Victoria Loustalot is author of the books, This Is How You Say Goodbye; A Daughter’s Memoir, Living Like Audrey, and Future Perfect. She has written for the The New York Times, The New Yorker online, The Onion, Women’s Wear Daily, and Publishers Weekly, among many other publications. She earned her BA and her MFA from Columbia University.
The earth shatters for Victoria when she is 4 years old and her father comes home on Mother’s Day and reveals that he is gay and HIV positive. He kills himself 4 days before her 11th birthday. She spent more time with him as a young child than anyone else, but "it's like it all added up to nothing". At 23, her confusion about who he was compels her to revisit the past for answers.
Karen Jones first told a short version of her story on National Public Radio’s, The Moth Story on the theme “Forgiven”. She is an Occupational Therapist and the author of the blog See Our Soldier, A Chronicle of Healing.
It is 1968 and Tennessee-born Jesse Lee Garrett is 45 years old. A veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, he is an absent alcoholic father in rural Michigan. His daughter, Karen, is a 17 year-old on the Powder Puff football team. On the night of the only game her father ever attended she plays better than ever. It gets dark and starts to snow. She looks up and he is gone. At home she finds him sitting in the dark with his Jack Daniels. At 53 she is asked to eulogize him. Every memory she has is pain and disappointment. She decides to investigate who he was at age 16 when he went to war.
Rebekah Gross, MD grew up in New York City and is a graduate of Stanford University and the Yale University School Of Medicine.
Rebekah grows up on Park Avenue in the 1970s. Her mother, Ruth, runs a distinctly Old World household with two grand pianos, a large foyer portrait of Rebekah and her sisters and sprawling Persian rugs. One day, when Rebekah is in fifth grade, she’s assigned to make a family tree. Her mother didn't have much family. Or so she thought. “Next to the circle that is me,” her mother says, “you need to draw two squares. For my dead brothers.” Years go by and Rebekah gets only “drips of information." She doesn’t ask questions and her mother doesn’t offer more. “I had opened the door to this room that I wasn't supposed to enter.”