One of my cousins from out of town mentioned on Facebook that she and her hubby were coming to town to visit, and would anyone like to meet up somewhere to visit? My sister and I said yes, as did a local cousin of ours, so we headed out last night and met them at a restaurant/bar/golf course on the south side of the metro area (known here as “downriver”). We had a great time. There was eating and drinking and lots of talking, and eventually a pretty good covers band started playing. It was really good to see my cousin, and good to meet her husband too, since he had never gone to any reunions so we weren’t sure he actually existed. (Heh heh.)
The talk was mostly light, but there was inevitably some family history chat and that got really dark. It was some stuff that my mother only hinted at over the years, or that she would never talk about at all. Mom hated the foster family she lived with after her mother and aunt died (she was 13, and stayed with them till finishing high school at just-barely 19). She never said why, and I just assumed that it was because she was angry over everything, being an abused child, and then an orphan at the same time she was entering adolescence. Apparently there was more to it than that, centering on the father in the foster family, and things he did to young women when he could get his hands on them. Mom never mentioned that. But maybe it wasn’t just aggravated adolescent angst that made her dislike her foster parents.
Shocking, yes. And I wasn’t sure how to react. It was related in a relatively offhand way, and that was because apparently this isn’t as rare an occurrence in the real world as it is in sheltered Charlie-Land. But after spending as much time on family history and remembering stories my parents told, nothing really surprises me anymore. It just further dulls my faith in humanity, that’s all.
Maybe I should’ve said “allegedly did to young women.” But I tend to believe the women, or in this case the daughters of the women. The family’s past was, at times, horrible, but … here I was at dinner with three women, survivors themselves and daughters of women who had to live with so much. As my out-of-town cousin said, we’re doing better. We, both male and female descendants, have made lives and mostly escaped the problems our parents had. We will likely live longer than our parents did, and have happier, safer lives. We hope.
Note: I “owe” you an entry, as Friday got completely away from me. I promise there’s a lighter entry coming.