A scrap of a mother’s reading
“I remember your mother was reading Thomas Merton when we came to visit in Menasha in the summer of 1969,” Jim Kari told me.
And I remember she later read a book about Tunisian village life because my sister had been there in the Peace Corps.
And I remember in the weeks before she and my father moved from the wastes of northern Wisconsin she read Hannah Green’s THE DEAD OF THE HOUSE because Hannah was the first person I knew who had published an actual book.
And the book lead my mother to tell me of being a young woman and having to sit the whole night through watching the coffined corpse of her grandfather in the sitting room of the big house in Marlboro, New York where the fields all about were mortgaged to strangers, where his prize chickens ran loose and hungry, where there was a room in the basement, as she said, full of the empty bottles he had drained looking for the reason for sending away his wife and children: the eldest son being my mother’s father and who on the death refused to attend the wake and funeral,
Of his three fortunes there remained only the debts and my mother’s wait by his bier performing the duty of the eldest child of the eldest son who had nothing but hatred to guide him through life.
And now she is dead.
INFORMATION> This is a scrap out of the soon to be waste of my so-called writing life.