Saturday, September 25, 2010

Michele Norris

National Public Radio host Michele Norris is the author of a new memoir, The Grace of Silence.

From her Q & A with Randy Dotinga for the Christian Science Monitor:

Q: Your description of growing up in Minneapolis makes your family sound a bit like an earlier version of the Huxtables of "The Cosby Show." Were they as ideal as they seem?

I now understand that my parents wanted to make sure that we were seen as a model family in the way we carried ourselves and presented our homes to the outside world.

What I discovered was that there were some things that I didn't fully understand as a child in that model home. There was a silent tornado in our home, and it led to the breakup of my parents' marriage, or at least contributed to the breakup.

It was something that I didn't see or recognize or even feel fully as a child, but it was there: things that my father experienced and things that my mother experienced but that they didn't talk about.

I always knew that I was shaped by all the things that my parents told me – eat your peas, do things and don't do other things, their admonitions. What I didn't understand was how I was also shaped in fundamental ways by the things they never talked about.

Q: What did you learn about your parents and their unwillingness to talk about how they felt?

That was generational, and we've changed a lot. They didn't talk about their feelings or their emotions the way people talk and tweet about them now.

It had its benefits and its costs. It's amazing to me, now that I know what my father experienced, that he was able to move forward and leave that behind.

But I don't think...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue