Assistant News Editor
"Why can't we name her apple juice, Mom? It's my favorite drink and I think it's a great name."
It has been 20 years since my sister requested to name me Apple Juice. I'm not exactly sure of her reasoning, but thank God my parents did not to give in to her pleading.
"Oh no! Elizabeth! I can't get the wagon to stop! We're definitely going to fly off the bridge into the creek!" I don't understand how 12 years have passed since my sister and I decided to take our little red wagon and go-cart down the huge hill on Redbud Lane.
"Mom! Laura poured glue in my hair! It's gross and she's laughing!" It's hard to believe that it's been almost eight years since I ended a fight with my sister by opening an Elmer's bottle and emptying it in her hair.
"Uh, Elizabeth … I'm not sure how to tell you this, but my head's bleeding — BAD. The stereo speaker must've knocked me in the head when it fell from up there."
Can someone please explain to me how four years has flown by since I visited my sister, attended a freshman dorm party and ended up with staple stitches in my head?
For 20 years now I have fought with, yelled at and even resented my sister. We've grown apart and back together again. We've shared a room, telephone privileges and even Michael Thompson, the boy that gave both Elizabeth and I our first kiss on the cheek. There was a time in my life I never could have imagined becoming friends with my sister, much less best friends.
For 18 years, I did everything possible to avoid the path she took. She played basketball; I was a cheerleader. She was smart; I acted dumb. She listened to rock; I listened to country.
And, yet now in about a month, I will get the separation from Elizabeth I wanted for so long. She will graduate from Notre Dame, move on to her real life, and we will see each other only during short visits and holidays.
I realize from this moment on, I will never live down the hallway from Elizabeth and most likely I won't even live in the same city. Now the day has come when I wish more than anything that Elizabeth could continue living on this same campus. For the first time in my life, I am so proud to follow her footsteps.
Last week in one of my classes my teacher accidentally called me `Elizabeth.' That alone was the single reason I almost did not attend Notre Dame. I was sick of the comparisons. And yet last Tuesday, being called the wrong name did not bother me at all. For the first time in my life, I took it as a compliment, as if I'd been told I resembled a famous model.
Elizabeth, I've always complained about following your footsteps and what a burden it's been on my life. But now I'd like to thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for always letting me tag along and welcoming me into your world. Thank you for always listening and giving sound advice.
Most of all, thank you for letting me follow your footsteps. It's a wonderful path you've left behind.
And Elizabeth? You can even call me Apple Juice if you want.
All Inside Stories for Thursday, April 6, 2000