Friday, November 24, 2006

Family Secrets

I have a little story to tell you.

It’s about a woman who was married three times. Her first marriage produced a daughter. Her third produced two more daughters. Although her first and third marriages were (I’m sure) quite interesting themselves, we will not be talking about them today.

We will, however, talk about her second marriage.

It seems the woman met a young man in Las Vegas and they instantly hit it off. They quickly married and settled down in Los Angeles, and everything seemed fine.

Now, every marriage has its secrets, and theirs was no exception. The woman was sure she had finally met the man who would make her happy. Unfortunately, this was not to be, for it turned out that the man wasn’t quite who he told her he was. The woman soon found out that her new husband had a criminal background. He had ties with the Mob. Not just any ties, mind you, but with Bugsy Siegel. THE Bugsy Siegel. The man worked directly with Siegel, and had, himself, been arrested many times for larceny and “other” crimes. By the time the woman found out about her husband’s past, she was already pregnant with their first child.

One night her husband came home and demanded to have sexual relations with her. Since the man had a raging case of the measles, she feared for the safety of their unborn child and refused him. The man threatened her life and stormed out.

Fearing for her safety, as well as her daughter’s, they left their apartment and went to stay with her mother. She immediately filed for divorce. The husband’s response to this was to plant a bomb in the bedroom closet where she and her daughter were now staying.

When the bomb detonated, the bedroom was completely destroyed, but as fate would have it, the woman escaped injury by having chosen to spend that night on the living room couch.

The woman gave birth to another daughter. She named her Cheryl. Her now ex-husband wanted nothing to do with the child, but “insisted” on giving the baby to his brother and sister-in-law to raise. Afraid for her life, the woman relented and gave away her newborn child to him.

She would never see the child again.

Many years later, during her third marriage, she and her family were just being served dinner in a restaurant when He walked in. The woman blanched and insisted they leave. Luckily, they got out just before He saw them.

The woman lived to be 60 years old. She never spoke about her second child with anyone.

On her 18th birthday, her youngest child finally learns the truth; that she has, not two but three sisters. For the next 31 years, thoughts of this other sister would come and go, but never quite leave her. She was torn between her need to know and her feelings of betrayal by a mother long dead.

As a screenwriter I am always searching for interesting premises to write about. This story has always intrigued me, because the woman and the situations were quite real.

I know, because the woman in the story was my mother. I am her youngest child.

This year, I am going in search of the sister I’ve never known.


At 9:53 PM, Blogger Robert Hogan said...

All the best with the search Cathy. I went through something similar when I went looking for my mother who I hadn't seen in twenty years. I can't say that it was worth it for me, but I hope you have a better experience. If you need any help please let me know, I used to work as a private investigator.


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