ornings in Carmel, Grandpa woke up early. I’d listen from the back bedroom as he ran his bath water and splashed around in the tub with his hand-held showerhead. Then he’d hop back across the hallway into his bedroom to put on his leg.
      By the time I got up, brushed my teeth and tip-toed into the living room, Grandpa would be all dressed in his clean tweeds, sitting in his leather armchair and reading The Wall Street Journal.
      “G’morning, Grandpa,” I’d pipe up.
      He’d pause, fold his paper and set it on the table next to him, swing his chair around to face me. “Well, good morning, Ariel.”
      He stood up by pushing a button on the side of his knee (it made a quick mechanical exhaling sound, like a bus just before it starts moving). And then he walked his slow, uneven walk into the kitchen ahead of me.
      “Well, hello there, Ariel,” Grandma smiled as she set out our cereal bowls. Grandpa took Grape Nuts with nonfat milk and liked his eggs poached. I took raisin bran with whole milk and liked my eggs sunny-side up because that sounded the nicest and no one in Palo Alto ever asked me how I liked my eggs. When my sister, Leslie, was with me in Carmel, she took raisin bran with nonfat milk, and no eggs. But first she went for a jog on the beach. Sometimes she missed breakfast with Grandpa. Sometimes she missed the whole trip—something about my dad in the basement apartment, something about it all making her too sad, something about dreams and tears and nightmares and Leslie being too wise for her years and too sensitive for her own good, something that got discussed after I went to bed, something that, when it did come up before I went to bed, inspired me to yawn and say, “Whew! Big day! I’m tired,” and leave the room because I already had it all worked out—who I was in Carmel with my grandparents and my dad and who I was in Palo Alto with my mother and step-dad—I had a system and I didn’t want to be a part of any discussion that might mess up my system.
      When Grandpa and I sat down for breakfast, Grandma had already eaten—or that’s what she had us believe. A yellow and white magnet on the fridge proclaimed “You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many silk blouses,” so maybe she didn’t eat, but she sat with us at the kitchen table anyway, and we all watched Good Morning America.
      In Carmel we had a TV in every room. This impressed me because in Palo Alto we didn’t have a TV in any room. And TVs weren’t the only difference.
      In Palo Alto we were liberal Democrats. We believed in a compassionate God, outsider art, harmless ghosts who came to dinner, karma, whole grain bread from the Briar Patch co-op market, and intricate past-lives we could revisit through hypnosis if we wanted to.
      In Carmel, we were conservative Republicans. We thought President Carter was an embarrassment and even though we were secretly pro-choice, we cared more about the military budget—it mattered to us personally. Grandpa had co-founded one of the largest defense and intelligence corporations in the world. “It’s the reason we’re so comfortable,” Grandma chirped when I asked her about it. The other reason we were so comfortable was that Grandma’s father had had a little copper mine up in Anaconda, Montana. And a few more down in Chile where Grandpa was born. There had been a little scuffle over those mines, the ones in Chile. When Salvador Allende took over, he said those mines belonged to the people of Chile. Lucky for the Anaconda company, though, the American government went down there and set it all straight—overthrew Allende and installed a man named Pinochet. But Grandma didn’t talk much about Pinochet—or about Anaconda. She hadn’t been happy there. She talked about Grandpa. Yes, he’d had cancer as a teenager; had his leg amputated, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a fine lawyer. He’d been invited to work on the atom-bomb, you know, but Grandpa said, atom-bomb—bah! He had grander aspirations. He dreamed of making a bomb that could harness all the power of the sun.
      In Palo Alto, we did not believe in bombs. We thought they were destructive. And we boycotted grapes and all things Chilean because we thought it was messed up that the U.S. government would overthrow a democratically-elected socialist guy like Allende. And we took it personally because my step dad’s old friend, whose name I can’t remember, but who had a beautiful blonde wife who taught me to sing “Feliz Navidad,” had been disappeared down there. I didn’t understand quite what that meant, to have been disappeared, except that it was slightly different than simply disappearing. Nothing like the difference between shooting and getting shot, but more like the difference between sinking and getting sunk. It suggested the presence of a force outside oneself. In Palo Alto, we followed news of people’s revolutions around the world and discussed liberation theology over dinner.
      In Carmel, we followed the stock market and we lunched at The Golf Club, which we called The Club, not to be confused with The Beach Club, which we called The Beach Club.
      When my mother packed us off to Carmel, she gave us two instructions: 1) Don’t get in the car with your father and, 2) Order the most expensive thing on the menu.
      The most expensive thing on the menu at The Club was Fresh Monterey Bay Shrimp Louis. $13.95. The Crab Louis was $13.50, so I never tried it. I ate Shrimp Louis every day for 14 days out of every summer, every day for seven days out of every winter, every year for seven years out of my childhood.
      Once, on the way home from The Club in my Grandparent’s red Jaguar, I asked, “Why do we eat at The Club every day?” I was thinking that the most expensive thing on the menu someplace else might be steak or linguini with clam sauce and as much as I liked Shrimp Louis, I wanted to try something else.
      “Why do we eat at The Club every day?” Grandpa repeated after me.
      “Why do we eat at The Club every day?” Grandma repeated after him.
      “Why do we eat at The Club every day?” Leslie chimed in, her eyes wide and expectant. She had food on her mind, too. I could tell. Pheasant á la Saint Alliance, maybe. Or stuffed salmon.
      “Yes, why do we eat at The Club every day?” I asked again.
      The silence that followed made me wonder if I hadn’t said something terribly wrong, but I wasn’t sure how to take it back.
      “Well,” Grandpa finally offered as we sped past a golf course. “Because that’s the kind of people we are.”

The things I remember about my grandparent’s house on the Carmel beach are fragments and snapshot, scenes without beginning or end. I remember how clean it was—the hygiene that might not have seemed so excessive if my dad’s basement apartment hadn’t been such a rat’s nest of half-finished drawings and books in Chinese and photographs of Asian ladies and glossy porn magazines that all smelled of turpentine. But that’s the way his apartment was and my grandparents’ house was clean and soft and it smelled like Crabtree & Evelyn’s Sandalwood Soap.
      I remember the spare leg that Grandpa kept in his bedroom closet.
      I remember that Leslie gathered sea shells on the beach every summer and once found a live star fish that Grandma promptly fried for her collection.
      I remember Grandpa’s golf clubs and the yellow plaid bag he kept them in.
      I remember the little yellow napkin-lined baskets Grandma served ham sandwiches-without-the-crusts in.
      I remember that almost everything in my grandparent’s house was yellow: The soft wall-to-wall carpeting, the couches and loveseats and armchairs, the patio furniture, the wallpaper in the kitchen and bathrooms, the soft toilet seat covers, all the sheets and the comforters and the pillow cases, the Formica on the kitchen counters, the handles on the cabinets, the dishes. More yellow dishes than could ever fit into the little yellow dishwasher.
      I remember sitting next to Grandpa at his great big wooden desk in his room. “I’m never going to get married,” I told him.
      And Grandpa said, “Then you’ll have to work hard, and you’ll have to learn how to write. Not just typing, but writing. If you want to be a lawyer or a famous doctor or a senator, any of those things, you’ll have to learn how to write.”
      I said, “I want to be a translator. Chinese and English. Back and forth” So we sat at his desk, writing on yellow stationary. And Grandpa told me, “If you want to be a translator, or anything you want to be, you’ll have a fine time. And if anybody asks you any questions, you just say, ‘I am innocent.’ Remember that, and you’ll have a fine time.”
      I repeated after him. “I am innocent.”
      And Grandpa chuckled and patted me on the back.
      “That’s right,” he said. “I am innocent.”
      I remember the individually-wrapped Godiva chocolates hidden at the back of a drawer in the yellow buffet.
      I remember Grandpa teaching me how to swing a golf club, the little putting machine and the mechanical gulping sound it made as it spit golf balls out across the yellow carpet. “You’ll make a fine golfer, Ariel,” Grandpa told me, patting me on the back and smiling. “A fine golfer.”
      I remember that none of the houses in Carmel had numbers, everyone got their mail at the post office, and they named their houses things like “Seagull’s Perch” and “The Sandpiper.” My grandparent’s house was called “Song of the Sea” and a carved wooden sign above their front door said so.
      I remember that “Song of the Sea” was the best piece of beach property in all of Carmel. From her bedroom window, Grandma had a better ocean view than they had at The Beach Club, and I remember her telling me one afternoon that she had always hated looking at the sea.
      I remember that Grandpa said he sat in the Jacuzzi with Clint Eastwood after he swam his laps at The Beach Club. And I remember that even though we made a sport of it, Leslie and I never could spot Clint Eastwood ourselves.
      I remember understanding that my grandparents were evil, and that my dad was crazy; Or that my grandparents were not evil, and that my mother was crazy. My dad was crazy because of my grandparents; Or my dad was sick and my mother had abandoned him—abandoned him sick the way animals do and bad presidents do and good women don’t. It had to be one or the other.
      I remember that I played waitress at dinnertime just to avoid guessing at which fork was for salad.
      I remember how out of place my dad looked when he sat on the yellow loveseat in the living room, the way he seemed too big for my grandparent’s little house. I remember that he was clumsy. He dropped dishes and knocked over furniture. I found it hard to believe that Grandma had ever actually birthed him, or that these two excessively clean people were his parents. They seemed more like old world gatekeepers at the entrance of my dad’s basement cave. I remember that my dad was the only one in the family who never tried to make a case for himself, never tried to persuade me in one direction or the other, never acted like he was on trial. Once I’d made the trip from Palo Alto to Carmel, made it past the series of gates and gatekeepers, passed the tests that consisted mainly of table manners and knowing what to say when, knowing whether to pick the doily up with the finger bowl or leave it on the dessert plate; once I’d waited for my dad out in the front driveway or sneaked out the back door, down the brick stairs, through the garage, and down more brick stairs into my dad’s basement apartment, everything changed. He’d be smoking, sitting there in an old green upholstered armchair with the stuffing coming out at the back. I could say Hello or not say Hello, I could think he was kind or think he was crazy—he didn’t seem to have an investment in it one way or the other. I could take a sip from his can of warm Coor’s or spill the flavor packet when I was trying to make Top Ramen on his hot plate. He didn’t give a shit which fork was for salad because he didn’t have any salad and he didn’t have any forks. He had chopsticks and little jars of seaweed and kim-chee. I could set my mug of Kool Aid down without a coaster, I could set it on a Playboy magazine or right on the coffee table. I could paw through the cartoons he’d been working on, draw a few frames myself if I wanted to. It was the story of a thin cat searching in vain through the dream of 12,000 years.
      “What’s he searching for?” I asked my Dad.
      “I don’t know,” he mumbled. “A way out?”
      “What’s his name?”
      “Well, let’s see…”
      “Let’s call him Felix.”
      “How about Rat Fink?”
      “Naw. We’ll call him Mao. We’ll call the whole thing Mao’s Journey Through the Dream of 12,000 Years; A Humble Cat’s Search for a Way Out.”
      “Not very catchy,” I told my dad. “Things ought to be catchy. Like The Adventures of Rat Fink.”
      My dad nodded and then picked up a black calligraphy pen and wrote the title on one of his square pieces of animation paper:

Mao’s Journey Through the Dream of 12,000 Years;
A Humble Cat’s Search for a Way Out
The Adventures of Rat Fink

      Sometimes in the afternoons my grandparents would let me go with my dad to one of his art classes up on Ocean Avenue.
      “Time flies when you’re having fun,” I told my dad as we were skipping home from an acrylics class on a July afternoon.
      “Yeah,” he laughed. “Wheeee...” He put on this pre-school teacher voice when he wanted to seem fun.
      I was trying to liven him up. He didn’t talk enough. And this afternoon he didn’t have his camera. My dad never looked directly at my face unless he had his camera.
      He had a really nice camera. He shot black and white pictures of Leslie and me almost everywhere we went together. At the art center he developed eight by ten pictures of us running in and out of shops, modeling fur hats, walking on the sand.
      My father had a skinny girlfriend who wore fake furs and mini-skirts and always referred to him as “Your crazy dad.” I didn’t like it when she said that. I wanted to tell her, “My dad’s not crazy,” even though I knew he was.
      I had never asked my dad about his diagnosis, but someone—my mother, probably—had given me this word, “schizophrenic,” and I had found no reason to doubt it. But I was already old enough to know better than to use the word in his—or his parents’—company.
      “Time flies when you’re having fun,” I told my dad again, trying to get him to keep up the pace, to keep skipping with me, to keep singing. I wasn’t sure why I wanted time to fly, but I did. “Race you to the water,” I said.
      “Aw, what?” he moaned.
      It was a good half-mile, but I took off running. He didn’t catch up with me until I was half-way down the beach, laying face down in the sand and laughing.
      “Wheeee...” he said, feigning playfulness. “C’mon,” he said.
      I scrambled to get up and follow him as he lead me through a maze of bushes and trees, along a little path. He hunched over awkwardly as he ducked under branches and made his way into a tiny clearing. We weren’t far from the ocean, I could hear it, but surrounded by eucalyptus trees, I couldn’t see exactly where we were. I breathed in the salty air and my father lit another cigarette.
      “C’mon,” he mumbled again, turning down another tiny trail. I followed him through the trees, through the shrub and ice-plants until, finally, we came out at the water’s edge. “Beat ya,” I thought I heard him say as he stepped to the shore ahead of me. I watched him as he reached down and slipped off one of his worn brown loafers and dipped his hairy toes into the water. “Brrrr...” he said in that same baby-talk voice he’d been using all day. He lit another cigarette off his last one and walked silently down the shore. I followed him, even though he didn’t motion for me. He turned up a sandy hill and climbed over slippery rocks. I kept following, silent as he was, across more sand, over more rocks, around tide pools and towards an archway—it looked like a door frame that had been left standing after a storm washed away the rest of the structure, but it was made of ocean rock. There was more light on the other side, another beach. I stepped through the archway just behind my father, and as my feet touched down on the damp sand, I noticed that on this part of the shore, closed off on two sides by rounded sea cliff walls like a cave with no ceiling, the light seems different. It was softer, and blue. The sky was not blue. No, the sky was cloud-covered, but the cool ocean air around me, it was blue.
      My father smoked silently.
      “This is a secret beach,” I whispered.
      And he nodded vaguely.
      My father looked tall, his shoulders slightly hunched over. He wasn’t wearing his wig today. His bald head glowed a little in the strange blue light. His eyes, those clear, clear blue and sunken back eyes seemed far away as he stood now facing the water, focusing on something just before the horizon. I watch him for a long time as he breathed the smoke of his cigarette in and out, in and out.
      I don’t remember walking back from the secret beach with my father, but by evening I was back in my grandparent’s little yellow house, playing with the cabinet in the guest room that opened when you hit it a certain way, thinking of the blue beach I would never be able to find again, and how my father’s eyes always seemed distracted, never quite focusing on anything I could see, never looking directly at my face.

After dinner we climbed into the back of my grandparents’ car (it was a different car every year—a red Jaguar, a white Mazda, a gold Nissan), and we headed out along winding roads, up toward the seventeen-mile drive. Grandpa stopped abruptly every few miles to admire a view of a golf course or to avoid hitting a deer.
      As the moon rose, the quiet in the car was interrupted only by periodic and random one-liners from Grandpa like, “It is written.” or “I am innocent.”
      Sometimes Leslie told stories to fill the silences, but I just curled up and tried to go to sleep.
      It was then—as I fell into half-sleep and Leslie surrendered to the quietness and Grandma opened the passenger seat front window just enough to let in a faint scent of eucalyptus that mixed with the smell of the car’s new plastic and upholstery—that I began to learn the sins of my parents.
      “In my day, when your husband was having a difficult time, you stood by him. You stayed with him and took care of him. You didn’t just leave him and take the children away,” Grandma said.
      I didn’t know if her words were directed toward anyone in particular, or to the night air, but no one answered her.
      “I give him money every month, but I don’t have to. It’s a waste of money, really. I could stop giving him money any time,” Grandpa warned.
      “He was offered a job at Disney, but he wanted to spend his time with you girls. If he had taken the job at Disney, everything would have been fine,” Grandma said.
      “I send your mother money every month. I send child support. But I don’t have to. It’s a waste of money, really. I could stop sending the child support any time,” Grandpa said.
      “They should never have gone to Europe, but they thought it would be nice for you girls. If they hadn’t gone to Europe, everything would be fine.”
      “He shouldn’t have gone to Berkeley.”
      “Maybe if they’d gotten married.”
      “Those draft cards soaked in blood.”
      “He should have gone to Harvard.”
      “He could have married anyone.”
      “She should have stood by him...”
      “If it weren’t for you girls...”
      “It is written.”
      “I am innocent.”

When we got back to Palo Alto, my mother wanted to know everything. Where did you go? What did you order? Did you get in the car with your father? Did they give you anything? What did Grandma say? What did Grandpa say?
      I knew better than to tell stories that hadn’t even come close to happening, but I worked hard to make everything my grandparents did sound as sinister as possible. If Grandpa gave me a shirt that I liked, I didn’t mention it. If he gave me something hideous or wholly inappropriate, a huge porcelain dog, say, or a too-small pink sweater, I’d show it off like a prize. If Grandma had spoken to Leslie or me when the other was asleep and I didn’t know why, I would assert that she had waited on purpose, lurking in the shadows of the hallway outside the back bedroom, planning her quiet attack. It wasn’t a question of deceit, really, or even of making my grandparents look bad. My exaggerations were the only way I knew how to express to my mother that I was on her side. And the only way I knew how to prove that I wasn’t stupid. Lots of different people walked through my life in Palo Alto and Carmel—intuitive people, logical people, paranoid people, people in denial, smart people, crazy people, innocent people, guilty people, artists, poets, potters, priests, doctors, lawyers, politicians, translators, all kinds of people—but no stupid people. I could be anything I wanted to be—anything but stupid. So I brought back evidence of my grandparent’s evil like bright seashells from the Carmel beach. Wasn’t I smart for seeing through them? Wasn’t I good? Wouldn’t I have a fine time?
      There was something sinister about that little yellow house, wasn’t there?
      I told myself I was protecting my mom, but I was also protecting myself. Our grandparents were evil, I would decide on the way back to Palo Alto. Because the alternative was just too mind-boggling. What if the lawyer behind the Black Widow and all those stealth bombers, the one who paid my mother $175 a month in child support instead of $250 just to spite her, was also a fragile old man when I mistakenly got up too early—before he’d gotten his leg on? What if Grandpa, who certainly knew that the war in Vietnam was going nowhere long before the Pentagon Papers were released, long before his son got a mental health draft exemption for paranoia, was also pure of heart when he taught his granddaughter how to swing a golf club? And what if they were not evil, but right that my father had gone crazy because of us girls, because of my mother, because of me? Worst of all, what if my grandparents were evil, and I couldn’t put my finger on it?

I started fourth grade in Palo Alto with a new Polaroid camera, a gift from my dad. He got it for me at the drug store in Monterey. Cost him 32 dollars. He got Leslie one, too, but hers wasn’t as good. With hers there was this silver paper you had to peel off each picture after waiting two minutes. And the colors on her pictures were too vivid.
      Anyway, it worked like this: if I sent my dad a Polaroid picture, he sent me five dollars. If I sent my dad two Polaroid pictures in the same envelope, or if I sent him two Polaroid pictures in different envelopes and they arrived at his place on the same day, he usually sent me just the five dollars—not ten.
      So I worked the thing like a business. I had expenses—the film, of course, and the postage. I was careful not to waste any pictures. I sent one picture every other day. This way, I could be pretty sure that no two would arrive in Carmel on the same day. I sent him self-portraits I took by holding the camera out in front of me. I sent him pictures of the baby who lived across the street. I sent him pictures of my two gray cats. I never sent him pictures of my mom or my step-father. Animals and children were my best bets. But the business was short lived. I ended up making about a hundred and forty dollars in three months, but by the end of the thing I was only getting five dollar bills in the mail, say, every fourth try. So I’d have spent a dollar on postage, plus four dollars on the film for the four pictures just to get the five bucks. At this point I gave up. The business was too risky. I might have even started seeing a loss.
At 5 o’clock in Carmel, Grandma took a gin and tonic. Grandpa took a vodka tonic. I took tonic plain. We called the drinks 5 o’clocks. Most days, if I hadn’t seen my dad by the time Grandpa poured our 5 o’clocks, I could expect to see him for dinner. But on a cool August night after I’d turned eleven, at five minutes past 5 o’clock, Grandpa pointed the remote control at the TV and turned off the nightly news. He swung his armchair around so that he faced the middle of the living room. Grandma set down her gin and tonic on a little yellow coaster. I was holding my left foot up behind my butt and hoping around the glass coffee table when she made the announcement: “Your father won’t be coming today,” she said gravely. “He isn’t well.”
      I stopped hopping, and stood still on my one leg, facing Grandma. I wished Leslie had come to Carmel with me this time. She would have known just what to say and even if she didn’t it would have been her saying it. I just stood there on one leg. It was the first time I’d ever heard anyone in Carmel say anything about my Dad’s health.
      “You don’t think we’ll catch it, do you?” I asked.
      Grandma took a sip of her drink and set it down again. “Certainly not if he doesn’t come to dinner.”
      “But he came to dinner last time,” I reminded her.
      Grandma folded her hands in her lap. “He wasn’t ill last time,” she explained.
      “Sure he was,” I said as I started hopping around the coffee table again. “He’s had schizophrenia for ten years, maybe more!”
      Grandma didn’t say anything.
      Grandpa sipped his vodka tonic.
      The quiet made my stomach feel tingly, so I picked up my pace. The coffee table was wedged too close to the couch, which made that part of my hopping journey especially difficult. It occurred to me that I shouldn’t have singled my dad out as having had schizophrenia for ten years. Grandma had been the one to bring it up, but I knew it made her sad to think about it. I wanted to change the subject. My mother had once told me that the reason mental illness makes people feel so sad is that they imagine they’re all alone, like they’re the only ones who have it. I tried to think of other people who had schizophrenia. Maybe I could tell Grandma about them, and then she wouldn’t feel so sad. But I couldn’t think of anybody. I stopped hopping again. The only sound I could hear was the muffled crashing of waves on the beach outside.
      “Don’t be sad, Grandma!” I finally blurted out. “Uncle Chris has alcoholism and Uncle Dan is a homo.” I plopped myself down on the carpet. At least if Grandma didn’t feel less alone, she’d smile. Grown-ups always smiled when a kid said “homo.” But as soon as I looked up, I knew: In Carmel, grown-ups did not smile when a kid said “homo.” My grandparents sat motionless on opposite sides of the living room. I took my glass of tonic from the coffee table and finished it off in one gulp. “Lots of people have schizophrenia, too.” I tried.
      Grandpa swung his chair around and turned the nightly news back on.
      Grandma stared at me blankly, then cleared her throat. “Your father,” she said, enunciating each word carefully. “Has a cold.” And then she stood up, gin and tonic in hand, and marched into the kitchen.
      I started to stand, but something inside of me popped open. Like when you yawn after a plane ride and your ears pop open. Like that, only not just my ears. There was a clicking noise, but no warning. I realized that the sound I’d taken for waves crashing on the beach outside hadn’t been waves at all. It had been a chorus of whispers, soft voices hissing from every corner of the yellow living room. Crying and rustling and swirling around me until one voice rose up above all the others and hissed, “Get her.”
      Before I could whisper “who?” My legs stood up underneath me and carried me into the kitchen faster than I knew I could sprint. “Grandma!” I wasn’t thinking. It was a scary feeling, not knowing myself what I was going to say or do next. It occurred to me, fleetingly, that I was almost as big as my grandmother, and certainly stronger. If the whisperers said to take her, I could take her. But instead I opened my mouth: “Nobody gives a shit about the golf course doily. We want Crab Louis!” I screamed. “And you aren’t innocent. None of you!”
      When my grandmother looked up from her dishes, her stare wasn’t blank. She looked genuinely sad. So sad, I thought it would break my heart. The whisperers were silent. I turned around slowly, ran. If Grandpa looked over from his TV-watching or swung his armchair around to face me, I didn’t see him do it. I ran down my grandparent’s soft hall, into the back bedroom, and I hid under the yellow comforter. I stayed there, perfectly still, for a long time. I couldn’t tell if I was falling asleep. I felt puffed up, lighter than I had ever felt—and bigger. The physical laws that dictated the boundary between me and not-me were suspended. Was this what it always felt like just before I fell asleep? Maybe I just hadn’t noticed before. I listened hard for the whisperers. I suspected that they had some of the answers. But all I could hear was the muffled sound of the waves crashing on the beach outside.

August 8, 1981
Dear Ariel,
We have decided that it is best for you and it is best for us if we let the years slip by without any visits. The nice times you had here in Carmel were all a part of your childhood. The years go by fast and before you know it you will be a mature young lady. There can always be good that comes from seemingly sad situations and I hope on the good side of recent events is a lesson you can learn. It is the lesson that once something is said it can never be unsaid, much as we might wish it so.

August 10, 1981
Dear Ariel,

Well, you seem to have caused quite a disturbance when you were down here at mother’s, even though I understand you were sick with a cold. Bernard Shaw, who could write in the newspapers, tried a good deal to do something about the problems in Ireland by writing about them, and James Joyce never went back to Ireland for twenty-seven years.
It’s been foggy around Carmel. It doesn’t feel like summer at all.

A tiger looks like this:

The old Chinese character

 for a tiger’s stripes changed to

this over the years and adding the hind legs

 the character for tiger looks like this:

Mao the Cat is still searching for a way out.
Here is a picture of a medfly:

See you soon.

      But I did not see my dad soon. We let the years slip by. Because that’s the kind of people we are.