After all the flap about fraudulent autobiographies (holocaust faker, addict exaggerator, gang survivor wanna-be), I’ve decided to write my own memoirs. It (they?) might be extremely boring, but I promise to be truthful, and really, why would you ever prefer a good story to The Truth?
Here’s my story of shame and degradation, humiliation and redemption:
I was born to a 19 year-old mother and a 25 year-old father who had near-identical backgrounds: same race, same religion, same political party, many siblings (5 and 9) and parents who are, 52 and 63 years later, still married. (My parents are still married 32 years later).
Mom graduated high school early to get married and attended university until I came along. Dad started medical school, joined the Navy and served six months in Okinawa, where he read his scriptures at night, wrote home every week, and sent us home videos of himself and the island. My little sister was scared of him when he first came home, but that passed.
I skipped third grade because the other kids hadn’t been read to compulsively as children. And my teacher was a serious under-achiever. I repeated fifth grade when we moved to Oregon where the hippies read compulsively to their children between teaching them to weave sweaters and make tabbouleh salad.
I ended up with two brothers and two sisters. Mom likes my brother better than me, but I don’t blame her for that. He is much easier to like. I got my ears pierced at 8 and couldn’t wear makeup until I was 14, by which time I’d pretty much lost interest, which is while I won’t be linking up to the Fight the Frump carnival anytime soon. Embrace the Frump, I always say.
My dad had a stressful job, back when they made residents and interns work 45 days straight. He was a harsh disciplinarian sometimes. I think my husband (who is a complete softie) doesn’t blame him for that. He still protests (unsuccessfully) when I swear in front of the kids. (I always feel bad afterwards, just like my dad felt bad twenty years ago). We (my dad and mom and I) went to family therapy and moved to a bigger town with more doctors. Now that Dad is a Grandpa, the mellowing process is near-complete.
I went to college and rebelled: stayed up late, got addicted to Mountain Dew, played pool in dingy pool halls (Trouble with a capital T, that rhymes with P, and that stands for Pool.), went to a dance club or three. Dad asked me once, after I’d been up all night and imbibed three 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew, then drove the 30 minutes home to use their computer to finish a paper, if I was on speed. I was not. I got a C+ that semester and generally under-achieved for awhile.
I met Dick, who is sometimes a geek and too addicted to his computer and basketball; he also has a toe fungus and a strange bump under his right sideburn. He is a much better husband and lover and father and friend than I ever imagined, if I had been imagining getting married. We have the same goals, same religion, similar political sensibilities. Enough compatibility to be comfortable and enough conflict to not get bored.
I had a baby. I got so tired that I thought, as I lay awake at night listening to her scream in the next room, that if she had been adopted, I would have taken her back. Would have said, Sorry, changed my mind. We recovered enough a few years later to try again. I had a miscarriage and that was stinky. Got pregnant the next month and had another girl. Another one came two years after that.
Other things happened, but frankly,
I’m falling asleep here just writing this, my agent wants me to save the juicy stuff for when she’s clinched the book deal. Maybe I could sue my parents for not providing me enough angst in my formative years. I mean, it felt really angsty at the time, especially from 1989 to 1992 and 1996 to 1998, but some people might think it was, overall, well, a tad unexciting.