Friends — hope you are doing ok during this weird winter of 2020. December is the birthday month of my mother, the late Barbé Hammer, and it is fitting that a piece I wrote about her and my brilliant mother in law Charlotte Behrendt has gone live over at the 10th Anniversary issue of THE GOLD MAN REVIEW.
Here is the opening snippet from a very odd story that isn’t “true” at all in any normative sense of the word. Instead, I use what I remember and believe about both of these women as a way to try to access who they may have been, and what they might have become, if they’d had the chance. I hope you get a kick out of it. It was a joy for me to write.
“My mother and the mother of my husband Larry Behrendt move to Paris in 1958 according to an alternative timeline“
You heard me, Larry.
Instead of sitting in a Long Island rambler (your mother) or a Manhattan apartment (my mother) with depression and cancer (both our mothers) and husbands who never come home for dinner because they work for their fathers (your father) or who drink and see another woman (my father), our mothers Charlotte Behrendt and Barbé Hammer, pack up their bags and move to Paris, France.
Larry, you have maintained in a previous conversation that there are obstacles to making this alternative history work as a believeable narrative.
Barbé knows but hates speaking French, you observe. Charlotte probably knows a little French but also probably hates speaking it. They both hate looking stupid. They both have problematic relationships with other women. With most people.
“But Larry,” I say, “they need a change. They need to meet in 1958 when I am four and you are three.”
“How?” you want to know.
Read the rest of this exciting adventure in The Gold Man Review, issue 10.
I invite you to craft your own alternative true story about a beloved friend or relative.