The Lost Mother
Sometimes one can wish for something so badly that one can’t see the special quality of what is in the present moment. This is the theme of Henry, Thomas, and Margaret Talcott’s story. They endure the Depression in the most awful conditions imaginable. Henry’s wife, Irene, has left after the death of their son. Thomas and Margaret, the children, believe that Irene has gone to work for some desperately needed money. While they await her return and attempt to communicate with her, they make the best of living in an outdoor tent with little food except for what generous neighbors offer. The author depicts not only the ongoing disasters they manage to survive, but also the thoughts and feelings of responsibility, guilt, remorse, separation, and reconnection the children experience.
One neighbor would love to marry Henry if he were free; another schemes to have Thomas and Margaret join her family to add some direly needed zest to a sickly son. While the first neighbor accepts and deals with things as they are, the other is fawning and manipulative to the point of being despicable. Henry struggles beyond his ever-looming despair to provide the barest necessities of life. When the children finally see their mother and experience living with her, as well as what follows in the years to come, their epiphany provides a potent, endearing, and unexpected ending that is sure to move every reader. Written in a spare yet highly literate style, The Lost Mother depicts the strengths, agonies, and personal connections that link us to the essence of what really matters in any age.