Wednesday, September 29, 2004


I had intended to regale you regarding my recent obsession with almond butter, but it seems I have unwittingly set off a family crisis, the details of which are much tastier than that smoky spread sensation.

My mother was just made aware of the fact that I'd posted a story regarding our family history.

Though I did in fact believe that story to be the truth and presented it without embellishment as fact for the record, the story would be better represented as a composite of impressions I'd gathered from snippets of others' recollections recounted over the years and assumptions I'd made to fill in the blanks. Such are the consequences when the one and only time I actually took notes, my mom, sister, and I poring over that map some 10 years, I was inebriated.

The damn notes were illegible.

Let me set the record straight. My mother's father and brother were never at Monte Cassino.

Nor did my grandfather have a mistress who helped them leave their village. The Russians ordered them to the trains, like everyone else, with only a couple hours to collect their belongings.

There is no Pulitzer prize for journalism in my future. Apparently, I'm much better at writing fiction than I thought.

I have, in my mother's words, cast dirt on my mother's family's name (which shall remain unnamed), who suffer great shame and humiliation for the lies I tell to the world, or at least to all 11 people who read this blog.

For the hurt it has caused my family I am truly sorry.

Still, I find it interesting that, in a time when people are rediscovering their past and looking for roots (witness the resurgence of "family values," the best-selling status of memoirs, the popularity of genealogy associations, courses, and software), when people are celebrating the "secrets" of thieves and murderers as the blood coursing through the branches of their family trees, an indiscretion I took for fact (though it is groundless) and told unflinchingly can stab deeply into the heart of one family's moral upstandingness, causing horror and casting shadows on its sense of right, but also of propriety.

Let this entry also serve as a reminder to readers, particularly of a certain age, that the internet is vast and anarchic, that my story is one to be lost among billions, that just because it's on the internet, doesn't mean it's true.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As someone whose family tree includes an Irish con man (whose real name remains undiscovered) who persuaded my great grandmother to help him rob her father's bank, then left her in a family way, I feel your pain. At least you have a family name to cast dirt on, I mean.