Brothers and Sisters: Our Family Story

“Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.” ` Susan Scarf Merrell

There is a reason some of the greatest literature has sprung from the heart of family: East of Eden, King Lear, To Kill a Mockingbird, Little Women. Our families are entities from which sagas are bred. In almost every family there are secret drawers full intrigue, drama, jealousy, madness, and forgiveness. Some come through the storms intact; others fracture, never to be mended.

My own family is the story of four siblings, each different, yet connected through our own personal web. We wove our ways through the sixties, seventies, and into the eighties basically ununscathed. There was the usual family drama - deaths of grandparents, some financial strife, neighborhood bullies, and daily squabbles, but we entered adulthood with the ability to strike out on our own. We built careers and formed our own families. The four of us have been through struggles from divorce to job loss to infertility to the death of our sweet father. We have propped each other up in the dark, and we will defend each other to the bitter end.

Our stories are raucous and complex, told with heartbreaking clarity. We are the Riverview Four still ruling the West End in our hearts.

We are the Shumates.