Academic journal article The Mailer Review

Tapestry

Academic journal article The Mailer Review

Tapestry

Article excerpt

A COUPLE OF MONTHS BEFORE DAD DIED, my husband and I went to Provincetown to visit him. The morning we left I went up to his bedroom to say goodbye. He looked at me with his very blue eyes and said "Susie, our family is a fine tapestry, you must take care it doesn't unravel." I panicked! I felt that as the oldest, he had left me the legacy of keeping the family together. On second thought, I realized or perhaps hoped, that he had meant it was a job for all of us: his nine children, Norris our stepmother for thirty years, aunt Barbara, and Peter our cousin.

I got to thinking about how this tapestry was woven and went back to the time I was three or four years old, living in Mexico with my mother. Dad would drive down with Adele, put me in the 1950's version of a child's seat and then drive back to New York on a voyage that took eight days. I used to take this for granted until I had children of my own and realized the amount of energy and devotion such an endeavor demanded.

Later on, as the family grew larger, he repeated this kind of emotional involvement in different ways with all his children. …

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