23 years ago I did a stupid thing.
I sent a letter to an old friend with some photographs and used a nasty word about a group of people in my life. “Barracudas,” I think that that was it.
There was some nasty stuff going on at Harvard when I was there over Men’s clubs, “Euro-fags’, Manhattan society and the like.
The friend that I wrote wafriene who disdained these elite groups and I was sorry that I wrote him as I did. I had had a child and I was desperate for my old friends. I had been at the state hospital and gotten lost from society. I was writing and calling everybody I ever knew.
Red-haired friend R was out in California in the movie business. I had hurt him terribly in college because he hurt me. He probably didnt even know. I was thinking earlier today about how that happened with a young man in high school and how it was devastating for him, AND FOR ME. I FINALLY AT AGE 59 I backed out of that relationship (with friend R.) in my mind, realizing rhst he was showing me to.
So, yes, that brings it all back.
A single remark can be so hurtful. Or, so well said.
My father is the son of a Yorkshire docklaborer; my mother is the daughter of a middle class English gentleman; a society girl. My father earned a PhD in Physics on scholarship. And never forgot his roots. And neither did my mother ever forget hers.
So, my father and I had a discussion tonight that ended on the subject of my SEXUAL injury. After all these years he finaLy underdstood WHAT THAT MEANT. I was SOCIALLY incompetent.
What with the language difference and other things he just didnt get it. He was challenged himself. He knew that there was a PROBLEM. I kept trying to tell him. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. He just wasnt getting it.
So, my mother is dead. And so is my brother.
My mother had mastery over words, there wasnt one she didnt have before anybody else. She wanted me to plant flowers in the dirt outside in the front of the Advocate building. I disdained her for it at the time. Or, did she disdain herself? Looking back I can see she could have been a good Harvard mother. She just didnt want to. In her mind she disdained it. I thought she was scared, looking back at her in my mind tonight I can see that she wasnt. AND SHE CALLED ME ARROGANT. Another nasty word that ran me for four decades. I was shy and I was in trouble.
So, my father doesn’t give a hoot about New York city intellectuals or semi-autibiographical novelists. Its not his style.
My mother Is dead and so is my brother. My brother DID give a hootabout New York society as I did and it was the death of him as it almost was the death of me 5 times over. I tried to warn him.