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The Cruelest Month, Part 2: Love Song to a Genie

这是一系列关于四月遭受的个人损失的一系列文章。阅读第1部分,“飓风bettye”点击here

Because my mom and dad got divorced and remarried when my brother and I were young, we had four parental figures growing up.

只有一个人真的值得一个该死的,这就是我的继母Genie Grant,2009年4月25日,癌症。

Genie是一个带有在Peggy Lee和Rosemary Clooney-Smoky和Witty和Witty和Intinuating的歌词,而不是卑鄙的歌手;不是电影中的铁女士或Diva或Femme tafale,而是没有说话的最好的朋友,她的眼睛闪闪发光。出生于密苏里州的圣路易斯,并在布法罗长达19岁时,1951年的Genie搬到了达拉斯,她的前两个丈夫有五个孩子,然后在1986年娶了我的爸爸戴夫Zoller,并收购了两个孩子,我的兄弟和我自己。她是一名敬业的联盟妇女,担任达拉斯/英尺的秘书/财务主管。值得职业音乐家的协会当地72-147,直到1999年退休。

她很短而丰满,苹果脸颊和小手和大前臂。当她在房间里搬到了房间时,你知道她已经结束了和你谈谈,因为她锁定了你的眼睛,并在她先进时咧嘴笑。

"Darlin," she'd start half her sentences. "Darlin'

"Darlin', listen to me."

“达林”,现在听here

“哦,亲爱的 - 你现在要做什么?”

Whenever I'd introduce Genie to my friends, I'd say, "This is my stepmother, Genie," and she'd clarify: "Wicked.Wicked后妈!”

But Genie was as far from wicked as a person could get.

唯一邪恶精灵的唯一措施是她的机智,她只抵抗了应得的目标。

She and Dad were a great team. He produced and arranged and conducted her solo albums as a vocalist. My favorite of these is "Love Me Like I Am," the cover for which (pictured at the top of this article) sums up Genie's energy. I love that she's wearing what she'd wear to a backyard barbecue. She's not putting on airs. She's not glammed-up. She's not selling anything. She's just Genie. The image is a joke on the seductive "girl singer" photo (as Genie would describe it) and yet, at the same time, sincere: "Damn right I'm fabulous! Justlookat me!"

Genie是如何成为一个敏感,关怀,但不干扰的成年人 - 那种孩子最终从看到作为权威人物的那种人,而是将作为珍贵的朋友和探测牌视为。当我的父亲,钢琴家和作曲家Dave Zoller去年在78年去世时,我们之间没有任何东西没有说明。这是我与另一个不是我孩子之一的家庭成员的积极关系。我有精致的感谢,因为,as I wrote in this piece about dad, she figured out how to repair the estrangement that had been growing throughout my childhood and adolescence.

Some of it was his fault. By Dad's admission, he was a guy who probably shouldn't have had kids when he had them. He was a young man committed to his art. He didn't have space for much else.

But truth be told, a lot of the angst came from anti-daddy propaganda, fed to me and my younger brother Jeremy by our mother and stepfather for years and years on end. Mom and Bill cultivated an "us against the world" energy that transformed our home, a bungalow near Love Field Airport in Dallas, into a cult compound consisting of four people, plus pets.

我的母亲Bettye,一位歌手,女演员和语音老师,有各种各样的问题。As Genie once put it, Mom's issues had issues. Mom's second husband, Bill Seitz, was the perfect match for her, and I don't' mean that as a compliment. They amplified each other's most drastic melodramatic and dysfunctional traits. Of course they were madly in love, never more so than when a third party was coming after them seeking redress for some (usually valid) offense, or taking issue with some aspect of their strange and sometimes frightening behavior.

我从第四年前开始失眠。它始于1977年夏天,在我的继父击败了我的母亲,这么糟糕,她没有工作两周,因为她不想再解释黑眼睛,分裂嘴唇和喉咙周围的窒息标记。但大部分时间,妈妈煽动暴力。她会喝醉和戏弄和戏弄和嘲笑账单,甚至把物体扔给他,直到他最后在愤怒中引爆。房子里有多个枪支,票据当他想做一个点或“放松蒸汽”时,票据将把它们射入天花板,墙壁和踢脚板。我哥哥的第一个晚上,我搬进了转换的车库,这将成为我们共用卧室的,经过五年的地藏在堪萨斯城,在离婚后我们的产妇祖父母,我注意到了天花板的一个洞,并解释说他而我母亲早些时候有一场比赛,她不会停止对他大喊大叫,所以终于在她的头上被解雇了一个.38左轮手枪来闭上她。

有一天我可能需要写一部关于e day in 2005 when Mom and Bill had a drunken confrontation at a Mexican restaurant and Mom locked Bill out of their house. My brother and stepbrother tried to broker a detente. They behaved like adversaries in a preliminary divorce hearing until we broached the subject of the two of them going into rehab for alcohol abuse, at which point they sat next to each other in a tight two-seater couch and started finishing each other's sentences.

尽管有这样的疯狂,我们被提升相信爸爸是一个坏父母,悲伤对比比尔和妈妈无疑是卓越的卓越。我们被告知爸爸是一种片状,一个宠爱的人,有人生活在他想象中,并没有太多兴趣,或才有父亲。

所有这些事情都是真的,但并不差不多到我们被引导的范围。我后来发现,她最令人羞耻和经常反复的故事,关于爸爸 - 他是如何欺骗她的,而且他与金钱如此无能,她会给他现金去市中心并支付电费,他会支付电费两个小时后回来,用一个装满新专辑的箱子 - 是妈妈所做的事情。(在妈妈去世前几个月,我们在养老院谈论,她脱掉了,“他睡了一个搬家了。”我说,“爸爸告诉我,直到你走向你的几年在他身上,“她笑了说,”好吧,是真的!“)

We were also told, on more than one occasion, that Dad wasn't wired right, that he wasn't capable of love, that there was something wrong with him that prevented him from being a good dad, and that was why he wasn't around much. With the fullness of hindsight, I now know that things were considerably more complicated than that—and that, like those tales of Dad cheating on Mom, and blowing utility money on vinyl records, there was a lot of projecting going on.

I got my first gray hairs at 12. By 16, I had salt-and-pepper hair, and was going white at the temples.

我把比尔在高中的姓氏上的姓氏,部分是为了向他和妈妈保证,我的忠诚是对他们(“我吃的面包,我唱歌”宣布了一张书法卡,将一张书法卡缩略图到比尔的桌子上的软木板)。我绝对是为了伤害我的父亲,因为在我生命中的存在下没有大部分。但是,我没有勇气告诉他。他发现了一个关于一个心脏病发作的音乐家家庭的筹款人员。他是表演者之一。我画了一个死者的纪念肖像。揭幕后,客人意识到我签署了“马特西茨”和喘息。

Dad got drunk at the bar.

Not long after that, Genie called me and said, in so many words, that she was tired of Dad and me not getting along when it was obvious to anyone with eyes and ears that we'd be "thick as thieves" if we could just talk to one another honestly.

I was taken back to be addressed so intimately. I didn't have much experience around Genie. Jeremy had started spending time over there a couple of years earlier, when I was at college and he was still in high school, but neither of us had logged a lot of time in their house because it wasn't that kind of parent-child relationship. I liked Genie a lot from the very beginning, even though I didn't really know her that well, because of how Dad acted once they got together. Dad was a ladies' man who had a lot of girlfriends, one after the other, in quick succession. He wasn't a cad or a wolf. He was just good-looking and talented and single and a jazz musician. It was the '70s. He owned a waterbed. Dad met Genie in 1978 and they became exclusive not long after that because Genie told him she didn't want to share him with anyone else.

妈妈过去常常取笑爸爸,用精灵安顿下来。爸爸倾向于弯曲或苗条和瘦身,倾向于弯曲或苗条的女性和舞蹈演员。Genie是一名女性的南瓜,大笑,胃口大,以及任何类型的废话都有零容忍。她也是他的高级十三岁。“他在她身上看到了什么?”妈妈会说。“她不是一个看法。她是一个好的歌手,但她没有我的范围。她几乎是他的母亲。也许是这样的?也许他需要母亲?”她无法想象爸爸只是为了各种各样的原因挖掘精灵,并希望和她一起生活。妈妈认为必须有一些神秘的元素,她失踪了,或某种诡计或虚假的前锋,或者爸爸只是刚刚解决,因为只有治疗师只能打开包装。

What she couldn't see, or recognize, was that Genie was a healer. She went about her life trying to make things better. Day by day. Person by person. Problem by problem.

There was a distance between Dad and Genie and Jeremy and me that had not yet been closed. Genie's call to me that day made it clear that she intended to close it.

And so Dad and I met in a public park in Dallas. Neutral territory.

He told me, "You didn't have to cut my balls off in public."

Things got messier from there.

But by the end of the afternoon, we were talking again. I mean really

随着时间的推移,我们真的很接近。Genie设计了所有。爸爸和我一致认为,她主要负责修复我们之间的裂痕。在几十年来,她为无数的朋友和亲戚做了那种。她是一个外交官和谈判代表,有人能够忍受,看看大局以及如何改善它。

Genie invited me and Jeremy over for dinners and lunches and weekend visits. We became such regular presences at the house that we began apportioning holidays into sections of the day, to make sure that we gave Dad and Genie a few hours instead of letting Bill and Mom have the lion's share. This pissed them off. They felt neglected and perhaps betrayed in some way. Who were these interlopers, , taking away their family time with their boys? Where had they been all those years, etc. etc. (Jeremy and I knew the truth now—and so do you).

When I was a freshman in college, I self-published a collection of three short stories. The third, "Clay,' was set in 1975. It was about a boy who lost his father in Vietnam and seemed to have somehow inherited his father's rage and PTSD. When another boy comes to him for defense against bullies, he doesn't just beat them up, he stabs one of them in the stomach with a switchblade and cuts off two of his fingers. Genie called me up after she read it. She said she was worried about me. I said, "Genie, I'm not gonna go postal, don't worry. It's a fantasy."

她说:“这不是我担心的。我不知道你有足够的愤怒和痛苦,以产生一个悲伤的故事。”

“好吧,你喜欢写作,至少是吗?”我问。

“达林',”她说,“这是别的东西。”

我知道她的意思是。这是来自精灵的最终恭维。如果她喜欢它,她说这很好。如果她喜欢它,她说这是“走出世界”。但如果它让她感动,她的核心,她说,“现在这是别的东西。”

这是当我开始和她说话,爸爸abo血型ut what was really going on in Mom and Bill's house, with the drinking, the thrown objects, the beatings, and Bill fetishizing guns and shooting them off inside the house.

我不再住在那里了,杰里米就即将上大学,所以没有点叫警察他们。无论如何,他们都刚刚闭上了排名,否认任何事情都发生了任何东西。但这些故事深化了他们对杰里米和我经历的兴趣的欣赏。它也给了爸爸的内疚感,尽管我和Jeremy的保证,但我们原谅了他没有,而且不知道。

Again, this is all messy stuff. There are no easy answers in situations like this. The point of my sharing it is by way of insisting that, in the end, I believe it's better for families to have the full stories about each other than live with lies, half-truths, evasions and omissions.

Genie taught me that.

Genie was—and I don't use this word lightly, because so many self-serving narcissistic charlatans claim it, and devalue it— an empath. Truly an empath. She could sense stirrings in the Force, so to speak. There were times when my brother or I were upset about something—"girl problems," a lost opportunity, a professional setback, you name it—and we'd get a call out of the blue from Genie, just wanting to see how we were doing. She always seemed to call at the precise moment that we needed someone to talk to.

我常常留下了Genie作为父母父亲的模型。当他们第一次聚在一起时,他肯定是一个爱和往来的父母,他们是初中和高中的。杰里米和我经常讨论爸爸是否总是一个好父母的问题,但从来没有真正有机会向我们展示,或者如果他从精灵围绕着。可能更多的后者。或者,更精确,可能会在她身边醒来,如果他留给妈妈,或者如果他留下单身或嫁给某人,那么就会在他身上醒来。

在我的南部卫理公会大学的初级年,我在Merriam-Webster字典中录制了一系列ESL录音带(长话,其他时间),并称为爸爸,请问我是否可以过来做录音,因为大学公寓综合体太吵了。这不是真的。公寓综合体在周末才吵闹。我真正想要的是曾经与爸爸一起搬进一段时间的借口,只是为了看它是如何感受到的。它感觉很棒。我们坐了迟到的看电影,我得才能听他练习钢琴,因为我六岁以来我没有做过的事情。

精灵发现我母亲的坚不可摧在爸爸搞笑。有时她会把它视为观众运动。有一次我的第一个妻子和我和妈妈一起去吃午餐,她在玛格丽塔斯喝醉了,坚持认为,在去爸爸的房子之前,而不是把她放在家里,而且她会和我们一起走。仁和我认为这是荒谬的,潜在的灾难性,但他是坚定的,坚持不懈,她是她最好的行为。我打电话给房子和Genie回答了。我告诉她妈妈说,她笑了说,“当然,为什么不。让我们加一个小丑到小丑车。”

当我们到达房子时,爸爸在一个小型锻铁桌上坐在后院,在一个小型锻铁桌上,喝冰茶并读纽约时代。Clearly he wanted to make sure that whatever was about to happen didn't happen in the house. Genie later said it was as if Dad was trying to lure Godzilla out to sea, so that he couldn't flatten Tokyo.

Mom, who was still snockered from lunch and had somehow convinced the bartender to give her one more margarita in a plastic "To Go" cup, stumbled through the front door, breezed past Genie and her tiny yapping dogs, made a beeline for Dad in the backyard, plopped down across from him, and cranked the flirting dial up to 11. Genie and I and Jen watched through the glass patio doors.

“我得到了一个小猪小姐and Kermit feeling here," said Jen, watching Mom gesticulating and fidgeting and throwing her head back to roar at statements my Dad made that were almost certainly not intended as jokes.

“小猪小姐有更为尊严,”Genie说。“但她能做什么?大卫几乎四十多年前在她身上施了一个咒语,而且它永远不会消退。”

"Does it ever bother you that Mom is still in love with Dad and falls all over him in situations like this?" I asked.

“哦,天哪,”Genie说。“他对她感到尴尬。他不会做任何事情。我觉得这是一个叫醒。看着这个 - 她会去膝盖。”

几秒钟后,妈妈去了爸爸的膝盖。

“告诉你,”Genie说。

My fondest memories of Genie are of her and Dad performing together at jazz clubs around Dallas. They had a marvelous chemistry. They'd pretend to bicker and needle each other, but they were self-deprecating as well, carefully setting up moments where each could profess sincere affection for the other.

当Jen于2006年4月在2006年4月去世时,爸爸和精灵在情绪上以妈妈和法案从未成为的方式在情感上。特别是精灵。爸爸和Genie让纽约的几步旅行,登记在我和儿童,汉娜和詹姆斯。我仍然在jen的死后,我的第一次旅行的生动回忆Ajax,擦洗浴缸和瓷砖,因为他无法忍受公司在这种“肮脏”条件下看到它的想法。

我变得更加越来越靠近其中两个,并简要考虑搬迁到达拉斯更接近他们,并有助于提高孩子们。但在2008年11月,Genie被诊断为癌症。这是一个神秘的品种,因为它似乎是聪明的,在发现或追踪时移动。他们发现它在她的肝脏上,然后在化疗后消失,然后再次出现在她的大肠上,然后再次消失,然后在她的胃地沉淀,然后再次蔓延到她的肝脏。然后转移。没有医生可以做到。为了削减癌症,他们必须删除她的一半消化系统和排泄系统。她在以下春天去世了。2009年4月25日。

It was one of the most devastating deaths I've witnessed, and by this point I've witnessed plenty. There's something particularly unnerving about seeing a woman who was known for being hearty and full of life being physically reduced, denuded of her essence, evaporated, week after week, month after month.

At the end, she was barely recognizable as herself—as frail as my maternal grandmother, who died of bone cancer in 1985.

我从Genie的女儿罗宾学到了如何成为患有癌症的人的细心看护人。靠近末尾,罗宾每天都在肿瘤病房。我当天是在那里的死亡。罗宾在她身边,以及爸爸,喂养精灵冰片和水的啜饮。

Genie's death brought my father and I even closer together, because we'd both lost mates in April, two days apart. Jen's death had occurred on April 27, three years before Genie.

I think about those final days often, especially when April rolls around.

“你可以放手,妈妈,”罗宾告诉精灵,当天他们拉插头。Genie过去能够回应她。但是罗宾告诉我,她相信他妈妈仍然可以听到她,所以她和她谈过,摸了摸她的脸,平滑了她的头发。

You can let go now, Mama

2001年,在她去世前八年,Genie在萨默森中心获得了第一个“今年的爵士艺术家”,颁布了艺术的艺术中心,是当地庆祝卓越的卓越奖。Genie是第一个荣辱,因为她是一个当地的传说,因为她是联盟的开创性和老兵军官,老实说,没有人更适合。为了获得这个奖项,你必须善于你所做的,并被所有人所爱。精灵都是。

亲爱的,她是别的东西。

Dad thought so, too.

他写了一首关于她的歌。

题为,适当地,“爱情歌曲到一个精灵”。

xf115

Matt Zoller Seitz是Rogerebert.com的编辑,纽约杂志和Vulture.xf187 首页com的电视评论家,以及普利策批评奖项的决赛。

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