After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story

By Michael Hainey

This haunting tale of a son’s quest to appreciate the secret of his father’s demise is “searing and unforgettable…memoir writing at its most sensible” (San Francisco Chronicle)—a “powerfully affecting” (O, The Oprah Magazine) portrait of a family members and its legacy of secrets.

“Family? secrets and techniques? occasionally i believe they're a similar thing.” So writes Michael Hainey during this unforgettable tale of a son’s seek to find the decades-old fact approximately his father’s mysterious loss of life. Hainey was once a boy of six while his father, a vibrant and shining famous person within the glamorous, hard-living international of Nineteen Sixties Chicago newspapers, died below mysterious conditions. His tragic absence left in the back of not just a tender widow and small sons yet questions about relations and fact that may obsess Michael for decades.

Years later, Michael undertakes a dicy trip to discover the genuine tale approximately what occurred to his father. Prodding reluctant relations and dealing via a community of his father’s previous colleagues, Michael starts to reconcile the daddy he misplaced with the single he involves understand. on the middle of his quest is his mom, a lady of braveness and tenacity—and a steely decision to press on along with her lifestyles. A common tale of affection and loss and the resilience of relatives within the face of complication, After vacationing Friends is the account of a son who is going trying to find his father, and within the trip discovers new love and admiration for his mom.

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I acknowledged, ‘Can Julie pop out and play? ’ She acknowledged, ‘She’s in school, expensive. ’ and that i stated, ‘Oh, correct. ’ ” He tells me that he recollects me going to kindergarten that afternoon and the way I got here domestic with an armload of playing cards for him. He recalls the home full of humans and the way Uncle Dick and our grandparents mentioned what will be applicable for us to put on to the wake. He says, “I be mindful we have been scared to visit mattress that evening. ” My brother is silent for a minute, then says, “What day did he die?

He’s bought the woman pulled tight to him, wrapped in his correct arm. His left arm is curled at the back of his again, her hand in his. “Is this Veneé? ” I say. That used to be his female friend his senior 12 months. She indicates up much in his scrapbooks. “Yes,” Kay says. “What used to be she like? ” “Nice . . . great . . . ” “So you have been jealous? ” Kay laughs. “Oh, you've gotten Bob’s designated humorousness. That’s how Bob would’ve talked to me. He knew me so good. ” She pauses. “I’ll always remember the day he died. i used to be on the financial institution, counting cash into espresso cans.

I name Tom Moffett in Mineral element, Wisconsin. a girl with a Scandinavian accessory solutions. I ask for Moffett. whilst he alternatives up the telephone, I introduce myself within the related fast-nervous manner. I nonetheless haven’t been in a position to get previous my feeling that the opposite individual is set to slam the telephone on me: My-name-is-Michael-Hainey-and-you-don’t-know-me-but-I-think-you-worked-with-my-father-Bob-Hainey. “I have in mind your previous guy. yet, uh, hear. We’re approximately to sit to dinner. ship me an email and we will be able to make a time to speak.

Or did all of us black out a lot of what we didn’t are looking to take into accout? # My niece, Eleanor, wanders over sporting a shoe field, retaining it like she’s at Mass, mentioning the Offertory presents. inside of, she’s prepared handfuls of pulled-up grass blades and a leafless, damaged twig. “Will you search for cicadas with me? ” summer season of ’73, I’m 9. I stand within the alley in the back of our residence, counting cicadas falling from the sky, pondering that the subsequent time i'll see one, i'll be twenty-six, married. pondering, If I dwell lengthy adequate, i'll be exhibiting cicadas to my son.

It’s a small room. A bed room opens off of it. Panes within the door, curtained. a guy walks out. younger, twenties, ranch hand. Works at the fringe of city, rents the bed room from this kinfolk that can’t make ends meet. Diorama #2: The again porch. iciness. Thirties in the course of the ’40s. Enclosed by way of home windows, sagging of their frames. Straw blinds. part up, part down. believe the draft. See the boy, asleep at the cot. wool blankets. Socks. A stocking cap. this can be the place he sleeps now that they’ve given the boarder his room. See him roll over, collapse a few newspaper, wedge it within the gaps among the slats.

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