Some years ago, a friend who’d developed an interest in genealogy offered to look into my family tree. He already had some information about my father’s relatives, but he knew less about my mother’s, so he sat down with me one day to see what information I could give him.
“Well,” I said, “there’s my mother’s sister, Aunt Marjorie. She lives in—”
“Oh, she’s dead,” he told me.
I said, “She is?”
Then after a moment I said, “Well, there’s Aunt Rose Ann; she’s the widow of my mother’s—”
“She’s dead too,” he said.
I sat back and looked at him.
How could I have missed hearing this? It was true that I’d never seen much of them, but why hadn’t I learned they were gone?
Or, as Serena says in French Braid, what makes a family not work?
I’m not talking about explosive breakups, or disinheritances, or never-speaking-again situations. I just wonder why some apparently amiable families fail to stay connected. And many of them, I suspect, couldn’t answer that themselves.
That’s why I started writing about the Garretts, the family at the center of French Braid. No villains, no heroes; just your average people. I hope you’ll grow fond of them, in spite of their obvious flaws.