Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Truth

I should tell the truth, but I don't.  Did you know that?  The shitter is that life is much less interesting when people worry too much about the truth.  Let the story carry you away.  It's just a stupid story, man!  Grab a beer and sit down.  The soap opera has begun.

This is the longest day of the year, my Grannie's birthday. 

Grannie was born in 1917 to parents that were blind.  Grannie's aunt and uncle decided that two sighted children couldn't possibly live safely with blind parents and took them away and brought their blind sister with them.  Things like that happened back in the 1920s.  These days, there'd be a two year lawsuit during which the sisters would be separated and sent to foster homes until the verdict came in, so hold your indignation, taco.  The strange thing is that Grannie's aunt and uncle were brother and sister, living together with Grannie's mom.  Imagine that.  Maybe we don't want to imagine that. 

Do I hear banjo music?

It sucks that Grannie's mother died when she was eleven.  Grannie, a font of stories, never said how she died.  Grannie could never face conflict.  She really couldn't.  Can you imagine your insecurity when, at the age of three, you are whisked away from your father and brought to live with your aunt, uncle, and mom, your mom no longer being allowed to make the major decisions for your life?  Grannie talked once of hiding under the ironing board when her uncle was mad.  Gees, pick a better spot to hide, kiddo.  There's nothing protecting you under an ironing board and if you jiggle it by accident, a hot and heavy iron could fall on your head.

Grannie never saw her father again, though the man visited her older sister years later.  How awful was that?  There is so much of this story that hasn't seen the light of day.  Grannie could barely talk about her father, she was so mad.  Kept it all in.  All those stories she used to tell and the big one, she kept quiet. 

There's a saying that the truth always comes out, but it isn't true.  Some truths die with the three year old who was separated from her parents and had to hide under the ironing board.  Grannie lived to be 93 years old, but never really told the truth.

Here's a good question:  does the truth really set you free?  Does my boy really need to hear all the awful truth of his mother's and father's lives, of Grannie's life?  What good will it do?  I want to tell him.  I think that it'll help him know just how good and how bad people can be.  I'm not sure that my husband agrees.  He's a lot more like Grannie that way, who told the sweet stories and hiding the bad ones.  Still, there are some stories that just made the pieces of the puzzle of four generations fit into place.  I'll tell you that story some day. 

In the meantime, I try to picture the three-year-old girl, the one who's face looks like a china doll, straight black hair highlighting her dark serious eyes, hiding in plain sight under the ironing board because her uncle was angry.  I try to imagine the young woman, dressed up and waiting at home when she knew her father was less than a mile away in her sister's house, just waiting and wondering if he would show up at her door, and finding that he wouldn't. 

Thank you for listening, jules

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