I never viewed it as a sign of inferior love that Rona stopped in only at the end of her day at work, or that she was unlikely to bathe our mother or change her sheets. From the moment I arrived in Toronto, I was impossibly domestic -- cutting flowers, baking pies, messing up the kitchen. My sister -- plunged in her own grief as I was, but manifesting it in her way, not mine -- preferred to keep a certain distance from a few harsh realities of terminal illness. Even when we were very young, Rona had an amazing ability to hold on to the smallest details of events and stories: whole conversations, paintings on walls, but most of all, feelings…particularly the painful ones. No one I ever met has a memory to equal hers. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Only one sentence written inside. I wanted to cook for our mother, sit by her bedside, make her happy. The pressure was on: Which of us would deliver the prize -- paint the best pictures, get into the best college, create the most dazzling life for herself? My way would be to sit down together and lay everything on the table. I would make him happy, or try to. Salinger. Joyce Estelle Maynard, age 91 of Kenedy, TX passed away on Wed. Sept. 16, 2020 in Live Oak, TX. When that day came, though -- and grief overtook me, in a way that took years to recover from -- I didn’t turn to my sister. Her marriage endured. I’m sure the same is true for her. In fact, even when we lived in the same house, a gulf separated my sister Rona and me. A scene in The Good Daughters includes freshly baked biscuits from scratch and ripened strawberries, while the preparation of a peach pie in Labor Day provides one of the most poignant moments in the book. Children of two brilliant but unhappy people, we became the repositories of our parents’ dreams. A highly precocious child and lover of Greek mythology, Rona had selected her favorite name, Daphne, for her baby sister. Maynard and her sister Rona (also a writer and the retired editor of Chatelaine) collaborated in 2007 on an examination of their sisterhood. Maynard's most recent novel is The Good Daughters, published in 2010. Though insufficiency of love from our parents was never the issue, the home where we grew up was filled with uneasiness and fear. In the end, Audrey, obviously a good sport, works with her mother to edit the piece into a compromise that acknowledges the social issues close to her heart. The New York Times had asked her to write an article that, when published as "An Eighteen-Year-Old Looks Back On Life" on April 23, 1972,  made her a celebrity. It may take a few chapters to entice you to linger, but I feel it's worth it. At the time, Rona knew only that her only sibling didn’t show up. Not yelling, never yelling.). I was sure she would tell our stepfather how crazy and cruel his ideas were. The Good Daughters. It can be frustrating for me to let my mother own her stories-and by proxy, the stories of the people close to her." Discuss the "birthday sisters" Dana and Ruth. "No, it’s not that," she had said, slowly, as if actually considering this possibility, before rejecting it. What more was there to do but move on? Sure, we know these people only by what they've shown us - maybe it's no relation to who they are in real life. There was my sister, left in the shadows, gritting her teeth. Our strong, seemingly irrepressible mother (divorced from our father by now, and happily remarried) was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and given weeks to live. Home About Count the Ways Other Work. An editor at the New York Times would like to publish it, but I will not do this unless you can feel alright about this. My sister is, as I have often said, the only one left who remembers the moment of my birth. Joy was a … As much as I needed to forgive Rona for the pain she caused me with her choice to exclude me at the moment of our mother’s death, there were crimes of my own -- most particularly, perhaps, the impulse to show her up, to win the Best Daughter contest -- for which she needed to locate forgiveness too. At the time, I wondered how she could part with them, and felt only supremely lucky to get the entire stash. Within an hour, people from all over the village were there, in the darkness, to begin the digging. As soon as I was old enough to enter, I did the same. My daughter (a young woman whose brothers keep her number programmed in their phones, a fact I love) had decided she wanted to draw up my astrological chart. by Joyce Maynard. 1982) and Wilson Bethel (b. No, I say. It would be interesting to see the exchange in which Audrey informed her mother of this piece - if in fact she did. A mother in her early sixties, two of her adult children, and the six-month-old daughter of one of those two. I could be egotistical and devious; she was honest and pure. I started every morning by jumping into our mother’s bed (she slept alone) to cuddle with her -- a practice that continued for way too many years, according to my sister’s memory. We were raised with a sense of obligation to become accomplished women, but with a curious mix of old-fashioned standards. So often, the story of my relationship with my sister has been one of signals missed, feelings registered but never expressed. There were no criminals in this story: not 50 years ago, or 18 years ago, or now. Months pass -- longer even -- before the following piece of information comes out: I have a sister, four years older than me -- the one remaining relative from my family of origin, the only one who will ever understand what it meant to have our mother and father as parents, the one person on this planet who remembers the day of my birth. Click to read more about The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard. But when I told her what had happened, her words left me with a despair as terrible as any I had known over those long months of watching our mother die. Perhaps the cruelest irony lay in the other part of my story: that even as her own once-bright star seemed to have been eclipsed, what should arrive in my mailbox but a letter of admiration from the one writer whose voice had seemed to be speaking to Rona throughout her adolescence: J.D. We know too much. Still later, I divorced, moved to the West Coast. Audrey asked me. Not that. For me, there is less of a problem with painful memories, because I possess so few, but for Rona, the territory of childhood is a haunted house. Double X's new column, "Modern Love Revenge," is potentially pretty genius - provided, that is, the subjects are as prone to soul-baring as the original authors. Our mother -- herself the younger of two sisters, four years apart, who had never enjoyed a good relationship -- came up with the idea that one way of defusing potential trauma to her elder daughter would be to allow her to pick the new baby’s name. As for Rona, I guess she hung back, cringing. No idea. Joyce Maynard. Joy "Joyce" Ardell (nee: Housman) Mathea passed away on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at the age of 80. An article I’d written for a magazine was picked up by a publisher, who gave me a contract to write a book. MY FATHER'S BIBLE I am attached to many possessions: a pair of cowboy boots I’ve owned for close to thirty years and resoled more times than I can remember, stones from places I have travelled, my collection of state plates, assembled from years of haunting New Hampshire yard sales and currently lacking only North Dakota and Delaware. They looked to us -- "the girls" -- to make everything right. (I can picture well enough why. Though of course, if that were the case, you would have a totally different mother. Joyce Maynard always seems to incorporate fresh produce and cooking into her stories, with a special affinity for baking. It had been the story of our life from the moment our parents brought me home from the hospital -- nestled against our mother’s breast, all cooing and cuddly. In 1972, Joyce Maynard became instantly famous with the publication of theNew York Times Magazine…. It may take a few chapters to entice you to linger, but I feel it's worth it. When you grew up in a home where trouble lurked, there is little motivation to revisit the old days. I just read the other reviews and several complained about the "surprise" wasn't really a surprise and one said that early on you could guess what the "surprise actually was. And one more thing: no more baking. Book review: 'The Good Daughters' by Joyce Maynard. Though the space she occupies for me -- or maybe it’s the space left by her absence in my life -- has been vast. Still, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read and review her latest novel, The Good Daughters.The Plank and Dickerson families both gave birth to daughters at the same small town, New Hampshire hospital, within hours of each other. Daphne Joyce Maynard (born November 5, 1953) is an American author known for writing with candor about her life, as well as for her works of fiction and hundreds of essays and newspaper columns, often about parenting and family. She married Horace Maynard on June 12, 1948 in Kilgore, TX. Passions and psychological changes in a character over time ring most true., The novel is an extended meditation on the nature of love, grief and loneliness.... P. S. Looking back on that time now, with the knowledge of all the things that went terribly wrong between Rona and me over the four months that were our mother’s last on earth, I can recognize all the signs of trouble. Maybe it’s the fact that she came first and I second, and that her role as the frequently contrary worrier left me with the obligation to be who she was not: the cheerful, ingratiating pleaser, the sunbeam to compensate for her darkness. And in an odd way, the same things that link us -- our blood, and our history -- are what divide us now. There is seldom room for two champions in one family. I could come see my mother twice a day -- hours specified -- for no more than 60 minutes per visit. The Good Daughters shows Maynard's strengths once again—particularly in vivid descriptions of farm life, geographies, and relationships of all kinds. Or rather, that part is over. Bought a house she never saw. "I love my sister," I always explain. I don't see how it got published in the first place. by Joyce Maynard. I saw the little girl she once was -- that "cool customer," as our mother had portrayed her -- out in the hall, alone, while I climbed under the sheets to embrace our love-starved mother. 1. I was a joker and a flirt; my sister was serious and shy. Maybe it’s our different natures -- a chance of birth -- that accounts for this. How does this beginning portend the events of the ensuing story? Our parents’ marriage had disappointed them, and so had their lives. But eventually, it was my knowledge that I only had one sister, and that the two of us were all that remained -- a family like no other, and a family she alone can understand -- that forced me to come out of my room, finally, and knock on her door. I’ve been a huge fan of Joyce Maynard’s ever since I read Labour Day many moons ago. How does this beginning portend the events of the ensuing story? Her fiance. We should be baking and gardening, doing art projects with our kids and taking trips to the ballet. When I was able at last to breathe normally, I picked up the phone. "I realized, once I saw you," she finally told me, "that the last name I’d want you to have would be my favourite.". Rona's version may be found here, at her own website: A Tale of Two Sisters. In February 2010, Maynard adopted two Ethiopian girls. Mysteriously, for a person who had seemed so aloof, and so completely uninterested in children, my sister married young (on her 21st birthday) and almost immediately got pregnant. But, of course, one essential aspect of a real sister is that you didn’t choose her, and she didn’t choose you. Also, the deep emotions we hide from ourselves, and those closest to us. Right’ at the beach A tale of keys gone missing and the unusual way her daughter found them. It was Rona who saw things most clearly and anticipated the trouble that ultimately came when my relationship with Salinger came crashing down, less than a year later. Here’s the story I always tell, of how the relationship began between my sister and me. We were 35 and 39 that summer, but we might as well have been five and nine. In writing the essay, she has invaded her daughter’s privacy again, even after she vowed never to do it again. I didn’t become, for Rona’s son, the kind of aunt I would have liked to be. She lives in California. Buy The Good Daughters (P.S.) Salinger, ... and with an eighteen-year-old daughter of her own—Maynard pays a visit to the man who broke her heart. Ironically, now her daughter writes a rebuttal from her perspective. 2. Joyce Maynard, Glib All Over Again A review of Joyce Maynard’s The Good Daughters. Then I was paying him a visit. And though in theory the kids with whom I would compete were the ones in my age group, my real competition, I knew, lived at my address. 2. I imagined that I was Rona, watching me come into our mother’s house that summer, seeing me move toward the bedroom, bending to stroke our mother’s hair, to bathe her naked body. And the worst part about taking up so much space -- if that’s what a person does, and I recognized at once that this was true -- is that there’s not a single thing you can do about it. We both knew what happened. Joyce Maynard always seems to incorporate fresh produce and cooking into her stories, with a special affinity for baking. I drew them a lot (this was in the days before those yellow happy-face stickers came into fashion). But there was a sadness too -- so much so that of all the hopes I held for my own children’s lives, none was greater than this: that they would be, for each other, the kind of siblings my sister and I had never been for each other. We made our own families -- flawed in all kinds of ways, but neither of us recreated the pattern of our parents that had set us on such a difficult course with each other. Lynne was of the Protestant faith and retired from Moventis where she was an executive secretary. We were simply Rona, and Joyce, and as much as I missed a sister in my life -- and not only a sister, but my sister -- there was a relief in that. I suspect it was much the same for her, when she opened it. My daughter. I was famously affectionate -- leaping on the lap of whichever parent appeared to need a little love -- while Rona was known for her distaste for human touch. The story she tells—of the girl she was and the woman she became—is at once devastating, inspiring, and triumphant. But (knowing this was my all-important college application year), our mother had told me it was more important not to miss school. Author and journalist. Willy. Now I look back, imagining the scene as she must have viewed it, and see readily all the things about me that must have driven her crazy. Also, the deep emotions we hide from ourselves, and those closest to us. She is a writer and actress, ... Has three children with her ex-husband Steve Bethel: a daughter Adrey Bethel (b. "It’s just that you…take up…so…much…space.". Forever after, I have gone by my middle name of Joyce, though it was three decades later that she explained to me the reason for her change of heart. 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