The Meadow Annual Literary Arts Journal 2018

The Meadow 89 Electric Aunt Diane Payne When my aunt was sent somewhere to rest, I remember my mother and aunts huddling in the living room, whispering about my aunt receiving electric shock treatments, and they shook their heads and cried a bit. I was too young to realize that they knew they too could suffer such a nervous breakdown and end up with the same results. Many years later, while watching Frances, I felt a sense of shame and ignorance for not understanding that my aunt’s shock therapy was considerably worse than the shock I received touching the ungrounded refrigerator in the basement, and I thought of her teenaged son holding the gun to his head and not dying, just ending up disfigured and disabled, and her even younger teenager daugh- ter giving birth to a daughter we all wondered if she’d keep or not, and I wondered what role my mom’s brother played in all this madness, all this sadness, because, by the time this movie was released, I had left home carrying few belongings but a heavy load of sad knowledge.

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