Chapter 6: Momma's Story
The Grandmother (yes, Cathy refers to her captor as "the grandmother" which is somewhat awkward, but I suppose it makes sense.) has left the room. Momma is still half naked and Cathy's "heart fluttered madly" as she watched her mother button up her blouse. Momma, unsurprisingly, downplays the abuse. Momma says that she should have warned the children that the grandparents are fanatically religious.
"Momma" then details her upbringing. It's all very boilerplate fundie; they (she has two older brothers) were forced to go to church even if sick. Normal pleasure were sinful. No swimming, because bathing suits expose too much. No card games or gambling. No dancing, no fun. Basically, it was Maxhell. Only with violence and money. Lots and lots of money. Apparently grandfather tithed very well, and basically owns the church.
All that is well and good, and somehow the very bland descriptions of "no fun" has captivated Cathy whose "eyes widened" and is spellbound. Even the twins are "spellbound" while 'momma' talks about religion. Has VC Andrews met a 5 year old?
Corrine continues to detail her past. "A beautiful young man came to live" His father was Corrine's grandfather, Garland, Christopher Foxworth. His mother, Alicia was only 16 when she married Garland (who was 55, and we are going to gloss right over that, aren't we?) Half of his estate (Garland's estate) should have gone to the three year old son of Alicia. But Malcolm, Corrine's father, contested it and kicked Alicia and her son out. They moved away. She remarried (this is important, why?) and died of breast cancer. Christopher then went to live at Foxworth (he was allowed back, why?) and his real name is Garland Christopher Foxworth the Fourth.
Corrine grew up with two older brothers. One day she hears that her mysterious half-uncle is coming to live at Foxworth Hall. She wants to make a good impression at 14 and decides to "prepare herself" by primping. She put on her best clothing, bathed, curled her hair. She also claims that 14 is an age when "a girl just begins to feel her power over men." Gross.
And I knew I was what most boys and men considered beautiful, and i guess, in a way, I was ripe for falling in love.
As an aside, when I was somewhere between 8 and 14 I was watching Baywatch, and I think the Beach Boys guest starred and for some reason there was a music video of "California Girls" or whatever that song is called. I remember watching it and thinking how gross it is that these old men are fantasizing over stereotypes. I never did figure out if I was a "northern girl" "East Coast Girl" or a "Midwest Farmer's Daughter" ... So I clearly did not get my "power" I just felt objectified. But, I also realized that different people like different things. Just like I didn't find David Hasselhoff to be super attractive, my cousins often argued over which baywatch babe was the best looking. It was not Pamela Anderson, btw.
Back to VC Andrews.
Momma is going on about how Christopher was poor and impressed by the great display of wealth and how her home was "exceptional" and how Chris was poor and his eyes lit up and bla bla bla.
Fortunately she is not going to share the details of her romance with Chris. I mean, she IS talking to her children. NO ONE wants to hear the details of their parents romance. She's shared enough.
For some reason, her parents sent Chris off to Yale. I mean, earlier, he was cast out of the house so he couldn't challenge their inheritance, but by all means, let's educate him and let him live here. Corrine isn't all concerned about his, though, she's yammering on about how her father thought of her as "his" and she would never get out and no one was good enough.
They educated him after Corrine's older brothers died tragically in accidents. (Of course.) So basically they decided that Corrine, being female, wasn't fit to inherit and the other heirs were gone, so why not?
This also leads me to believe that there was no reason for her to lock the kids in the attic (we knew that.) There are no other heirs. Her brothers are dead. Her half-uncle husband is dead. She could have just been a normal human who, when faced with the death of her husband, filed claims on his life insurance, sold the things of value, downsized the house, filed for welfare and social security for the dependents, got a job, and waited out her parents eventual death.
For some stupid reason, they had to hide the fact that Chris had a master's degree from Yale when they went out in the world.
And Cathy's take away is:
Love at first sight. Oh, that was going to happen to me, I just knew it would and he'd be as beautiful as Daddy had been, radiating beauty, touching my heart. You had to have love or you withered away and died.
Corrine then tries to reassure the kids that they are not "deformed or mentally retarded" (hello, 1980s vocabulary!) It's several paragraphs of how perfect Cathy and Chris Jr are, along with some cheerleading. "Who are you?" "The Dresden Dolls!"
Momma claims that she will go enroll in business school to learn how to be a secretary. Man, I don't know why anyone needs to go to school to learn how to type and file, but then again, we go through admins like the Duggars go through tater-tot-casserole.
When you are born rich and you're educated in boarding schools only for the daughters of the extremely rich and powerful, and then you're sent to a girls' finishing school, you are taught polite rules of social etiquette, academic subjects, but most of all, you're made ready for the whirl of romance, debutante parties, and how to entertain and be the perfect hostess.I wasn't taught anything practical. I didn't think I'd ever need any business skills. I thought I'd always have a husband to take care of me, and if not a husband, then my father would - and besides, all the time I was in love with your father.
You are so dumb, Corrine.
She leaves, going on and on about how she too is a prisoner, only of circumstances. That they need to keep to the rules. She'll bring them toys and games.
The kids go to bed. It's hot and there is no breeze. Cathy wants to be called "Catherine Doll" as her stage name in the future.
They discuss how they didn't get the ice cream they were promised as the chapter ends.
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