The Prodigal Daughter: Reclaiming an Unfinished Childhood by Margaret Gibson

By Margaret Gibson

This proficient poet's memoir is the tale of an inquisitive and delicate younger woman's coming of age and a deeply relocating recounting of her reconciliation later in existence with the relatives she left at the back of. Hers is the tale of a mom proud to be a woman, a Southerner, and a Christian; of 2 daughters trapped through their mother's energy; and in their father's breakdown lower than social and kin expectancies. sluggish to insurgent, younger Margaret ultimately flees the realm of manners and custom--which she deems bad substitutes for correct concept and correct motion within the face of the Civil Rights move and the Vietnam War--and abandons her fundamentalist upbringing. After years of being the far-off, absent daughter, she unearths herself returning domestic to satisfy the wishes of her stroke-crippled more youthful sister and her incapacitated mom and dad.

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Extra resources for The Prodigal Daughter: Reclaiming an Unfinished Childhood

Sample text

Then Mom remembered her pony, and the smokehouse, and the icehouse, and the heated bricks she carried to put at the foot of her bed in winter because there was no central heating. Then she remembered Brunswick stew, and the stew made her remember watching Uncle Billy and Uncle Theo and Uncle Ashton cut the field, mowing around the wheat in circles, until there was a little island in the center of the field. ” Betsy shouted. We were horrified. “I know, I know,” said Mom, glancing at Amma. “But they tasted so good in the Brunswick stews.

Marie loved to suck the feet once they were cooked. ” I worried about the toenails and never asked for the suck of one. Nor did she offer. “The feets is mine,” Marie said, and she could have them, sticking up like broken witches’ umbrellas, evil angles with small curved spurs. I hated the smell of blood and hot water and wet feathers. Sweat kerneled on Marie’s forehead and slid down her neck into her dress, where it darkened the seams around the collar 010 Gibson Ch1-3 (1-43) 11/9/07 10:39 AM 36 Page 36 The Prodigal Daughter and shoulders.

Mom looked very pleased. We never received gifts from Amma, not even at Christmas. Amma’s children had had children, and these children had had children—too may begats to make it practical for her to give gifts. The gifts were “Mammy dolls,” Amma said. She had made them from dead Mr. Waters’s black socks and from bits of Amma’s wornout aprons and blouses. Mr. Waters, Mom explained later, was not my grandfather. He was Amma’s second husband, a postman from right there in the country. Mom’s father had died when she was eleven, but she wouldn’t talk about it, except to say that Amma had made a white linen dress for her to wear to the funeral, a hot day in July.

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