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Sunday, June 6, 2010

FAQs on Annie's Ghosts (#2)

Another of the FAQs asked at my talks on Annie’s Ghosts:

Q. Looking back, with all that you have learned about your mom’s secret, can you now see certain moments as evidence that she was hiding her sister Annie’s existence? Was the secret right there in front of you? Did you have a sense growing up that something wasn’t being discussed?

A. I've been tempted, really tempted, to say, “I always felt an air of mystery in my family. Even as a kid, I already knew that my parents were hiding something. It all added up, looking back.”

That would make me look smart, attentive, observant.

Unfortunately, the only adjective that fits here is . . . clueless.

I can’t remember even a single moment of doubt about my mom’s biography or her veracity. Nothing struck me, at the time, as odd, or deceptive, or off kilter. Like most children, I accepted that my parents did not share their innermost fears or concerns. I knew that they protected me from worries about money, which was usually in short supply. But if any of my friends had asked, “Do you think your mom or dad has any deep, dark secrets?,” I would have said, “Our family? Not a chance.”

Looking back, I do wonder: Were there moments where my mom slipped – and her slip just passed me by?

If so, I can’t point to any. In my mom’s company, I was very much a son, a son who had been raised to tell the truth. The summer that Annie died, in August 1972, I was home from college, working at a local factory. My mom managed to arrange for Annie’s burial, and I never picked up any hint of it.

The journalist in me has to just shake his head, and say: Good job, Mom.

Next: “If your mom were alive. . .”

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Anonymous Hope said...

I think that most people would have had no idea about what was going on. Human beings are remarkably good at completely missing any clues that would contradict their world view. Only us truly paranoid types think that everyone is harboring deep, dark secrets. :p

June 7, 2010 at 8:08 AM  

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