Friday, April 20, 2007

Remembering Temple

Tomorrow, April 21, would have been the 47th birthday of my little sister, Temple. She killed herself 14 years ago, slitting her wrists after drinking a bottle of vodka. She was thirty-three years old, five years younger than me. While Temple had been having trouble in her life since she was a teenager, battling addictions to various substances, and perhaps mental illness as well, I always thought that someday we'd be old ladies sitting on the front porch together, laughing about it all. But it just didn't turn out that way.

Summer 1960 ==> Me, holding Temple the cat,
and Wylie holding our baby sister Temple.

Temple and I were the two youngest of six children. I used to pull her around in a little wagon, up and down the long central hallway of our house. She was a typical bratty little sister, putting pink lipstick on my white and grey cat, dumping out the little bottles that came with my chemistry set, and stealing the money from the 'Please Help Us Feed Our Cats' collection box I put out at one of our parents' cocktail parties. Our personalities were very different- while I dressed in oversized sweatshirts and played with cats and cowboy guns, Temple wore pink ballerina outfits and played with make-up and other girly stuff. My favorite children's story was Alice in Wonderland. Temple's was The Wizard of Oz. She had the soundtrack to the movie on a record, a red vinyl record, which she played over and over again. I seem to remember that one of my parents finally broke the record in two because they just couldn't stand hearing it any more.

Temple at 15

An odd footnote to Temple's life... A few years ago, just for the heck of it, I entered her name into Google and did a search, to see if anything would come up. I got a hit for a cheesy low-budget vampire movie, called 'I Married a Vampire'. Temple was listed as one of the actors. I ordered the video. If anyone reading this has actually watched this movie, Temple plays the supporting character Portia. It was an awful flick, but it was very cool for me to watch Temple in it, and hear her voice again. It was like having her pay me a strange sort of visitation, 10 years after her death.

So... Just to let you know,
I'm still thinking of you, kid...

Happy Birthday, Temple!

A photo montage that was
for her memorial service

(click on it to view larger image)


Kelly Martin said...

Jaya I really enjoyed reading this, hauntingly beautiful. She is beautiful!

Kim said...

Gee Jaya
how sad....I have no words...just want to say that this is a beautiful tribute to your sister

Jaya said...

Thank-you, Kelly.
Thank-you, Kim.

Your kind comments are appreciated.

Tiffany said...

Jaya, this is lovely. I'm so sorry--and so glad that you seem able to cherish the memories. My only sister is 33 and 8 years younger than I...despite all of the turmoil and on-again-off-again, I can't imagine a day that she doesn't come trailing through with her bags and backpacks full of knitting and writing and art projects and promptly blanket an entire room in my house.

Jaya said...

Thanks for your comments. Yes, sometimes we forget to appreciate the blessings in our lives, taking them for granted. A loss makes this clear, and reminds us to set aside our petty quarrels and to focus on the bond of love that is there at the core.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful way to remember your sister. That is so neat that she was in a movie and you were able to get a copy now.

Anonymous said...

Jaya - sorry for your loss all those years ago. It's a wonderful way to remember a beautiful person.

Happy Birthday, Temple!

Jaya said...

Thanks, Gerri
Thanks, Translator

I appreciate your comments, and
Temple would have as well.