Memoir Contest Winner: Big Sis by Kelly Wright

by Matilda Butler on October 25, 2012

catnav-scrapmoir-active-3Post #196 – Women’s Memoirs, ScrapMoir – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett


First Place Winner (Tied) Announced in Women’s Memoirs Contest – Gratitude for Uncommon Sisters Category

Has there ever been a person in your life who meant a lot to you? Maybe you have lost track of that person? What would happen if you were to find her (or him)? Such is today’s story. We are pleased to publish Kelly Wright’s story, Big Sis.

Women’s Memoirs congratulates Kelly Wright on her award-winning story reminding us of the importance of gratitude.

Big Sis

Kelly Wright

Big Sis is not my biological sister. She was my babysitter when I was “knee high to the fence post.” My siblings were all teenagers when I was born and off being adults while I was just being a kid. In a sense – I was an only child. My parents were quite the social butterflies and they needed someone to look after me so they asked one of the neighborhood girls – Barbara. She was my babysitter from the age of five until ten and we spent summers together doing what I imaged sisters would do.

Barb, Kelly, Dad & Mom, Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, MI, Summer 1974

Barb, Kelly, Dad & Mom, Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, MI, Summer 1974

My birthday is in July and she was always there to celebrate with me. I remember one year she got me Barbie furniture – the pieces were burnt orange, mustard yellow and pea green — typical 70’s. She went on summer vacation with us as a babysitter but I thought of her as much more. I doubt anyone mistook us as sisters though; she was tall and thin with long blond hair and I was short with chubby cheeks and mousy brown hair that didn’t even reach my shoulders.

Many years later…
I began to write my memoir and was browsing through my shelves for a book that might inspire me and picked up Brent’s World from my shelf and reread it. This was written by my babysitter, Barb. She wrote about the death of her son due to drug addiction. I immediately knew I had to find her, to see how she was coping with her tragedy and to get some writing tips from my dear friend and babysitter.

I didn’t know her married name so I found her mom and got her email. I contacted her and ironically she had recently tried to find me on Facebook, so we made plans to meet for lunch. We hadn’t seen each other in approximately thirty years, and over a three-hour lunch, we laughed, cried and talked nonstop. I gave her part of my memoir and she emailed me after she read it and said, “Kelly, you’re very talented and God has a plan for you and your book.” That day I started to call her Big Sis and she called me Lil Sis.

That lunch was in the spring of 2011 and since then we have emailed, texted, talked on the phone and met for lunches. We rarely go a day without contacting each other. Her advice ranges from movie and book critic to marriage counselor and spiritual advisor. She is also my biggest fan. I sometimes forward my journal to her and I could write, “Blah blah, and then the cow jumped over the moon, yada yada yada,” and Barb will always reply “Kelly, you are very talented.”

She is truly the only one who understands the need to write. She understands that writing is therapy, joy, sharing, expressing, venting, remembering and the list could go on and on…

I don’t know where I will be this Thanksgiving. I do know that in my heart will be Big Sis and in my hand will be a pen and my journal.

I am sure that everyone has had a “Big Sis” in their life; a person who had some impact on their life as a child. Someone you just can’t and don’t want to forget. They may not be someone who is sitting with you at the Thanksgiving dinner table but give thanks to them through a prayer and then find them. I am so grateful I found my Big Sis and I will never lose contact with her again – I promise myself that.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ronda Armstrong November 3, 2012 at

A lovely story and a wonderful reminder to all of us to express gratitude to those who have touched our lives in special ways. Keep writing!

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