Mary Morony, Author of Apron Strings, Done Growed Up and If It Ain't One Thing

What a Family

What a FamilyBeautiful, dark-skinned, tiny in stature but mighty in every other way; Diana has a story so complicated to understand that I was forced to resort to an outline. Outlining a story, for me who takes an organic approach to writing, is as far from a creative endeavor as having my teeth cleaned. With so many threads to follow, a spider would get confused in this tale. I had little choice. What a family Diana has.

This kid has packed more drama, trauma and flat out familial malfeasance in ten years than the soap opera Days of Our Lives managed to grind out in the last forty. One fortunate thing for Diana is that she is endowed with a great sense of self-preservation. Seemingly every one of her aunts on the paternal side of her family is out to get whatever they can from whoever happens to be in their way. Avarice and greed are traits all three aunties have in common. The concept of sharing is so alien to these women, it quite possibly is the only thing they share.

From Diana’s point of view, considering that most of her early memories are supplied by the greedy aunts, it is remarkable that the story she tells is so even-handed. Some of the girls I have spoken with are natural-born storytellers. Consequently, their stories are easy to write, fun to hear and informative. Though I don’t think this child has a farcical bone in her body most of her history comes across as farce. Who could believe this story?  What a family.

Her mother died giving birth to her brother, who she understands is named Ivan.  A year old at the time of his birth, Diana has never seen the boy. Her father died a year later. Being an orphan in Uganda is no laughing matter, though our interrupter Sarah Namara cracked up numerous times in the telling of the death of the child’s father while Diana kept a straight face. I asked twice if she was being funny. She assured me that she was not, yet Sarah found parts of her tale hilarious.

“What happened to your baby brother after your mother died,” I asked, assuming that the baby and Diana would end up together with a granny.

She answered in the same dispassionate way she told her whole the sordid tale of family disfunction, “They stole the baby.”

I didn’t know, until I heard myself take one, that it was possible to HEAR a double take. As I was about to ask the next question, I had to stop  to process what the girl said.  The wheels in my head creak as I attempted to make sense of what I had heard. It was almost possible to hear them.

“They did what?” Had I interviewed with a video camera and let me assure you I wish I had I would have seen my face contort as I processed the answer.

The answer, “They stole the baby from the hospital.”

I asked “Who stole the baby? Is that normal?” It seemed Diana’s mother’s family stole the baby. I was assured by Sarah that it was not a normal thing to do. These aunts did not want their sister’s child raised by the father’s family. I can understand why, as will you later on.

 

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