my sister and i got along great as kids, which is great because our parents hated each other. “Lynn!” my father would atone throughout the house. i don’t know why he needed my mother except to scream at her. my sister and i were in the other part of the house playing Shoots and Ladders. it was my turn.

our house was the kind of house where you shouted from room to room to get someone you needed. we had three floors and eight rooms (downstairs: kitchen, living room, hallway; upstairs: my bedroom, my sister Rosie’s bedroom, Dad and Mom’s bedroom, an office; an attic and a basement, which i count as one room) and so if there was something nutso going on with the TV, you couldn’t move to get it. i wonder if people in other families go from room to room quietly looking for their family. “Rosie? Are you here?” another room: “Rosie? Are you here?” it sounds adorable just trying it out.

yelling was the norm. especially when you were hungry. “I’m hungry!” shouted Rosie from the upstairs TV room, trying to catch I Dream of Jeannie on its normal time on Nick At Nite. “What do you want?!” Mom shouted back.

At this point, she would have been able to answer her own question. the one thing my sister always always wanted was the same, and it ended up being the most grotesque food I have come to know.

“Noodles and ketchup!” Rosie would yell. noodles and ketchup?

i’m trying to account for where she learned that such a dish was not a crime against humanity. i guess she learned at a friend’s house or on TV. did Punky Brewster eat noodles and ketchup? my sister did whatever Punky Brewster did.

obviously, this was a fatal flaw in our friendship as sister and brother. we would never be able to eat the same meal. i was on a strict Elio’s pizza diet, up until my parents divorced, and if my sister was going to screw that up for me, i was going to have to find a new family.

“Can I make you some broccoli!” my mom shouted, except this part isn’t exactly true. usually my mom would just microwave the broccoli anyway and bring it up and ask nicely for my sister to eat it. my sister is adopted, though, and there’s only so much they were able to force her to do.

me, on the other hand, ate every single vegetable i was given. i delighted in broccoli, straight and raw preferred, because to me it looked like little green trees and made me feel like a god who eats trees. i would eat broccoli raw and unadulterated. i also loved pumpkin pie, and one Thanksgiving, before i’d grown to like turkey, i ate an entire pumpkin pie.

at this stage in the game, i can’t say that my sister and i differed too much. we agreed that lima beans were repulsive and lasagna was just so-so, worse when they tried to put vegetables in it. my parents swore that as we grew our taste buds would grow with us. in my case they did. nowadays, i’ll eat anything.

my sister will eat almost anything, but only if you cover it in ketchup.