As I sat there listening to her go on and on about how she is still best friends with her crowd from high school and how they got together regularly to talk about everyone we had gone to school with, I wondered if I at one time or another I had been the topic of one of their conversations and if not, within the next week I knew I would be. I imagined her telling them how old I looked or that I hadn’t had a manicure in months, that I worked and didn’t give all my time to my kids, or that I still had the untamable curly hair that was so often the target of her insults. I didn’t care! I loved myself the way I was. I had a wonderful husband and family and my life was good. It may not be perfect but then again, I wouldn’t want it to be. I had accepted that my hair would never be stick straight, that I wasn’t going to grow another five inches so I could be tall, but I didn’t care! I was small and slender and I stayed that way because I worked out and took care of myself. I loved me just the way I am. I wished I had come to that revelation in high school but I realize now without all the drama in high school I might never have found me—the person that I am today and the person that I am most proud of. I almost wanted to thank her. I interrupted her rant and said I had to go. She said to friend her on Facebook; she wanted to stay in touch. I laughed as I walked away. That is one friend request, I am definitely going to ignore.
I never write to Editors, but your "money-pit" story was so funny and right on , that I LMAO!!!! Please give us more! You have a real talent!
For many years I was a subscriber to More, but recently let my subscription relapse. Part of the reason for that included the plethora of self-absorbed and depressing memoir and other personal stories that keep cropping up ever since Lesley Jane Seymour took over as Editor-in-Chief. As a 51 year old woman who lives a pretty much fun and fascinating lifestyle, I rarely if ever find myself reflected in More's pages. I thought that, perhaps, this month's memoir "The Father I Thought I Knew" might be a bit different.
I was wrong.
First, I was taken by the author's inability to truly see her Father as not just a product of his generation, but a product of the history that surrounded and shaped him. I was also disappointed in the fairy tales she spun around him as she imagined him doing this or that among "wod-be artists and intellectuals."
My reaction is so negatively strong to this because my own Father died recently, and I discovered things about him, his life, and his times, that would make author Bliss Broyard's head completely fly off her bourgeois shoulders. Being black is nothing compared to finding out that your Father once had a completely different name, that the man who he claimed as his own Father might not have been, and that his Mother (whom he often called "a whore") might actually have been a prostitute in the deep South of the 1920's.
It also pales when one discovers that one's Mother may, too, have been the product of an illicit relationship,potentially with another woman who also may have been a "whore," or perhaps was the illegitimate daughter of one of her sisters.
In order to make sense of this sordid family history, I didn't just sit there and imagine this or that. As I had learned through my studies of English Lit at Smith College, sometimes one must see the person in their times to understand what he/she might be writing, why they said something a certain way, or even just to understand an action that might be completely objectionable in our own times. For me, I started to dig into the world of the 1920's and 1910's, when my Father and Mother were born, to discover some truth about their worlds and what was so different about mine.