Monday, June 16, 2008

from the StarTribune: Reeve Lindbergh

I don't know about you, but I've always had a curiosity with the Lindbergh family. Years ago, while I was working as a camp counselor, we took a bus of kids to Little Falls to see his house.

I interviewed his daughter, Reeve Lindbergh, probably five years ago. We talked then about the book she had written about the last years of her mom's life - Anne Morrow Lindbergh - called "No More Words: A Journal of My Mother". At that time we didn't talk much about the notoriety of her family - but she did say how her family was associated with some of the most honorable media stories as well as the most difficult/negative stories.

I heard she had written a new book, I'm hoping to interview Reeve again on an upcoming episode of Realgoodwords. Until then, here's a review from the StarTribune of the new book.

The aviator's daughter - flying solo
At the center of Reeve Lindbergh's collection of essays is the head-shaking, irresolvable nature of her famous father's international philandering and the three other families he started in Europe.
By SCOTT EYMAN, Cox News Service
Last update: June 6, 2008 - 4:25 PM

Every once in a while, someone you thought you knew does something that makes you realize you didn't know them at all.
Case in point: The centerpiece of Reeve Lindbergh's collection of essays, "Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age and Other Unexpected Adventures," centers on the discovery that her father, aviator Charles Lindbergh, had three -- three! -- alternate families spread through Europe that he managed to keep secret from his official wife and children in the United States.

This discovery landed like an anvil 30 years after her father died of cancer, and two years after her mother died of Alzheimer's. It turned out that Lindbergh had fathered two girls and five sons out of wedlock when he was 55 to 65 years old.

This from a stern, moralistic disciplinarian who once wrote a letter to Reeve's sister when she was at college, castigating her for potential promiscuity. The European families didn't know that their father was Charles Lindbergh -- with them, he used pseudonyms. And here we all thought his terrible judgment was limited to an unfortunate enthusiasm for National Socialism.

Life continually seems to offer opportunities to be disappointed in one's parents, but Lindbergh apparently wanted to be sure to leave enough disappointment behind for several generations, in a half-dozen countries. "Of all the people I have known and loved, my father is the one I found most impenetrable," Reeve Lindbergh writes, and that certainly seems a fair comment.

What makes the situation completely impassable from her point of view is that there is no way to resolve it. Lindbergh himself is gone and unable to offer any enlightenment as to what he thought he was doing, other than satisfying his latent urge to be fruitful and multiply. Likewise, her mother, who, a friend tells Reeve, "knew but didn't know," isn't around to help.

So Reeve circles, learns to live with the ridiculousness and forms some rough but not untender bonds with her newly discovered family members.


Christina said...

Wow! Interesting stuff... I did a term paper in college on the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby (I know, I know, what a topic!) so I'm always fascinated to learn new tidbits on the family!

Anonymous said...

Sorta reminds me of the novel "The Pilot's Wife". I wonder if it was based on truths from the Lindbergh family history? I, too, loved visiting the home in Little Falls, and when traveling to Quebec City in Canada I was proud to hear of his landings on the Plains of Abraham, simply because of Charles Lindbergh's revered status and his Minnesota ties.