|Laura "Sissy" Fulcher|
The oak that fell in her yard must have been at least seventy-five feet tall. Once the foliage and small limbs fell off or were removed, the skeleton the remained was not all that different from a high adventure climbing apparatus in a modern amusement park. Soon it was laced with ropes that served as both ladders and swings for the neighborhood boys and girls who met there almost every day.
One of those who gathered there to play was a girl we called “Sissy.” She was a year younger than me, but she was nothing at all like what her nickname might imply. Her real name was Laura, and she lived just to the west of where the giant tree had fallen. Perhaps for that reason, she became the unofficial caretaker and curator of our newfound playground. She could climb and swing between the branches like the “Tarzan” characters that we watched on Saturday morning TV shows. Not only that, she had a “tarzan yell” that could be heard for a quarter mile in every direction.
As might be expected for one of only a handful of girls in our neighborhood that was so dominated by boys, Sissy was sometimes at the center of tussles and even fights for her attention. But in her case, it was because of disagreements over who might get her on their side for whatever game was starting.
As time went on and we all grew older, “Sissy” eventually went back to being one of the neighborhood girls, like her younger sister, Cheryl. But a whole generation of Island boys grew up with a special appreciation for the skills and talents of the “weaker sex” because of our experiences with a “sissy” who was anything but!