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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dear Grammy...Secrets

Initially, I meant to post this on the other BLOG...

It is MOST interesting, pertinent... and perhaps it will entice you to read the other BlOG too! Insightful... it will stay for this eve -
xo Amanda

Evening of 3/12 -Secret
Dear Grammy-

... or should I refer to you as the beautiful Katharina from Holland. Oh no I have not forgotten about you, except I am sure that you have reincarnated into my Niece, Jane. I can see it in her eyes. Jane loves her Bop; my dad; your son. It is you, and I am apprehensive about telling my sister this; she doesn’t take kindly to anything suggested outside her realm of understanding. Who am I kidding; she already knows that I am nuts. But I like to protect her from upsetting things; I cannot stand to see her suffer. You were one of seven siblings so I know that you can relate. I always wished that my sister and I would have been close growing up like you and your sister Annie. I remember you used to tell me stories about how you and Annie used to go to the beach, meet boys and double date. You were so beautiful, the two of you. Real 1920's and 1930's sirens! I can just picture you laughing, smoking, and deliciously flirting in the rumble seat of your flavor-of-the day’s car.

Amber and I were so different growing up, not to mention she was 5 years older than me. Poor Amber … she was forced to be my surrogate mother because I was such an unruly sister, and because my parents both had their own businesses to attend to. Amber called the shots, therefore we constantly fought. It wasn’t until later that we were able to fall in love again, like small children.

Luckily, she hasn’t been afflicted with this mental yuck. Neither were you, thank God. Heaven knows you had enough to contend with: a brain tumor and experimental surgery in the 1950's, and a husband who died in a jail cell in Mexico while on a business trip, because the police wouldn’t give him his heart medication. That love affair is a novel unto itself; Katharina and Harry: Martinis and Mayhem. You managed to live thirty more years after Harry died in 1969. My mom told me that she asked you whether or not you would marry again, and you placed your manicured hand down on her lap and smiled, “Peg ... I will never be subservient to a man, again.”

I found it very interesting that mental illness did run in your husband’s side of the family. I never knew that Harry’s mom, a beautiful young woman from Sweden, was swept off her feet by Harry’s father, who was a French/German sea captain (who knows- they were descendants of Alseiz-Lorraine in France, on the border of Germany). Because of his nomadic lifestyle, he took her away from everything she knew, including her language, and they lived from port to port. He left her for months at a time, and on his brief visits at home they had two children: my grandfather Harry, and my great Aunt, Hazel. Sadly, I never met either of them. She raised them alone, and she felt abandoned, and terribly depressed. When she became pregnant for a third time, out of desperation, she attempted to abort the fetus herself, and hemorrhaged to death; a successful suicide.

Some might say, “how could a woman take her life when she has children to love and raise?” That is where mental illness sadly prevails. Someone who is suffering is consumed with thoughts of nothing but her or himself. It is the most selfish disease: dear me, woe is me, are they looking at me, why me, and why not me. You really can suffocate beneath Sylvia Plath’s “Bell Jar.” It exists, and it is all-encompassing.

Love, Ana

Ana's Read of the Day

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