Menu Sian Prior

Writer, Broadcaster, Singer, MC & Teacher

Best sister in the world [April 10]

This week my sister Dr Yoni Prior turns 60. She is an actor, director, singer, university lecturer, journal editor and writer.

A few days ago I started a Festival of Yoni on Facebook, posting photos of this glorious woman taken over the last 6 decades. There was one photo in particular I wanted to find, but couldn’t. Maybe she has it, maybe our parents do, or maybe it’s buried beneath all the yellowing photo albums stored under my piano.

It’s a black and white photo of Yoni in her twenties, on a stage, arms flung wide open, singing.  I wanted to find this photo because for me it sums up so much about my beloved sister.

Yoni has always tackled life with her arms flung wide open and with her heart taking centre stage between those open arms. And she always used her voice to make her mark on the world.

She has always embraced adventure – the years she spent living and working in Israel, the cutting edge theatre productions she was involved with, the mid-life punk band she started, the global jaunting with her friends and family.

There’s a story I love to tell about Yoni. We were in Italy together, Florence I think. I was 22 so she must have been 27. Two blondes wandering the piazzas, speaking English.

One day we walked past two guys and one of them said something loudly in a language I didn’t understand. The next second Yoni wheeled around and began shouting rapid-fire at them in the same language.

Turns out the guys were Israelis and one of them had insulted us, out loud, secure in the knowledge that he wouldn’t be understood by these two shiksas.

Bad mistake, dude. This is Yoni Prior and she doesn’t take crap from anyone – and she speaks fluent Hebrew. Kapowee!

Yoni’s wide open arms have embraced everyone she cares about – literally and figuratively. She is always ready to help us, counsel us, feed us, entertain us, and make us laugh.

Twice in the last couple of decades she has picked me up off the floor, dusted me down and helped me resume my life when I thought that would never be possible.

Yoni and I have been close for a long time but we’ve been in almost daily contact for the past two years as we’ve tried to help our beloved parents who’ve been enduring a particularly gruelling old age. I don’t know how I would have managed without her, especially this year. But she’s always there, always with that quick, deep understanding of the emotional dynamics of any situation. Always listening, always caring.

I’m so very, very lucky to be Yoni Prior’s sister. I love her to bits.

Happy Birthday, my brave beautiful lifelong role model. May your arms and your heart always be flung wide open.  xx