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By Monica Wood

Winner of the 2012 Sarton Memoir Award

“Every few years, a memoir comes alongside that revitalizes the form…With beneficiant, specified, and unsentimental prose, Monica wooden brilliantly achieves this . . . When We have been the Kennedys is a deeply relocating gem!”—Andre Dubus III, writer of House of Sand and Fog and Townie

Mexico, Maine, 1963: The wooden family members is far like its shut, Catholic, immigrant acquaintances, all depending on the fathers’ wages from the Oxford Paper corporation. but if Dad all at once dies on his solution to paintings, Mum and the 4 deeply attached wooden women are set adrift. When We have been the Kennedys is the tale of ways a kinfolk, a city, after which a kingdom mourns and reveals the power to maneuver on.

“On her personal phrases, wry and empathetic, wooden locates the melodies within the aftershock of unexpected loss.”—Boston Globe

“[A] surprise of storytelling, layered and wealthy. it truly is, through turns, a chronicle of the popular paper mill that was once either satisfaction and poison to a number of generations of a city; a tribute to the ethnic stew of immigrant households that grew and prospered there; and an account of 1 family’s grief, love, and resilience.”—Maine Sunday Telegram

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Cathy: Officer Tippit, too, Fath. He acquired shot via the fellow, too. Me: Lee Harvey Oswald. He lived in Russia! Father Bob has cried over this, too, i will see. Why oh why did I point out it? Then he makes a path mistake, which by no means occurs, and we’re in part of Our Nation’s Capital that appears not anything just like the postcards he himself as soon as despatched from right here. No blooming, soap-bubble timber, no snow-clean monuments, no huge swept streets. in its place, plenty of blocks that glance kind of like ours yet not likely. Too many stacked tales, no yards, sidewalks garbagey and entire of odd, not-garbage issues. on the entrance of 1 set of stairs I secret agent whatever that appears like a purchasing cart yet can’t be. The Norkuses will be steaming. NO an excessive amount of rubbish! every little thing in Washington is meant to be white: the White residence, the Capitol development, the monuments. as a substitute, black: black bunting placing from slender home windows and tacky storefronts, the total urban draped in widow’s weeds as we aspect via those blackish streets which are the incorrect streets. “Are we misplaced? ” “Lock your doorways, women. ” Uh-oh. Father Bob places his collar on. autos: black. Bunting: black. humans: black! formerly I’ve by no means as soon as beheld a black individual. no longer even one. no longer at any place. “Stop staring, women. ” We inch via an intersection, flip this manner: black black black. one other intersection, this wrong way: black black black. “We’re going to need to ask somebody,” Aunt Rose says. Father Bob retains to the wheel, peering up at road symptoms. Clue: I’ve by no means visible him like this—lost. misplaced in a vehicle. This clue is much more complicated than black-black-black. ultimately Mum rolls down her window and Father Bob slows to a trembling cease. “We’re searching for the White condominium. ” A black guy in a puffy jacket friends in at us, whitest enamel I’ve ever obvious. The whites of his eyes, too, glance particularly white, the interior of his lip the newborn purple of Mrs. Norkus’s petunias. he's taking our measure—what can he be considering, a clergyman touring with a majority of these girls? He smiles, issues, offers Mum a collection of speedy, effortless directions. From the again seat we 3 gape at him with our mouths part open. Anne pats my knee: cease staring, sweetie. The puffy-coat guy stands again after giving his big-smile instructions: “Ya can’t omit it! ” Mum will snicker over this the total day, repeating “‘Ya can’t omit it! ’” as though to assert, mom of Mary, they speak similar to us! She’ll shake her head. “That guy used to be so great. Wasn’t that guy great, ladies? ‘Ya can’t pass over it! ’” And we don’t. Down this highway, flip the following, up that highway, flip there, and look-girls-look: the White apartment, simply the place that great guy acknowledged. other than we can’t get close to sufficient. every thing cordoned off. No viewers. Pennsylvania street feels quiet, deadened by means of what has befallen us all. we won't visit the White apartment finally; we won't, whereas being escorted in the course of the grand rooms with the remainder of the travelers, be noticed via Jackie herself; the 1st Widow won't abruptly open a door and slip into view and lock eyes with Mum and say, “We percentage a bond.

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