Dear Maura Blog
Q & A
Every family has their code -- in ours it was Silence. Coming of age in
suburban Los Angeles in the late 1960s and 70s, I craved stories about
the world from my father, a stoic, Hoover-era FBI agent, my mother, a
former beauty queen (lipstick color: burnt orange) intent on getting
Dad into group therapy (well, Marriage Encounter), and from my
Irish-born grandmother, who looked the other way each time I asked
about the place where our people came from -- Ireland, aka "that damned, poverty-stricken country!" Without any clues to go on, I did what any other young girl voted Most Quiet in her class might: I became a spy, a quixotic Nancy Drew, searching for answers as I read biographies of Hoover and Capone and Dillinger and watched "The FBI" starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr. on Sunday nights under beloved photos of J. Edgar Hoover and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (Such male star power!) By day I marched in May processions; by night I stalked our neighborhood writing down unrecognizable license plate numbers in my secret log. All this to crack the ancient code of silence in our family, one fatefully altered with the arrival of a brother born with Down syndrome, one then shaken to the core by a tragic murder.
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Out of tragedy comes triumph. Out of longing, tearful laughter. Out of silence comes this, a love song for my father, and a love story for my people, a time, and place.