Friday, February 21, 2014

Philomena: Will Hollywood ever tell the other story?


          I cannot go to see the film “Philomena.”  I would find it too upsetting.  You see, it’s not my story.  My story is not about a mother forced to give up her baby and then spend a lifetime looking for him.  My story is about a mother who willingly gave up her children, all four of us, and begged social services in the 1940s to put us in an orphanage while she went on her merry way in her self-centered life. 
          My story is about a mother who showed up a year later with a new husband and a new baby on the one occasion she visited us in the orphanage.  I knew then that her marriage to my father, the father I deeply loved, was over, and that she was perfectly happy to leave the four of us in the orphanage.  Actually the man who was with her during that visit was not her husband.  He was yet another lover who did not marry her.  But she found a new man (there were many) and he married her and they had another child, another girl. 
          This is not the kind of story Hollywood wants to do.  It doesn’t grab the heart strings somehow.  If ever they decide to film my story, or one like it, it is told in the first third of Children of the Manse, a book I published four years ago.
          But what Hollywood would like is the way our story ended.  We were rescued and mostly healed by Fred and Evelyn Luchs and went on to enjoy healthy and productive lives. That story is told in the last two-thirds of the book.  We all like happy endings, don’t we?