If Leslie is the curator of the motherline museum, Lorraine is the tight-lipped senior archivist who hoards the special collections in a locked file drawer in the basement.
Lorraine’s childhood stories are lacquered antiques, rubbed smooth by decades of repetition. “All my memories are happy ones,” she’ll insist.
She has only one memory of her father: a tall, handsome man in a uniform striding away from the house. “Father” distilled to a single image. Father equals absence. Longing. Goodbye. She was six years old when he went away to the war and didn’t come back. He wasn’t killed in the war; he just didn’t come back. War gave him an out, a chance to escape a life he hadn’t really wanted in the first place.
After he left, Lorraine’s mother raised four children by herself in a two-bedroom rental on West 8th Avenue, between Granville and Hemlock streets. Bette supplemented their welfare allotment by scrubbing floors for wealthy families in Shaughnessy Heights. “I didn’t know we were poor,” Lorraine will insist.
Twice Lorraine’s brothers, Bob and Walter, broke her arms. The first time they put her in a wagon at the top of Oak Street hill and let her go. The second time they put her on a bike.
“Mom loved Walter best,” Lorraine will say. “Deanna was the prettiest, she was the baby. Talk about feeling like you don’t measure up.”