Sunday, May 11, 2014

To whom this may concern.

"To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."

As an adoptee, I attribute myself to four parents: in chronological order the two who supplied the nature, and the two who supplied the nurture.* But having by now lost three of them, I wonder what Wilde's Lady Bracknell would accuse me of? Gross negligence?

On this American Mother's Day, I'm happy to report that one of my co-mothers is alive and well and Morris dancing in Maidstone. (If you can call that living.**) And just as Laurence Olivier was eleven years older than Eileen Herlie, who played his mother, Gertrude, in his film of Hamlet, so my lovely Mum is actually far younger than me.***

But switching to the three I lost, I was very happy to memorialize my adoptive parents at long last in the dedication of This Private Plot, with apologies to the friends who are going to have wait for another book before their turn comes up. (I promise to write more quickly this time.)

Here's the text, so you know who to blame.

*This does reflect a development in This Private Plot, but you'll have to get to Chapter 39 before you see the connection.

**Sorry, puzzled American readers. The ritual trashing of Morris dancers is a British meme.

***That joke would be funnier if she didn't actually look it. By the way, Hamlet is also given a workout in TPP, not least by the Theydon Bois Thespians in their first appearance on the stage in Stratford-upon-Avon.

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