My Number Two

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: June 15th, 2011  |  Category: On Being Parentless  |  Comments: 4 comments »

I found my Number Two. I know, I said I’m not exclusively looking for parentless exceptions just like me, but I found just that in my Number Two. He lost his father when he was 13 years old, and he was parentless by the time he turned 32. Today he lives happily in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and dabbles in the performing and visual arts. He doesn’t know me, but I know him. It’s Gene Hackman. Gene Hackman is my Number Two.

Some may say that Hackman’s parentless tale is slightly more dramatic than my own. (His father abandoned him when he was 13 years old, and in 1962, his mother purportedly passed out after drinking, accidentally starting a fire with a lit cigarette that ultimately killed her.) And I would say in response, for sure. Hackman has had some serious parentless surprises. I feel for you, (Hack)man.

I learned of Hackman’s [...]

Moment of Truth

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: June 13th, 2011  |  Category: On Being Parentless  |  Comments: 4 comments »

Some people only talk to me about it when they are drunk. Some want to talk about it when I don’t. And others want to talk about it all the time – whenever they see me – no matter what is going on: Sitting at a restaurant, ordering lunch. At work, on a deadline. At work, on a conference call. At the airport, boarding group 3. You get the idea.

But, to be fair, I take part of the blame because I don’t try to hide it. When my neighbor on a BWI-bound plane sees my D.C. driver’s license and asks, “Traveling home to visit the parents?” – I simply say, “Actually, my parents died,” in an ordinary, humdrum tone that I’m still perfecting.

It’s not that I’m purposefully seeking out sympathy or attention; I’m not trying to cause a stir or raise eyebrows. It’s just that I’ve arrived at this response [...]

The Smoke Monster & What Came Next

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: June 10th, 2011  |  Category: On Being Parentless  |  Comments: 1 comment »

The day after I posted “Identity Crisis”, I received a text message from someone very dear to me (my future maid-of-honor one day, in fact). She said that she loved my post, and then she paused. “Are you lonely?” she asked with concern.

Loneliness. Throughout my life, I’ve always associated loneliness with unwanted exclusion or purposeful isolation. The former is associated with girl cliques or my U-12 Virginia Olympic Development soccer team when I felt like I was from outer space because I was the only D.C. native and didn’t know what it was like to have a big backyard or to hail from a large public school with a football team. (I grew up in an apartment building, and I think my school’s athletic fate was sealed when the Mighty Grasshopper was selected as our mascot 60 years ago.) And the latter, purposeful isolation, solely associated with that special time [...]