"Carter and Rae, arm in arm in their sweat clothes, were singing 'Sisters ... Sisters ... Never were there such devoted sisters...' Apart from the fact that Carter was eight inches taller and thirty years younger than Rae, they were quite convincing" (p. 68).I remember the lyrics a bit differently: "There were never" instead of "Never were there." So I googled and found here that my memory of the lyrics was correct. I also discovered it was sung in the 1954 movie "White Christmas," helping me find a photo for this post and also date the story this passage evoked for me.
Ada Rentfro and I met on our first day of 7th grade at East Side Junior High School in Chattanooga. I found that link showing the school many years before we arrived there in the fall of 1952, but Mr. Tallant was our principal, just as he was in the 1940s. Ada and I met because we were in the same homeroom, which included both R and S, for Rentfro and Setliffe, our family names. We also sat near each other in band and orchestra classes with Mr. Baker and Mrs. McClearen, respectively.
Mutt and Jeff, one tall, one diminutive, as you can see in this picture. Our friends called us "Mutt and Jeff," especially after we stood on stage side by side to sing our song.
In Beth Gutcheon's novel (see quote above), one of the women was eight inches taller than the other. And the two in the book were singing OUR song, the one Ada and I bravely belted out in junior high school.
Ada and I were the same age, with our birthdays only a month apart. I remember the fun times when we sang, played in musicals, marched in the band during halftimes, and even beyond school. She was in my wedding, we both worked at Sears for a time after high school, and we knew each other's children — her five and my three. We'd meet for lunch to laugh and talk, even though we lived across town from each other, and stayed friends until the day she died in 1992, when we were only 52 years old. I still miss you, Ada.
Monday morning update: The next morning after posting this, I found a tangible connection to Ada and wrote about it. Click here to read about the invitation to a kitchen shower from 1959.