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Happy Sister Day

Published in ChicagoNow, August 5, 2018

As a woman who has two younger brothers (whom I love), I always yearned for a sister. For my early childhood years, I had a virtual sister, my cousin Annette. Her mother and mine were the actual sisters. Annette and I grew up together for the first seven years of our lives in a two-flat in Detroit. The sister bond we shared was interrupted when our families moved to different suburbs and our lives took separate paths. We reconnected later in life and shared our love for each other as Annette lived bravely with cancer. She lost her battle on died May 31, 2016, and I lost my childhood sister.

Still, I have been blessed in my life with many sisters. I have five sisters-in-law and the women from my Chavurah, a Jewish friendship group that dates back 44 years. I have known my oldest (in terms of length of friendship, LOL) sister since I moved to Chicago 50 years ago. We migrated from our apartments in Prairie Shores near Michael Reese Hospital to Evanston together and have celebrated countless New Year’s eves, co-taught preschool, and more recently joined two women’s marches together. We are the original comedians (not in cars) getting coffee. Other sisters in my life include the woman I met in a parent-tot class 40 years ago and the woman I was lucky enough to meet a few years ago as we struggled with retirement and our encore careers.

Then there are all of the wonderful memories I have shared with my travel sisters. We have gone on many vacations with two couples, and the women and I talked constantly, sharing our lives, parenting advice, and the joy of having grandkids. Recently, I discovered that my sister, whom I met when our husbands were residents at Michael Reese, grew up around the block from me in Detroit. I guess our paths were destined to cross and re-cross, even though geography separated us in our lives beyond living in Chicago. My other travel sister is actually a cousin through marriage.

Sisters have entered my life through work as well, and for that I was very lucky. Even though I retired in 2013, we have maintained the connection fostered through working together at a preschool and then working together to found and sustain Cherry Preschool. Although two of us have retired, the bond remains after 26 years there.

Perhaps having experienced sisterhood with my cousin at a young age, and then losing it, left me seeking to fill that void through friends who became more than friends to me. To all of my sisters through the years, thank you for being there to share happy times and sorrow, to give advice, and to listen. You all know who you are, pictured in this post or not. So “hey soul sisters,” wishing all of you a happy sister day!


by Laurie Levy
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