the closer i stick to fact the more it sounds like fiction*

how to describe uncle ***?
hero is a slight exaggeration
don’t know when he decided to become a priest but
he was ordained in 1930 and he would have been 25
don’t know what impelled him to become a priest
he was intelligent kind musical loved books and the theatre
very successful in the priesthood
believed fervently in human rights and belonged to
the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League
we all loved and respected him
********** was never my uncle’s housekeeper
She met him when she was in high school
when he was the assistant priest at her parish church and
she worked as an office assistant after school in the rectory
when he was made superintendent of the catholic schools in 1942 (at the age of  37!)
she went to work for him as a secretary (she did not go to college)
we were told that she had got a job in paris but not sure what she did there
pregnant women didn’t work in those days particularly single pregnant women
it was after the war so there was a lot of deprivation
i know she lived in small hotels and had the baby in a catholic home for unwed mothers
they planned it together and he supported her financially
I have no idea when the baby was born or where
she named him *** after my uncle
I think their relationship lasted quite a long time
I remembered all the times he came to DC when I was in college
I would go to dinner with them and then go back to campus and never question that they were alone together.
I doubt if he ever considered leaving the priesthood, or that she expected it
that was before that sort of thing started happening in the 60’s
i am sure she loved him all her life.
Christmas 1960 my uncle fell on ice and ruptured his spleen
they didn’t know for some time what was wrong but by the end of the day
they knew he was dying
everyone was at the hospital including **********
she never spoke to him alone before he died because she wasn’t part of the family
my mother found out about everything after he died and never forgave **********
but we made a point of staying in touch and invited her to nantucket that time in 1968
after uncle *** died she drank a lot more
I can’t remember the exact year she died it would have been between ’69 and ’72
do you remember how old you were when we went to the funeral?

(Michele Marcoux)

*The title of this piece is a quote from Sheila Black's poem Continental Drift
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