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my brothers having.  Yet I had my brothers, my sister, my 
father, and Mary.  That was all I ever needed.
It was hard for my sister; I can see that now through the 
eyes of an adult.  Yet she coped well with five children in 
her care, as well as a large house, my father, and her 
schoolwork.  Every Sunday their was a picnic in the park, if 
it was sunny, or a movie if it wasn't.  She'd bake cakes, make 
up games for us to play, watch us intently even if she was 
busy cooking or cleaning.
There was a wide garden window in our kitchen.  It gave a 
perfect view of the entire back yard right up the fence that 
separated us from the river.  After school we'd play in the 
back yard until dinner was ready.  I can't count how many 
times I looked up from climbing into the tree house or 
pushing Mary on the swing to find myself looking into my 
sisterís smiling blue eyes.
Whenever father came home he'd always walk into the 
kitchen, kiss my sister tenderly on the forehead and watch 
her for a minute a sad expression in his eyes.  It took a long 
time to understand that expression.  It was a mixture of pity 
and guilt.  He knew how much of her childhood my sister 
had to give up when my mother died.  He felt himself to 
My father loved us.  It took me a long to realize how 
important that love was.  The time he spent with us.  He is 
dating now, but the twins are fifteen.  Fifteen is old enough 
to manage, and Janice's new husband is kind.  Kind to us all, 
kind to me especially.
I can't remember the good times, individually.  They all 
meld into one another to form a feeling of contentment.  My 
childhood was good.  I have stopped blaming myself for not 
seeing what I could never have dreamed of seeing.  I was 
naive; Janice and my father were naive too.  When I tried to 
make them see that what happened was not their fault, I 
realized it was not mine either.
Mary seemed older at thirteen then Janice did at twenty-
one.  We played together, we talked, we spent twelve and a 
half hours together a day, Yet not once did she ever actually 

Copyright Jackie Bulner 1999    

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A Vision of Mary

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Jackie Bulner
Melbourne, Victoria

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