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To Diane

Posted Friday, August 13, 2010, at 9:09 AM

Some of the most cataclysmic events in human history occurred in August 1945.

On Aug. 6, the first Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

On Aug. 8, Russian formally declared war on Japan, ending hope for negotiated peace.

On Aug. 9, the second Atomic Bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.

On Aug. 10, President Truman ran the greatest poker bluff ever when he declared America would "rain down" destruction -- knowing it would take months to deliver more A-bombs.

On Aug. 15, the Emperor announced Japan's surrender.

On Aug. 16, Diane Kathleen Lewis was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Ruth Lillian and Philip H Lewis.

History surely has a different verdict, but the latter of these events was the most important to my life.

My sister was born when I was all of 22-months-old. The result being I have no conscious memory of when there was no Diane in my life.

More of a natural athlete than me, I learned not to compete with her in most any sport (as did most of her later boyfriends also found). I've been told I have a higher IQ, but she was always smarter.

She and my brother were left-handed and they always teased me about being right-handed. I must have been 10 before finding out most folks are right-handed. It is nevertheless true that left-handed girls make the best sisters (she told me so).

Known affectionately far and wide as "Aunt Diane," my sister is something of a kook. But then every family needs an aunt who is something of a kook. We had my father's sister, "Aunt Mary." Anytime one of our kids thinks Aunt Diane too much of a kook, I can only wish they'd known Aunt Mary.

When I entered first grade my parents solemnly told my brother and I that they had been informed Diane was "retarded" (this was circa 1950). That is a word which sticks in one's mind even these 60 years later. It turned out nothing could be further from the truth. How she was treated then, though, might have helped shape who she became.

Earning a Masters Degree in Special Education, for years she taught children whom nobody else wanted. With (charitably) low intelligence, many of her kids were so physically dangerous that at one small school a security guard was stationed outside her classroom.

There have been times, too many times, when I needed rescue from one idiocy or another, and she was always there for me. For most of my childhood she was my best friend and closet confidant. I would not have survived adolescence without her. She and her husband Bob were there for me and mine at one of my darkest hours. If any good things have come to my family these past 20 or so years, I owe it to them.

I usually call her and sing Happy Birthday -- singing as badly as humanly possible. One time I left my "singing" on the answering machine and scared an exchange student who played the message. A couple of times I was "unavailable" to sing to her, and one year had no voice. I will be sure to get hold of her for THIS birthday.

Happy 65th Birthday Aunt Diane!

David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at kayanddavid@verizon.net.


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I don't know if she still has it, but for years she kept a recording of you on her answering machine signing to her. :)

-- Posted by lawyersusan on Mon, Aug 16, 2010, at 12:20 PM


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