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June 20, 2021


Thank you for this today. Your post brought me great vicarious joy. Wonderful photos, especially the one on the sailboat.

So beautiful! Henry and Treadwell

Beautiful Beth! Your family is truly amazing! So happy to hear you will be able to see your father soon! Love to you and J!

Lovely hommage! xo

My father was unfaithful to my mother and my childhood was - as a result - disturbed. Very disturbed as I discovered later. I tended to think badly of him and it was only at the end when he was dying in a care home and he said "Don't come if it's burden." that I was able to reply - truthfully - "It's not a burden." That was a very strange moment.

In retrospect I can see he wasn't temperamentally fit to be a father and I need to remind myself that this can be the case in some instances. It took me a long time to become a proper father myself; I have two daughters and I was one of three sons. I was unaware of feminine needs and differences. Perhaps I'm compensating for this in my novels.

More important still is my need to be massively grateful to my father for one important act that subsequently shaped me. At age 11 I was asked by him what I wanted to do in life: "Be a reporter." At 15, as I neared the end of my paid-for education, he asked again. "Be a journalist." I said. He was a businessman of some influence in the city and he accompanied me in an interview he'd arranged with the editor-in-chief of the local group of newspapers. I could never have achieved that on my own.

So, my childhood, unlike yours, was miserable and adversarial. But throughout the 44 years of my working life I followed the only profession (Not everybody thinks this way about journalism) I was equipped for. And rejoiced in. Our benefits arrive from strange sources.

Thank you, everyone, for your comments!

Robbie, I appreciated your honesty and openness in commenting on this post. I'm sorry your childhood was miserable as a result of your father's deficiencies and unfaithfulness. It's generous of you to acknowledge what he did give you, and it's good to know you were able to go to him in the care home at the end. Gosh, life is complicated, isn't it, and our families the most complicated aspect! Working it out in novels seems like a great idea -- and I've loved all your strong female characters in what I've read so far!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.