My mom and history
Mary Shelley is as meticulous a historian as I am and it worries me as I keep falling asleep while reading Valperga, her novel set in 14th century Italy. Better to be less meticulous, I am thinking, and more of a story teller. I am bored, bored, bored by this huge pile up of Italian facts. Who cares about Guelfs and Ghibellines. Or whatever they are called.
Meanwhile my family has congregated. Where am I? Why am I not over at my mother’s house right now? I have to make baked pasta anything for tonight and a lemon cake for tomorrow. My son had one thing after another this morning, all of which cost a pretty penny, and now, here it is 3:27 PM and I think it is time to write. I want to lie down on the floor or eat many ice cream cones. Or go for a swim. Anything rather than deal with the Shelleys, who are getting more and more upsetting.
Fortunately, I do have one thing to look forward to: tonight my mother and her sister are slated to tell the story of the storm of 1943, right here in downtown Rockport. They were on their O Boat, the Zora, in the middle of a sailboat race, when the sky turned green, the wind blew and voila it was a storm. Everyone went over, including them. They sat on the side of the Zora, waiting to be rescued and compared their favorite foods while the the water blew sideways and the coastguard hunted each boat down: coffee ice cream? roast beef? mashed potatoes? . They were disappointed that they had capsized because for the first time ever they were passing boats. Usually, they came in last. I asked my mom if she was afraid. No, of course not, she said. She is never afraid. Once, in St. Louis, we were walking home and someone jumped out from behind a tree and tried to grab my mother’s purse. She whopped him on the side of the head with her loafer and told him sternly to go away, and he did. People always do what my mother says.