Monday, July 04, 2011

Old Route 28 - Sidebar

My notes contain the remaining scattered bits about the preparation and execution of the trip. Yet when I looked them over, I discovered a theme. The difficult and sad parts of the story were most of what remained. Twenty years ago I would have jumped to the conclusion that I was avoiding these topics in some way, refusing to "deal" with them - a word which has no meaning, BTW. I would have resolved to plunge ahead and discover what important pain I was refusing to embrace, what secret I refused to allow to be told. You know, like the movie reruns they used to have on TV.
A young woman in search of her past returns to her (or her parents'/her great-uncle Wilbur's) home town only to discover a dark (or horrifying/ultimately pointless) secret. Natalie Wood, George Peppard. 1963, Unrated.

I don't think that now. If facing uncomfortable truths about the past needs to be done, I have certainly done enough of it. I have come to believe it is only a way of avoiding uncomfortable truths about the present. Plus, anyone we make a critical observation on is likely to be remembered fondly by another. Hell, I have found that people object if you are not gushing enough about Uncle Wilbur; or, I suppose if you say anything nice about his wife, Aunt Phyllis who they have never quite forgiven for taking the good piecrust table of Gram's. It's a minefield.

So. There are stories about my mother and father before they divorced, and stories of the man my mother almost married, and stories of the man she finally did marry, who never liked me much. That's three swamps to avoid just with Mom alone, without even getting to the parts where she almost died - which she a lot, actually. Usually within spitting distance of Rte 28.

Did I avoid the incidents because they were uncomfortable? Maybe. But the discomfort would come more from the effort it would take to word things correctly to my own satisfaction, for this would be the only record of many events. A few of the stories might be generally interesting. A few more, interesting to the family. Then an equal number of uninteresting stories that beg to be included for completeness' sake, or because they are a counterweight to some other impression I have given.

I don't think there's going to be much in the last post after all. Not interesting enough.


james said...

I started blogging with grand intentions, but after a while I realized that many of the most interesting family stories were ones I had no right to tell, or which could cloud the way the world viewed my children.

Dubbahdee said...

Yeah well, you could just let us be the judge of that. In my experience with you, the retelling itself is interesting enough to be worth paying attention.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

Your Clyde Joy-Willie Mae story back in April was classic story telling at its best. It should find publication. More of the same please.