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Lions Roar : January 2014
WE WERE SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH of France, and it was hot in the tiny rental car, which was the color of a Peter Max lime. My mother was navigating, my father was driving, and we were lost on our way to the beach. “Give me the map,” said my father, but my mother continued to gaze mulishly at the colorful network of lines on the rectangle in her lap. “Leah,” he calmly said again, “let me see the map.” With that my Hungarian-Jewish mother burst into a spec- tacular blaze of temper, which became progressively more apo- plectic as my father grew more reasonable. This was always how it was when they argued. Yet my brother and I knew that soon their argument would blow over. The two of them would work together to figure out that they’d missed a turn a few kilometers back, and we’d be on our way again. This was the seventies, and the parents of all of our friends were getting divorced. All fathers seemed to be living in apart- ments with women other than the moms we’d known since kin- dergarten. There were weekend visitations and custody battles involving lavish gifts and ski trips. Famously, my brother saw Mr. Gilbert hurl a saltshaker at Mrs. Gilbert the morning after a sleepover. But we knew that this wouldn’t happen to our parents, who were a solid unit, an impenetrable fortress. We were, in fact, a little disappointed we had no dramas to report. No one was particularly interested in buying us every Breyer horse figurine Larger photo: The author’s parents, Italy, 1979. Smaller photo: The author and her brother, Michigan, 1972. Photos courtesy of the author. Dad’s Happiness In her widowed father’s pale, hopeful face, ANN NICHOLS saw that everything her mother had fallen for in a Cambridge apartment fifty years earlier was still alive in him. Why should he be limited to a life without the possibility of romance? ILLUSTRATIONBYTARAHARDY 19 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2014