Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Good Wife--Discussion Thread

Serena's kitchen lacks up-to-date equipment...the one concession to modernity was a cumbersome fridge which more often than not ran amok.  I'm wondering what the oven ran on: Electricity?  Natural gas?  Hunks of hewn timber?  Peat?

Serena's mother died 5 years previous and made Serena promise to take care of Daddy Dearest. What a horrible thing to do to a girl!  On the subject of deathbed promises...I've never really been in a position to make any and I hope I am not so lost to all reason when it is time to meet my eternal reward that I would make a binding promise that would shackle my only daughter for the rest of her life.  Do any of you have fun deathbed stories?

When her father has a serious stroke and later when he dies, her brothers offer her no help...she's expected to do everything and be grateful for the chance to keep busy.  We have a saying in the Hanna family: Brothers are useless.  Which sounds a little harsh.  Surely, Betty Keira, they aren't really useless?  Well, no.  Not entirely useless.  (Compared to sisters, though...) Rather, too often they are only as useful as their wives allow them to be.  (Which sometimes is very useful but, if you'll allow me a metaphor, if brothers are a water hose, the wife is the spigot.)

Before the family home is handed over to the charity, Henry goes through the house and takes the best stuff, Matthew and his wife get second best and Serena takes only what will fit in a suitcase--and that stuff has to be packed around her sensible skirts and cardigans.  You couldn't even manage to stuff a paper-mache work table or Coleport glasses in the crannies of that.  (But you probably might manage a hideously beaded Victorian 'Wedded Bliss' pillow...)
Sure she was addicted to meth...but the floors had never shined so bright before...

She gets a job as a shelf filler at a supermarket (Francesca from The Fortunes of Francesca gets a seasonal job doing the same).  I am a very good manual laborer--attacking my repetitive household tasks with the enthusiasm and ferocity of a jungle cat (take that, shower scum!)--but it's not for everyone.  I think it requires a rich imaginative life and an inability to be fussed over dishpan hands.


  1. My dad's brother died a bachelor (long story there, but not on point) and left tiny amounts of money for each of us. His namesake, my brother, got $1000 more with the wish that Brother would go to Tahiti because Uncle had done that around the same age and it had been a transformative event. Brother bought a French horn instead, and for years our sister teased Brother that the Uncle was going to haunt him for the failure to go to Tahiti.

    As it turns out Brother could afford a VERY nice trip to Tahiti now, but as far as I know, he's never gone. Which is a shame, I think.

    Don't get me started on siblings splitting up parental possessions -- my sister's wedding present to Betty Henry and me was a crystal bowl that she'd gotten from our parents' house but then decided she didn't want to keep. (Which is not meant to indict all sisters -- mine is a special case altogether...)

  2. Betty Barbara here--
    I'm at the age where my parents, my husband's parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents have all passed on to their final reward. And not one of them left behind a 'final' wish, either by word or in the will. How boring. But how nice, as well. And my sister and I had no problem splitting up the worldly goods after my mother's death. Likewise, no problems, arguments, etc after the deaths of the grandparents.
    So, sorry--nothing to report here--just moving along now.....

  3. My mom's dad passed away and neither her nor her sister wanted the classic-ish car he left behind. So they sold it and split the proceeds and bought something that reminded them of him. In my mom's case, I think she bought a ring made from his birthstone (as she is a serious jewelry gal). I like that...

  4. My mom's still alive at 95, but she's not quite compos mentis, and lives in a care facility. She knows her kids during the day (sometimes you have to remind her) the grandkids are all strangers, and after 5pm my brother becomes my uncle and my sister morphs into my great aunt. I'm still me, go figure. But when I was younger, around 25, I think, I asked my mom for the very old looking hand painted large framed photo of her crowning the BVM in England when she was about 3 or 4 y.old. Back then she said, "Sure put your name on the back" I did.
    Fast foreward 30 years and now I'm no longer the favorite I once was. Don't ask me, I'm not sure exactly what I did. But she had my brother take my name off the picture, and told me herself I didn't deserve it. Okay, fine. I can live with this. Even though I'm the 5th Mary in her blood line and Betty Megan is the 6th.(Mary Margaret with a nickname) Sniff Sniff. I'm fine really. And then Mom's health goes totally and the black sheep brother gets accused of mom abuse. And the older sister wants off the deed and the house gets sold quick and cheap. Crummy brother steals, I mean sells all the good stuff and pockets the money. Other brothers throw tons of memories into a giant dumpster. I 'proudly' stayed out of the fray. Meanwhile youngest sister and middle sister squirrel away as much or the memories as they can. Youngest sister brings me the photo. Middle sister saves me the heirloom plates painted by a paternal great aunt.
    Morals of Story:
    1. Brothers are Useless (mostly) You are so right Betty Keira. I love the hose and nozel thing.
    2. Sisters Rock - I don't blame older sister, she bought the house with mom thinking they'd grow old together and then married a rich guy at 38. She didn't want to be liable when black sheep burned the place down, or whatever.
    3. Sometimes things come when you ask for nothing.
    4. Give your treasures away while your still alive & healthy or they'll end up in the dumpster, a yard sale, or the home of the girl that didn't deserve them.
    I've had the photo 3 years and still haven't hung it on the wall.

  5. Hang it on the wall, Betty Mary. Let it remind you of better times when your mother was more mentally stable. It was what she wanted back then. If I had to choose, I'd choose then over later as what she really was thinking.