FROM THE BOOK
It was a typical suburban family…the four of us. I was the baby. The family had always been tight and always managed to have a lot of time for one another. We really had close ties with one another. I can remember traumatic times (which I’m sure everyone goes through), but with the help of each other we got by. I was constantly aware of what I came from, and it affected what I did. What was one person’s problem was shared by all of us, as well as the joyous moments. I remember how friends and neighbors would comment on how great this quality of openness among our family was. Friends wished that they too could have this type of communication within their family.
I think my parents had a lot to do with this. They have seen a lot and for the most part have been good parents. Their position was somewhat like a force that kept us together for so long. They believed in discipline and individualism. They were cool: they raised us to be honest, respectable people but left room for the “person” in each. I think that the respect we had for that quality let us become so close. All of us practiced the morals and values that we were so carefully taught. To put it rather bluntly, we were “good children.” All intelligent, we knew how to cope with life in the workaday world. We were definitely a unit…blood-tied and tight.
Another thing I can remember is the endless talks that we would have during dinner hours. This was a necessary element if we were to keep in touch with one another. We would join together and eat and discuss anything from the weather to Brueny’s relationship with her best friend. Or we would all listen intently when my brother felt like talking about baseball or football or anything. These talks were both interesting and educational to all of us. We kept close tabs on each other and tried our hardest to help each other if the help was needed. Mostly all of our security lied within the family. We depended on each other to share our confidences and our grief.
Like I said, we were tight.
Now, my attitude toward the family leaves a very bland feeling inside of me. You see, I watched something go sour in our once-tight unit. My brother cracked up, and this began the mess that changed it all.
Karen’s homework assignment for media class, 1975, high school senior, seventeen years old: