Tod has a new essay in Angels Flight Literary West, The Royal Plaza Inn. Here’s a snippet:
It’s 1981 and we’re on vacation with a man named Hank and his daughter, Alex. It’s my mother, Linda, and me. My two eldest siblings, Lee and Karen, are away at college. We’re staying at a rented beach house at Pajaro Dunes, a resort just south of Santa Cruz, and not too far from the beach house our mother and father owned in Capitola. I have one memory of that beach house: I’m sitting in front of the television set and my father comes and picks me up, takes me over to the kitchen, sets me down in a high chair. That’s it. The strange thing about this memory is that my parents divorced when I was three, so now I’m not sure if I actually remember this happening or if it’s a combination of old pictures from the beach house scrapbooks, since by the time I was capable of real memories, the beach house was just a thing that used to be, but not a thing I ever actually knew. I have no memory, at all, of my parents being my parents, just my mother and my father as separate, distant, binary units.
Linda and I are playing in the sand with Alex, building castles. There’s a picture of this, but I remember it vividly, because at the time the story was that Hank and Alex just so happened to be staying at a condo at Pajaro, too. But this was not true, of course, as we learned over the course of many weekends of our lives, when we’d suddenly find ourselves on vacations with strange men and, occasionally, their children.
“My dad went to prison,” Alex told us.
“For what?” Linda asked.
“He robbed a bank,” Alex said.
Read the rest here.