Posts Tagged: family
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The Best Time I Was A Child Con Artist

My family has many unwritten rules. The second most important is: do not open the door if the doorbell rings only once. In our family, if the doorbell only rings once, you were either a salesperson or a canvasser. And salespersons and canvassers are liars and thieves.

My mother came to this conclusion shortly after she first immigrated to Canada; two scam artists pretending to work for the government tried to enter our home. Looking back, this is probably why I couldn’t make it as a (sort of) con artist, selling chocolates on the mean streets of southwestern Ontario.

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Bonded and Bound by Flesh: The Story of Daisy and Violet Hilton

We all long for a kind of bond that can’t be broken by time or distance. You hear stories about twins who share a natural closeness and an almost telepathic communication when separated from the other. Who wouldn’t want a special connection with a sibling who was the mirror of our thoughts and feelings? Or would the attachment be so constricting it strangled? What if your special someone was inches from you 24/7, for life?

Daisy and Violet Hilton were sisters cemented together by a band of flesh. It was a curse and a blessing: without it, they would have been freed from their trouble; with it, they were the [...]

3

Talking to Molly Caro May About Moving to Montana to Live in a Yurt She Built Herself

In 2009, Molly Caro May moved to Montana with her husband and built the first home she would ever stay in for more than a couple of years—a yurt. She wrote about the experience in her memoir The Map of Enough: One Woman's Search for Place.

What have people’s reactions been to your move, generally? More like “I wish I could live your life” or more like “How the hell are you doing this”?

I hear a lot from people that they wish they’d done something, if not necessarily this particular thing. Lots of people tell me, “I had an opportunity when I was 25 to choose [...]

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How the Nutcracker Wrecked My Christmas

I.

The year that four of us were a family in the Nutcracker, night after night pretending to have Christmas on stage, we stopped putting the Christmas tree up. We rehearsed instead of decorating. Then my mom had my little brother and retired from the Nutcracker for a second time in her life. The Christmas tree went back up, but this time, its branches drooped with pink. We'd retired the normal Christmas ornaments and hung every last ornament that one of us had received as a Nutcracker gift. Ballerinas and pointe shoes and so many Nutcrackers and mice and soldiers and Claras: characters and shoes enough for fifteen productions danced [...]

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Gifts My Father Gave Me

My father was terrible at gifts. Terrible at receiving them. You would break your back to find the most amazing, perfect gift ever, he would open it, pause, say, “Thank you!”, put it down, and never speak of it again. Over the years I bought him, among other things, a beautiful, strange coffee table book about Mexican churches, a silver wall hanging with a scroll of paper for note-taking, a wooden 3D puzzle in the shape of a gondola, a tiny statue of Molly Malone, which was the first song he’d learned and partly the inspiration for my name. The only gift I ever bought that I can confirm he [...]

11

You Belong To Me

When I was eight years old, the only thing I wanted to be was president, and Tommy Hanlon told me in front of everyone in my class that I couldn't be.

One plank arm, square in my face with a noodly little finger: "If you weren't born here—you can't be president!" he squealed, a proud look in his eye.

At the time I was ostracized and lonely and distinctly un-American. I was, by the Southeastern Pennsylvanian definition, a "normal looking" eight-year-old, with a whole lot of love to give, but I had an untrustworthy accent that I'd brought over from England and a few other Victorian ticks like asking a [...]

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Who We Tell When We Watch Our Parents Die

I’ve spoken to very few people about what it was like to be in a room watching my mother take her last gulps of air. It was dinnertime, dark. We’d just had pizza. We’d been taking turns sitting by her side when there was a change in her breathing. All the oxygen drained from the room. When my mother died, it was just my family in a semicircle, alone together with what moments ago had been “her,” but in the span of seconds had become “her body.” She was 63.

When I read that comedian Laurie Kilmartin was live-tweeting her father’s dying days, I recoiled as though from an uppercut [...]

20

"She Couldn't Openly Be Who She Was"

I don't know if I'm, like, "allowed" to link to this, because I know the author and edited the piece, but it's the best thing I've read all month, and I've been thinking about it every day for weeks, and it seems dumb not to share something like that just because of an etiquette rule that I might be making up in my head.

So! I would like to recommend "Rooms We Die In" by Migueltzinta C. Solís, about Solís's trip with his mother to clear out the residence of a recently deceased aunt who was a hoarder. The conditions they find inside are horrifying, but they also [...]

7

Mad Men: “It’s Nice to See Family Happiness Again”

You can choose your friends but not your family, wrote Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird; it’s a sentiment that carries through last night’s Mad Men, though it has a twist, because in a time in which the standard definitions of family begin to fluctuate and expand, the boundaries between families and friends and even coworkers blur as well. And, with family, to some extent, you do choose—you can choose your wife or your husband; you can choose to leave (like Roger’s daughter); you can choose to suppress (like Peggy, like Roger) or even recreate (like Don).

Last night’s show, the second to last we’re getting in the first [...]

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Daikon Cakes, Our Mom's Way

I am the eldest of four sisters. In private, we compare ourselves to the only large, sprawling group of sisterdom represented in pop culture: the Kardashians. There are three of them, and four of us, so someone has to be Rob. That honor goes to Shaina, due to her predilection towards Thrasher shirts and street wear, and the fact that she has somehow transcended the prickly personality and tough exterior that is our inheritance, and is a sweet and self-sufficient person. Sometimes, she is the favorite. The rest of us fit into our categories. I am Kourtney, sensible, frowny, perpetually exhausted by the antics of my sisters. Jenny is Khloe, [...]