FOREWORD

Women are stronger than men. They just are.
My mother’s strength allowed her to make a steep and arduous climb, and to carry us with her. Failure was inconceivable. She saw possibilities, learning, and a world we never imagined. Navigating there alone, she seized opportunities, and sidestepped disasters. She managed to keep me on track, despite my laziness and ugly ignorance. What she did for us I can never appreciate fully, because every day I understand her wisdom better.

The events related in these pages are true. The names of almost all living persons outside my family have been changed, but not names of schools, businesses, or places. I have not left out anything I remember from the years here chronicled. Some anecdotes, related by one or both of my parents, are identified accordingly. Dates that are not specific are approximate. They were, however, established by a documentary timeline.

Not all the episodes shared in this point-blank account are cozy or pleasant. But no one is exempt from childhood wounds. Just as scarred skin shapes each emerging layer, our early wounds shape us, unwittingly, to graft their remnants on our successors. My parents always meant well. Like everyone, they were mightily influenced by their own backgrounds, long on austere discipline, not forbearance.

Many helped me with this exercise, which I began for my sons. I thank Mr. David O., who first exposed me to writing as a craft. To Marc I extend sincere gratitude for encouraging me heartily. “I see a writer in you,” he once told me over cigars before sharing the Roman proverb
– “The Fates guide those who will listen. Those who will not, they drag.”

“No one is exempt from childhood wounds. Just as scarred skin shapes each emerging layer, our early wounds shape us – unwittingly – to graft their remnants on our successors.”