I gave it some thought and decided that it would be best to write this separate from my book review of Logelin's memoir, Two Kisses for Maddy, because although the thoughts were prompted by reading his book, this is more personal.
i really loved how Logelin wrote the book for Maddy, as a way for her to one day learn about her parents relationship and just little quirks about her mother. As great as i thought it was, I could not help but be a little envious of Maddy.
My father died when I was four and it was something that we just didn't talk about in our family. The things that i know about my father and his relationship with my mom, are really just small tidbits. When you don't know a parent, these little bits of information take on a new level of importance and especially in my adult years, i have become obsessed with anything that i can find out.
So much so, that about a month ago, I had a freak out moment when I discovered a person had "claimed' my father's grave on findagrave.com and had written a bio on him with information that i did not previously know. It turned out, that the person was a distant cousin with an interest in genealogy. i calmed down and wrote her an apology for my angry and emotional email to her. she had not intended to be hurtful at all. i really thought that she was stranger who had picked my father at random, a lot of those lurk on that site. it's weird.
There are some good reasons that we don't talk about my father, but none of these reasons are helpful to a kid trying to understand their roots.
It was never kept from me that my father had died. We just didn't discuss it at home. My mom had me in therapy, which i maintain was useless, except for that the therapist was married to a CEO at Baskin Robbins and would take me for a cone every session. She was nice and well intending.
in first grade, a classmate's father died. i clearly remember sitting at the kitchen table, doing homework and announcing to my mom that my classmates father had killed himself. i don't remember how I found out this information, but I remember telling my mom, because she then told me that's what my father did. It was a fact, thrown out in the open, but we didn't discuss it. i took the information and continued doing my homework.
in ninth grade, i discovered another piece of the puzzle when i found a binder with some paperwork. In the binder was a newspaper, the front page headline was regarding my Father's death. He had been having an affair, with a woman who had twin girls that were my age. My father and this women were drunk, he shot her and then killed himself. i never told my mom that I had discovered our big family scandal.
The idea that there are two twin girls out there that lost their mom the same night ,in the same scandalous, horrible way, is on my mind a lot. I wonder about them, specifically how they were raised in the aftermath and how they turned out. What if they live in my neighborhood and someday, through some circumstance, i meet one of them. i've thought about using this as the basis of a story and i tried to write it, changing around some facts, toying with the concept.
Growing up, i got some stories and facts about my father, mostly from my grandparents. The whole situation utterly destroyed my grandparents and they not only lavished a lot of attention on me, but tried to tell me good things about my father. All of these good things pretty much exclusively occurred during his childhood, before he became an alcoholic. He liked to rescue stray animals and kind. When he was a teenager, he was a champion bowler. I have pictures of him with endorsement deals from bowling ball companies. My parents met at Jewel City bowl in the 50's.
My mom never talked about him much, but occasionally things would trickle out. They lived in Germany and Virginia when he was in the military. Their song was "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" by The Andrew Sisters. He liked dill pickles. He was an introvert, which i am too. Sometimes my mom would compare me to him in an unflattering way, mainly in attempts to bully me into attending a social event. "You remind me of your father" was never a good comparison.
So, I get why it was hard to talk about my father in a positive light. He was destructive and hurt many people, including himself. Although, I can't help but be a little jealous that Maddy will get to have so many facts about her mother. The facts seem to be a way to have a relationship and develop feelings, even when the person is no longer around. it's impossible to know how to feel about someone so fundamental to your life, when you don't know much about them.