece stood between us, calmly, dispassionately looking back and forth. She wondered what was going on with these two normally fun-loving women and was she really related to them?

Then, something happened. I wish I could tell you who said what, and what it was we said that became the pivotal point. But twenty-some years later, I’d be making it up, because I’ve no memory of the words.

As niece was getting thoroughly disgusted with the “grown-ups” in the room, it happened. One of us laughed. I’m going to say me because even with my red hair, I was always the one to laugh first when we were kids and fighting—back then because it would aggravate Jackie even more. This time I think the flame in me had died and I was suddenly realizing how much I loved this person.

For Jackie? I think she purged everything she wanted to say to her troubling kid sister for thirty-some years and the angst whoofed out of her in one big swoop.

We started laughing and laughing and laughed until we were crying. We met in the middle of the kitchen and held onto each other and laughed until tears were running down our faces. Daughter looked at her mom and her aunt, firmly and accurately stated: “You two are weird,” and stomped off to find someone saner to hang out with. Sister friendship launched!

Sometime Later, the Levi Jeans Resurrected

I fit them for a while, Jackie fit them for a while. Back and forth they continued to go.

I left Red Lodge to move to Pittsburgh. It wasn’t until I unpacked for about the third move that I found the jeans stuffed in a box I’d never opened. I knew exactly what I was going to do with them. Goodwill? Ebay? No way. I grabbed a marker and wrote down one entire leg. A trip to visit Jackie in Montana, and I snuck into Jackie’s bedroom and tucked the jeans into her closet.

sister friendship in messages on a pair of Levis
Levis – me to Jackie

The next time I visited, the jeans were hanging on the back of the door to my room. More words.

Jackie to Rosemary-Levi messages and sister friendships
Levis – Jackie to RM

Somehow other words got added on and the Levis got hung in her bathroom when I left.

Levis jeans with sister friendship messages written on them
Me to Jackie – again

They disappeared for a trip or two. When I took my life-sabbatical, the jeans were the first thing I saw when I opened a dresser drawer. I howled at the new note from Jackie. When I left six months later, the jeans had room for one more note down one more leg.

And me to Seester
And me to Jackie

Life Battles with People We Love are Vital

We don’t have to be mean or self-serving in these clashes, but we have to clear the air, let a breeze blow through and make sure we aren’t harboring thirty years’ worth of ill will one to the other. We have to let the accumulated conflicts out into the universe so they can float away from us, making us free to love more deeply and unconditionally than we ever thought possible.

Here’s to Jackie—my BFF and the love of my life–the other half that makes me whole.


As I get ready for another trip to visit Jackie and the other lunatics, I realized that Levi Jeans were missing when I was there last month. How sad! Will they make an appearance next time? I’ll keep you posted. That’s how sister friendships evolve.


Read, Another post about my favorite jeans, I Want to Wear Out Like a Pair of Levi Jeans