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« Doggedly flunking Psych 101 | Main | A good book I will never read »


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I, too, wish I'd known my parents before they were parents.

But now that I think of it, I wish I could remember what my husband and I were like before WE became parents. What happened to THOSE people I used to know so well?


If you've got a well-developed sense of empathy you can imagine a little bit by looking at old photographs of the two, both separate and together. My mom was a raving beauty when she was at Berkeley in the early 1940s, and my dad was a good lookin' guy in a khaki Navy uniform during the same period. He was never one to talk introspectively about those early years, but Mom (maybe by virtue of living a lot longer) will do it once in a while. It's enlightening.

Exiled in NJ

Once upon a time I found a flyer, a handout, advertising Dan L.... and his Charleston Boys in with my Mother's papers. Now Dan was from South Philly so I had no idea where the Charleston Boys came from, and the only exploit he ever told me about was walking to Atlantic City. So I pictured him and his boys, playing le Hot Jazz on their way through Hammonton, Dan on the banjo and with a piano being pushed along, luring all the flappers to follow them. That's my story anyway; they are both dead and the survivors get to write the history.

mac macgillicuddy

I think this is all a matter of the kind of relationship one has with his parents. I think that if you asked all five of my brothers and sisters, and me too, you'd get six different perceptions and accounts of what our parents used to be, what they now are, and how willing they are to talk about the road in between.

Me, I never had the kind of relationship with my parents -- and I don't now -- that fostered looking back on the early years. They never told me anything, and if I asked now, I'm sure I'd get a grunt and an "I don't remember" from them both.

Frankly, this leads me to believe that they are both on the lam.


mac, thanks for that image. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway made it through that hail of bullets after all!

cali dem

To me, this quote from Paul is more indictative of middle-age angst he is experiencing than it is about his parents.

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