Friday, November 27, 2009

working, not shopping

Old fashioned thanksgiving celebrations I've had very few. My original memories of this holiday center around screaming fights at the dinner table, with me as the youngest, least pivotal character, choosing to disappear to the TV room way in the back. There, I learned everything I ever needed to know about Star Trek, The Addams Family and Gilligan's Island. Why are families so hard to get along with? At least one's birth families. In the novel, Amelia has long left her parent's dysfunctional marriage behind. Yet there are references to her father's descent into alcoholism and the impact it had on his wife and daughters. This was all in the early nineteen hundreds. Now they'd be writing memoirs. Amelia's mother would likely focus on her unusual escape, divorce wasn't common back then. Muriel's on choosing the safer course, teacher, mother, and ultimately family spokeswoman. Amelia's would point out what she learned best, that there's no point in sticking to something that makes you miserable. Her marriage pact accompanies this post, a cut and dried agreement that had its roots in what she witnessed growing up. And also, one has to believe, in the complications that arose from marrying someone she wasn't sure she was sexually attracted to. It wasn't purely a marriage of convenience, but surely a marriage of persistence. Putnam asked her countless times before she agreed to it. She was stating her ground-rules, ones she likely wished her own mother had written.

Apparently her husband and mother didn't see eye to eye, at one point the elder Earhart was shipped back east from Amelia's house to live with Muriel. I'd have been curious to sit in on some of those Thanksgiving celebrations and see just where the friction came from. But it's more fun imagining two people with strong opinions fighting over someone who had long ago figured out how to free herself from both of them. That's an elusive target for sure.

Anyhow, I give thanks for my own family and for Amelia who is currently teaching me how to see the world new, no matter your circumstance. She's sending me to 1980, a pivotal year for me to be sure, and I get to remember it through her eyes, to see all the changes that time has wrought, and to get a second chance with her. It's why I write . . . because I can still be surprised even this late in the game.

No comments:

Post a Comment