"Today is my sister Eileen's 72nd birthday. A very happy birthday, sister. May your special day be filled with much happiness, peace, love and generosity. The more I think about it, the more I realise that a sister is part of one's childhood that is never lost. However old one gets, they keep one anchored to childhood memories and growing up years.
It is said that 'one can kid the world but not their sister', who is capable of sussing out a subtle deceit however clever big brother may think he is. I do know that sisters are creatures who a brother can both love as well as want to ring their neck at the same time.
Myself and sisters Mary and Eileen were born in Ireland and came to England to live as children. Every day growing up, my mother would reinforce the message that we look out for each other. We always have! When brother and sister stand shoulder to shoulder, none can stand against them.They are forever friends and act as a bulwark between all manner of enemy and life obstruction.
During my recent years of cancer treatment, my sister Eileen's constant support (along with all six of my brothers and sisters), has been a voice sweet in the season of sorrow and wise in its counsel. Her actions have been kind, considerate and constant to the truth.
Whenever I want to tease my two sisters Mary and Eileen, I remind them (often within the earshot of others) that until I was 9 years old, the three of us shared a bed and two of us frequently wet it! Eileen, (being the dry one), and wishing to remain dry throughout the night, she would build a dam of sheets between our side of the bed and hers. While I slept in the middle we would scratch each other's backs every night before sleep; one hundred scratches to the person on one's left before turning around and then scratching one hundred to the person on one's right-hand side. It took the two sisters two years before it dawned on them that I was always positioned to get the best of the bargain.
Growing up into our teenage years witnessed the emergence of our independent attitudes. When me and my sister Mary who loved bopping would weekly visit a dance hall in Dewsbury called the 'Ben Riley' for a night of bopping, we would always try to sneak out of the house without our younger sister Eileen spotting us and following. She soon got the idea and when she stopped chasing me and Mary, she started chasing boys instead. Her preference was to go with the boy who had the most powerful form of motorisation. Her first boyfriend (Peter Bowling), who owned a Lambretta was dumped when John (the boy she married), showed up one day with a smooth hair look aided by loads of Brillcream and a 125cc B.S.A. Bantam! She and husband John celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary two years ago.
Whatever I can say about my sister Eileen, I'd have to admit that she's a 'stayer'; someone in it for the long haul.I am not of the view that it is an accident of birth that makes a boy and a girls brother and sister. Having the same parents makes them siblings, but as for brother and sister, they have to work at it. Happy birthday Sis. Your big brother, Billy xx" William Forde: June 19th, 2007.