The Mamas and the Papas Indeed
I'm not feeling sorry for myself, but it's been four months since I've seen my West Coast kids and grandkids and that's a little long, even with Google-vid and chat, texting and email. Even with those pictures that pop up everywhere. Nothing helps when I get like this.
Although talking, especially about things that are intimate, helps tremendously.
Over the phone my daughter tells the story about my five year-old grandson,
"Mommy! I put a birthmark in my book!"
Undoubtedly, the stuff of the Mommy Blogs, and you can laugh at the telling, but I would have loved to have been there. I understand his Mommy had a hard time keeping a straight face.
We can talk about our marvelous virtual world, how we keep in touch and all that, but there's nothing like the real thing, the real humans. The touch of your children, the smiles of their spouses, the hugs of your grandchildren.
We'll get to Papa John in a minute.
It cost me a few bucks in gifts, not bad at all, especially since Southwest takes the bite out of baggage, doesn't charge. They're so funny at Southwest, so laid back. None of the attitude:
You're dirt, why should we even let you stand-by.It's all:
Chill out. We'll get you there.And there are plenty of places to plug in devices.
So I filled a nylon duffel with various throwing things cuz the kids like to play catch with me, and real kid toys-- puzzles, Disney-Rummy, nothing too expensive. September, birthday month, passed uneventfully so there had to be a few cards, too. Cards are a big deal in our family. You can forget the present, but it's unforgivable to forget a card. I didn't forget, just didn't get to it.
I always freeze, too, when it comes to what to write in them. Maybe everyone does. My solution is to edit the Hallmark text, flip it to get it right.
A favorite pen in hand, I went at it at the airport, two hours to kill. My chauffeur had to make it to a class.
I wanted to buy a magazine, too.
When I told my chauffeur that this was the plan, a latte and a New Yorker, he asked me why we canceled the magazine subscription.
"I couldn't get a good waiting room rate. One thing about The New Yorker. It's going to cost you."But the cover, all about Iran and the economy, did nothing for me. Not the story about the gangs of Rio, either. Must be a plot to ensure that Chicago gets the Olympics. Chicago and Rio are the top two contenders. And the winner is. . .
We find out tomorrow. Apparently the city that hosts the games will suffer from a plethora of special, but empty new warehouses and big buildings when it's all over.
I picked a different magazine altogether, US, all about fashion and celebrity gossip. Wouldn't you rather look at models and movie stars? The boasting front page:
Mackenzie Phillips' Horrifying Confession.Who could resist such a thing? And a buck cheaper.
If you haven't been paying attention, Mackenzie Phillips, born to John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas and socialite Susan Adams (one of John's many marriages), tells all in a memoir of her wild and crazy days behind the set of One Day at a Time.
For most of us, starring in a hit television show would be wild enough, but Mackenzie's drug addled, depraved father seduced her, made things even wilder for his daughter. He made her his lover and the affair lasted ten years. I've heard it several times,
I'll teach you how to love someone.This is the family child molester's favorite line.
I haven't read the book, but Ms. Phillips was all of 17 at the beginning of the sexual relationship, so we can say he seduced her. Even if she was head over heels in love with her father, that she was a minor is reason enough to rule out informed consent. That alone makes the act criminal. Minors can't consent to sex, not legally.
The Mamas and the Papas. California Dreaming. I Saw Her Again. Be careful who you worship when it comes to rock stars.
Mackenzie confesses to cocaine and heroin addiction, and we know that under the influence informed consent isn't possible either.
But let's get real. This is incest, internationally taboo.
John Phillips isn't around to talk about it, so for all we know the book is a pack of lies. If I hadn't heard more than a few handfuls of these stories first hand, I might think so, too. Ultimately Mr. Phillips passed away a victim of his own vices, heart failure at 65, eight years ago. Gave Mckenzie some time to write a book.
Now the question is,
Is this a good thing, to write a memoir? Maybe it hurts innocent people.And the answer is,
Maybe yes, maybe no.I read that her sister Chynna wasn't thrilled when she heard about the publication of the book and that it came as a surprise, not that she doubted the veracity of her sister's work. Chynna uses one of my favorite phrases, These things affect other people to explain her feelings. She has kids. Mr. Phillips had grandchildren.
Publicizing secrets comes at a cost, usually. It has to hurt innocent people, airing the dirty family laundry. In family therapy we talk about this as a process, especially when it comes to exposing incest, and suggest discretion.
Timing is everything when telling the kids, especially. They want the people they love to be infallible, perfect. (Who wants a predator for a grandfather?) This is why these confessions are frequently limited to a best friend, a trusted clergyman, surely a therapist. Therapists generally will work up a plan, make it thoughtful, considerate of everyone.
It has to be hard to break it to youngsters when a previously trustworthy family member can't be trusted anymore. So we might suggest tabling the discussion until they can understand what it's all about, if at all possible. Of course, if your aunt writes a book, it's hard not to hear about it.
Some secrets can be toxic, is the truth, they hurt people who hold them in. We have to talk about what has happened to us in life. We have to talk to someone. And exposing them ultimately might protect others from making the same mistakes. Awareness of danger is a good thing. We can learn from others and we like the details. Those of us in this business are traumatized hearing them first hand, but for others, the juice quenches a certain prurient curiosity.
The US interview goes on to say that Mr. Phillips also did time in a penitentiary for dealing drugs, and one of his sons calls him things I won't publish.
Living perpetrators of sexual crimes can get better. No one has to stay a creep forever. We have them on their knees in therapy, some of us, have them beg forgiveness. That helps a lot.
Hopefully Mackenzie did some healing writing her book. We wish her well. Sister Chynna's apparently a popular vocalist (I'm not always up on this stuff). I'm going to check out her work, see if it will help me get over the thought that I won't be listening to the Mamas and the Papas anytime soon.
Thanks to all of you who commented below, who recommended songs, movies, books and websites about this topic. It's clear that many of you already know that when we talk about sexual abuse, we're talking emotional scars, social isolation, and psychological/physical reminders of this kind of "love".
The whole thing makes me, personally, want to avoid the 'zines, the expose's, the memoirs. I'll stick to chick lit, maybe.