My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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an extraordinary revelation, a mystery solved

Because I share most things with you, I need to tell you immediately about something amazing that happened today. Something joyful and welcome involving my extremely complicated parents.

Those of you who’ve read “Loose Woman” will know that when I went in 1979 to Amsterdam, to stay at the flat of the pseudonymous Kate, a favourite student of my father’s, I was given a special task. My mother was convinced Kate and my father had been embroiled in a passionate affair. She told me Kate had had a baby and given it up for adoption; she was convinced the baby was Dad’s. I was to look in Kate’s apartment for “love tokens” from my father.

There were none. But I’ve lived my adult life believing I might have a half-sibling somewhere. Though I found it hard to believe my father would allow a child of his to be given away, I did not know. 

Recently I got in touch with a former student of Dad’s to ask about his scientific and academic career, and he mentioned he could also put me in touch with other former students, including, as it happened, Kate. Excited, I wrote to her, she wrote back immediately, a friendly email, and so, finally, I asked her point blank, without mentioning the baby, about her personal relationship with my dad. 

She replied instantly. This morning, I found a long, gracious, beautiful note. My dad was like a second father to her, she wrote, warm and funny and encouraging. She knew my mother had accused them of illicit romance, but they were very close friends, never sexual or intimate. An incident reported to me by Mum, to prove their affair, had been completely misrepresented.

The baby, she told me, was the result of a one-night stand. Her son found her in adulthood, and she has a great relationship with him and his young family. 

As you can imagine, I wept. Oh the solving of family mysteries, what an important task it is. 

This forces me, again, to deal with my mother’s poisonous paranoia – and why she insisted on divulging every sordid detail of her suspicions to me. But most of all, I feel a joyous liberation. It’s not as if I thought of these things often, I did not. But Dad’s affair with Kate and their possible baby was one of those questions that nag and haunt. Now the locked door to the story has been blown wide open. 

And I have a new friend. Can’t wait to get to know her better.

Giving thanks. 

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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