The Powder Girls and My Little Brother


By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | September 19, 2012

My younger brother Terry had not seen our mother for many years until I broke the news to him she was dying of cancer. He had been separated from his wife for a time but gathered his wife and daughter and made the eight-hour trip to our mother’s home. I waited anxiously with two of my girls and Mom. My other daughter Emily came with her six-year-old daughter Carrie to witness the much anticipated, if bittersweet, reunion.

Terry, Leanne and seven-year-old daughter Brianna arrived safely and came inside to many hugs and a few tears. There were old stories and a lot of laughter that day as everyone pieced together bits of disjointed histories. Our parents had a horrible, abusive divorce but Terry’s visit paved a new future— however long it lasted.

Terry looked around uneasily and not seeing his daughter, became anxious. Emily’s daughter Carrie was missing too. A quick search of my mother’s home located the two offspring safe and— baby powdered! Both girls had bonded instantly and took their mischief where they found it, in the guest bedroom. The powder must have looked funny as it was shaken here and there. The powder was so thick in the air you could hardly see your hand in front of you. The cloud billowed out into the narrow hallway. What – a – mess!

Both girls had bonded instantly and took their mischief where they found it.

Looking at my brother Terry I could see he was about to explode. Emily and Leanne were seeing to the “powder girls” so I took Terry out onto the back porch to cool off. He was mad— boiling mad— and embarrassed too! Whether inherited or learned, we grew up under the same roof, with the same parents who both had anger-rage temperaments. We were cut from the same cloth; like two peas in a pod, Terry and me.

The difference between Terry and me isn’t quite visible until you know I became a Parents Anonymous member, a parent who spent more than twenty years trying to overcome extreme anger. Terry did not have the same advantage living on the idyllic coast of North Carolina; he was awash in fury.

With the “powder girls” getting cleaned up safely inside, I talked with Terry about my anger and how it affected my life. I have walked in Terry’s shoes… I told him how I went to Parents Anonymous for help and about some of the parenting tricks and tools I used to prevent me from hurting my own children. I tried our grandmother Mur’s little trick to get him to see this experience in ten years from the present, and just how funny it would be. That was in 1996, sixteen years ago!

Terry and I still keep in touch. Last week I sent some websites to Terry to read. The next day I got an e-mail with a single-line reply, “When I was looking around I thought about the powder girls in Mama’s place.”

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

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About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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