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Author Archive: "Ben Fountain"

The Lives of Normal Children

In 1965 my father became president of the community college in a mid-sized town in eastern North Carolina. The local newspaper ran an article announcing the arrival of the new president and his family, the piece accompanied by an achingly sincere black-and-white photo that showed us to be models of Cold War propriety. There was my father in his dark suit, skinny tie, and black-frame glasses, my pretty mother with her hair in a flawless bouffant, and my three sisters and I, the four of us kids staring into the camera with varying degrees of poise and cluelessness. We ranged in age from my oldest sister St., who was 13 at the time, to my next sister C, nine years old, then myself, seven, and finally my youngest sister S, aged one. We lived in a big red brick house at the corner of Fairfield and Waverly Avenues, belonged to the country club and the First Presbyterian Church, and held ourselves to the strictest standards of law-abiding citizens in the mid-century America of the New South. My parents were hardworking pillars of the community; we, their ...

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