Tuesday, December 24, 2019

the last book I ever read (The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom, excerpt two)

from National Book Award winner The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom:

Edna and Uncle Goody lived uptown on Philip Street in a community of women where everyone called themselves something other than their given name, it seemed, where familial relationships were often based on need rather than blood. What you decided to call yourself, these women seemed to say, was genealogy too.

The disappeared Rosanna Perry had two sisters who were part of this community. People called her eldest sister Mama. Mama also answered to Aunt Shugah (Shew-gah), a supposedly Creolized version of Sugar except it is actually only a restating of the English word, the stress moved elsewhere. Aunt Shugah’s actual name was Bertha Riens. She was also sister to Tontie Swede, short for Sweetie. Aunt Shugah was the biological mother of a woman who only ever called herself TeTe, with whom Amelia shared a sisterhood even though they were cousins.

These women, who lived in close proximity, composed a home. They were the real place—more real than the City of New Orleans—where Amelia resided. In this world, Amelia became Lolo, another version of her name entirely, the origins of which no one can pinpoint. Everyone called her Lolo, no one uttered her given name again, not even her eventual children, which exacted on the one hand a distance between child and parent and on the other an unnatural closeness and knowing.

No comments:

Post a Comment