Saturday, July 25, 2009


Last December I went to Texas to participate in walking a half marathon with some of my family members. My sister Markee (short for Mary Katherine), on the right, lives in Alberta, Canada, and she had the bright idea that we all do this together. My sisters Fia (short for Sofia) and PJ (short for Patricia June) are the two on the left. The third one over is me, with my glasses in my hand and not on my face. PJ didn't participate in the walk because of health issues.

I was blessed to be born the oldest in a family of six. My brother Buz (short for Norman) also lives in Texas and walked the half marathon as well. It was a wonderful event that brought us all together, and I will always be grateful to Markee for instigating our reunion.
My other sister, who wasn't there for the walk, is Norma Jean (not short for anything), here on the left. Today, July 25, is her birthday. The beautiful officer on her right is her daughter Allison, my niece. Norma Jean and I are 2 years, 8 months apart in age, so we were close growing up and remain that way to this day.

My parents had three children in 7 years: me, Norma Jean, and PJ. Then they took a break from having kids and when I was 16, my brother Buz was born, with Markee and Fia following. The "second family" was raised in one place after my father retired from the Air Force, living in a waterfront house on Lake Worth. The first family moved from place to place as we grew up, in typical Air Force fashion.

For some reason I got the bug to make one post every day this month, and I pondered for a while about what would be interesting. I've told a lot about my life, and thinking about Norma Jean's birthday made me realize that there are lots of people who don't have siblings. I no longer have living parents, but I sure see them reflected in all my relatives, and we are connected in a very profound way.

What's it like to be an only child?


  1. I think you left out one minor detail: Isn't DJan short for something? In the interest of fairness? ;-)

    People are always says to me, "You have five sisters and no brothers?!" These days, I usually just answer with a nod and a very satisfied smile, because no man has a greater set of siblings than I have, as you can all now plainly see.

  2. I was third in a family of 3 boys & 1 girl. Yep, the sole girl! My daughter is an only child and I think it's the reason she has 4 children.

  3. Yes Djan, you are very lucky to have siblings. I have no siblings and no parents now either! I look at your happy faces and I wonder what it would be like to have sisters or brothers or both! Perhaps I will do a post on only children so you can know what it is like (for me at least).
    Blessings, Star

  4. Okay, Buz, okay: DJan is short for Dorothy Jan. Now my secret is out! :-)

    And Star, yes indeed you should definitely write about being an only child, there are those of us born in litters who would love to know more about what it was like!

    Lily, see what you did? But I'll bet your parents were glad to get a girl after two boys. I remember how disappointed my dad was when my sister PJ was born after two girls. Things work out. But you are in a unique position to write about multiple siblings and only children. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  5. DJan,
    Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart and soul. What a wonderful family you have. Continue to cherish those memories, my friend! You are so blessed.

    Congratulations on the marathon. I'm so proud of you! There's nothing better than sharing these moments with family!

    Happy Birthday to your dear sister, Norma Jean. May she have many more!

    As for your closing question -- I couldn't even imagine what it would be like to be an only child. I'm the second oldest of 7 children.

    Again, thank you for sharing such a heartfelt story. :))

  6. Thank you for the wonderful photos and story. I am the youngest of 7, now down to 4. My daughter is an only child. If you ask her, she will tell you she wouldn't want it any other way. She has a best friend, we call our 2nd daughter and her family has become our family. My daughter is 23 and I just think that you adapt, I don't think she has been lonely, she has always had good friends. We live in another state from our families.


  7. Hi Dorothy Jan,

    Hahaha now you have revealed your name! And it sounds nice, how did you parents thought of that cute name. And you sound very athletic and it's nice to know that your family is with you. It goes well with the saying that "the family that runs together stays together"! Isn't it?


  8. AL, you are really treading on thin ground here, since I STILL don't know anything but your initials. You just watch out, you may be forced to let us know what A.L. stands for. :-)

    Until then, I will scheme about how I can get you 'fess up. No, really, AL works just fine with me! (smiles all around)

  9. Thanks for sharing your fam with us! Yup, doing cool things with your given names is deifintely a family trait...

  10. You said you write a post a day? Writing one every 5 days or so takes me forever – researching my facts, looking for my postcards or pictures, all that take so much time. About family – my mother was an only child and my father had one sister who lived in Egypt – they are all gone. I did not mind the lack of a big family growing up but now I miss not being able to visit family in France. I have one second cousin near Paris (her grandfather and my grandmother were brother and sister) and that is the closest I got. I am thinking about looking into my great grandfather’s genealogy to see if anyone is out there in Alsace, but that is a long shot.

  11. I have only one older brother...always wanted a sister,too...but my sister-in-law has become that for me...she is a joy to have in my life too.

  12. I am the first born of three girls. I was an only child for my first nine years but had two older cousins who were like my big brothers.

  13. What a great family story!I love large families ,just so much fun i think.Me??? I have a brother,just the two of us,but we are a close knit family.


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