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Flowers in the Attic: "Our Mother's Surprise" (Part 1)

Maggie Mae

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Chris and Cathy go another 10 days without seeing their "mother." During these 10 days, they speculate for hours about why she went to Europe. They think of it as a punishment, so when she finally does show up again, they don't demand to be let out. They are "quiet, timid, and accepting." They believe they can not escape using the sheets, because the twins go hysterical on the roof. 

Because they are so "respectful," "momma" laughs and spins around, telling them how HAPPY she is. She begs them to guess what happened. 

Christopher suggests that perhaps the Grandfather has died. This annoys mommy dearest who says 

Quote

No. I don't really hate him now, so I wouldn't come to you and say I was rejoicing over his death. 

Cathy reacts in a predictable manner with a dull "why don't you just tell us. We'll never be able to guess, we don't know much about your life anymore." If this were me, I would have added in a "because you haven't visited in 10 days, and prior to that it was months, including a 10 day period where we resorted to eating/drinking Christopher's blood, plus Grandmother dumped tar in my hair, the twins aren't growing, I'm being deprived of my constitutional right to an education, under Virginia's constitution, article 8, section 3, and also it's very boring! I miss my friends, I miss my bike, I miss being able to run and the twins deserve to play and they also deserve school. Can't you just drop us off at a fire station or something? We promise we'll pretend that we don't speak English or have amnesia, we don't care." 

Anyway, so shocker, "Momma" has married. Chris and Cathy are unsurprised. 

Quote

And deep down in our foolish hearts, we had convinced ourselves that she was going to be ever faithful, ever-devoted to our dead father -- our blond and blue-eyed Grecian god father whom she had to love beyond reason to have done what she did - marry a man so closely related.

I closed my eyes to try and shut out her hateful voice, telling us of another man who was taking our father's place. Now she was another man's wife, a totally different kind of man, and he'd been in her bed and sleeping with her now, and we'd see even less of her than we had. Oh dear God, how long, how long? 

Ew. 

This news, coupled with Momma's voice, causes Cathy to feel as though a "little gray bird of panic" has fluttered in her rib cage. It's a forced, terrible metaphor that makes less sense the more I think about it. (Why am I still thinking about it?) It's a gross mental picture. 

MOTY Corrine wants her estranged children to be happy for her. Maybe they would be, if you had not LOCKED THEM IN A ROOM FOR YEARS ON END. They would have been introduced to their stepfather in an appropriate manner. How are you even going to tell him, Corrine? When? How do you start that conversation? So, "Bart, dharling, I've got a secret and it's simply horrible."

Bart: "oh, corrine, you know i love you and your money until the ends of the earth"

Corrine: "you'll hate me I know. (heavy sigh), I suppose, it just can not wait anymore."

Bart: "love, what IS it?" (embrace) 

Corrine: (break embrace) "You'll never understand, but I must share this with you as it weighs heavily upon my heart. My love. Remember when I was away from Foxworth Hall?"

Bart: (Cautious) "yes, my pet" (holds hand dramatically)

Corrine: "I was married" 

Bart: "It's a new world out there! I love you no matter who was in your bed before me! I might have expected it, a woman of your beauty and height. Oh Corrine, I am so sorry you felt you had to hide that from me, I would have expected it. Does your mother know?" 

Corrine: "She knows. There is more, my love. I have four children whom you've never met. They live with their grandmother. I miss them terribly, but they also remind me of him, and they are quite comfortable where they are. Do you think less of me?"

Bart: (jokingly) "as long as you didn't lock them in a closet to starve. We all make hard choices in life, and this is your path. I love you unconditionally. Someday we'll go get those kids back, and I will love them as my own because they are yours" 

Corrine looks off into the distance. 

I suppose I was premature with that soap opera moment, as Corrine tells Cathy (while smiling) that Bart has been in love with her (Corrine, not Cathy) for a long time, though he was an incel loving that bachelor life (totally not code for gay in 1950). Corrine had to beg her father to be "allowed" to remarry. While she is emoting her woes all over her teenage daughter, Corrine is "nervously working" a string of "genuine pearls." Good news, everyone, she was allowed to remarry AND inherit. Gots to keep that MONAY. 

Cathy is aware through body language that Momma is lying to her about the amount of love she has for Bart in comparison to money  herself Christopher the Elder, and changes the subject. 

They talk about the gifts, and Momma segues into Bart's family and background. More talk about the "genuine pearls" which are on a string, being twisted around and I'm sure there is some sort of metaphor here I'm missing but It's dumb, just like the phrase "genuine pearls." 

Momma asks Cory if he likes the boats and tries to talk to Carrie about dolls, but the twins talk to her like she is a stranger. 

Cathy asks a probing question: Does Corrine's new husband know about the children. I bet you can guess the answer. And of course Corrine doesn't like being asked that question. I question what kind of mother she REALLY was before they went into the attic. 

We also find out that Bart is also Malcolm's attorney. Which seems like a conflict of interest when there are ridiculous clauses in the inheritance, like "my daughter shall not inherit if her marriage to my brother/son produces children" even though in that case the estate would pass to the spouse, who is still living. Corrine would get nothing when he dies, only what her mother would let her have.   

Cathy wants to say that a man should know when his wife has four children from a previous marriage, but Chris is an incredibly useless human being who glares "meanly" at Cathy, so she shuts up. Cathy prays for a hot minute and we get an act break. 

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JordynDarby5

Posted

Yes Chris glare at Cathy the only one who seems to realize how fucked up your situation is. How dare she question your mother, she's only locked in an attic and your mother just admitted to lying to her new husband. I realize Chris is stupid but how does he not realize how bad it is that their mother remarried and to someone she never told she has 4 kids? She dated someone for awhile and married him, then never once mentioned you. To her husband who is also a lawyer. What does he think that means for him and his siblings? 

Corinne you are the worse. Yes, make you locked up kids guess while your so happy? Why don't you start guessing why their not?

I do question Corrine being a "good" mother before all this. It didn't take much for her to decide to let her kids be locked up and it didn't take long after they were locked up to pull away. Chris is the only one she seems to like and that's probably because he's in love with her and believes her no matter what she says. But its still hard to imagine her actually doing the work to parent and take care of the kids. 

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Destiny

Posted

I question how good a mother she was too. I feel like their omg she was so great was the rose coloured glasses of childhood, because no doting mom ends up locking their kids up for years to be abused. 

I actually do wonder if Bart knew or suspected. I think there might be something about that in the later book, but I'm not taking one for the team and checking. Maybe @HerNameIsBuffy will remember?

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JordynDarby5

Posted

22 hours ago, Destiny said:

I question how good a mother she was too. I feel like their omg she was so great was the rose coloured glasses of childhood, because no doting mom ends up locking their kids up for years to be abused. 

I actually do wonder if Bart knew or suspected. I think there might be something about that in the later book, but I'm not taking one for the team and checking. Maybe @HerNameIsBuffy will remember?

Your probably right about the rose colored glasses.  Locking her kids up wasn't even her last resort. Her husband dies and she immediately starts writing letters to Foxworth Hall. She doesn't get a job, look for a job or anything that shows she really was trying to support her kids. 

The only thing I remember Bart remembering was Cathy kissing him but thought it was a dream. I don't remember but I could have forgotten. Does he not see all the gifts Corinne is buying? Who does he think that's for? Nothing about Corinne suggests she'd be donating that to anyone or has any friends she might be buying for their kids. Bart makes a comment later in the book that makes it seem like he keeps track of their money or tries to. So what does he think when he sees stuff for kids and teenagers? I also wonder where he was when Cory was really sick. I find it hard to believe in that scene that's coming anyone was keeping their voices low. Not when Cory was getting so sick. Not when Cathy's yelling at her mother to do something.  Where does he think Corinne was during that time and however long it took Cory to die where ever Corinne and Olivia took him which was mostly like somewhere in the house.

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wild little fox

Posted

How could the family lawyer not know? I know this family has more skeletons in the closet than Bluebeard but this too? Idk...

I think Bart knows but he also knows how vast the inheritance is so he's playing the game. I haven't read past this book and apparently I didn't retain many details. 

 

Thank you, Maggie Mae!

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HerNameIsBuffy

Posted

On 11/5/2018 at 9:32 PM, Destiny said:

I actually do wonder if Bart knew or suspected. I think there might be something about that in the later book, but I'm not taking one for the team and checking. Maybe @HerNameIsBuffy will remember?

IIRC he was completely shocked at the revelation.  

Now, whether he should have known ... absolutely.  Why, why, why didn't he demand to know why this woman who was the spitting image of his wife was so obsessed with his wife that she was stalking her.

Anyone with half a brain would know there would be either a financial incentive to do so or savagely personal and Cathy radiated malicious vengeance.

Seriously, fuck Bart.  Smart enough to get through law school but clueliss about how people work?  Hmmm... maybe Derek is channeling Mr. Winslow.

On 11/6/2018 at 8:00 PM, JordynDarby5 said:

Your probably right about the rose colored glasses.  Locking her kids up wasn't even her last resort. Her husband dies and she immediately starts writing letters to Foxworth Hall. She doesn't get a job, look for a job or anything that shows she really was trying to support her kids. 

The only thing I remember Bart remembering was Cathy kissing him but thought it was a dream. I don't remember but I could have forgotten. Does he not see all the gifts Corinne is buying? Who does he think that's for? Nothing about Corinne suggests she'd be donating that to anyone or has any friends she might be buying for their kids. Bart makes a comment later in the book that makes it seem like he keeps track of their money or tries to. So what does he think when he sees stuff for kids and teenagers? I also wonder where he was when Cory was really sick. I find it hard to believe in that scene that's coming anyone was keeping their voices low. Not when Cory was getting so sick. Not when Cathy's yelling at her mother to do something.  Where does he think Corinne was during that time and however long it took Cory to die where ever Corinne and Olivia took him which was mostly like somewhere in the house.

The buying stuff I assumed this was a thing from the time where even in old sitcoms people are asked "would you like to have this delivered?" for even routine department store purchases.  Especially the stuff on vacay I just assumed she'd have it shipped home and they had John Amos take care if it, as we learn later he knew.

With Cory - a house that big and old even with screaming I can see not hearing it, or at least specifics, if in another wing and who knows if he was home?  

But I do wonder what happened to Cory.  I figured they took him somewhere in the house to finish him off and John Amos knew - hence his hold over Corrine for the rest of their lives.

I hate these fictional people!  Except for Carrie, I will always be teamtruthscreamer.  

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FloraDoraDolly

Posted

In Petals, Bart didn't know. He mentioned something to Cathy about Corrine crying over an old photo album, but he assumed the photos were of Christopher Sr. He also suspected that Cathy was a relative because she looked so much like Corrine, but not that she was Corrine's daughter.

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