I am breathing a huge sigh of relief, as I have just submitted the final grades for my last class of 2015.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being a teacher. I love the interaction with students; I enjoy helping them become better writers.
But this turned out to be been one long, draining semester. Remind me never again to take on another class at the last minute, no matter how much the dean butters you up. I appreciate my supervisors’ confidence in my work, but the extra class meant I had much less time to devote to Emmett’s book, to the blog, and to my research activities.
I truly thought I was going through withdrawal a few times, and had to shut myself away with my laptop and chapter notes at in a friend’s house once or twice to indulge in my book writing.
I do have one big thing to report:
I’ve found what I believe is the actual email address for Katie Wilson Meade’s granddaughter. It turns out she, herself, is a professional journalist. I admire the family stories she has written and published; they are elegant and poignant.
As I do with all first-contact research situations, I worry about contacting her. She could say no. She may not appreciate my feeble efforts scratching about in the dust to find any clue about Emmett Wilson’s life; I can imagine her saying, ‘none of your business.’ Or, ‘My grandmother wanted to forget about him, as did the rest of the family. Let it lie.’
And yet, Emmett is related to me, too. This part of the family wants to know who Emmett was. I don’t have to have her or anyone else’s permission to tell Emmett’s story; yet, reaching out to the relatives that I can find is the right thing to do. My goal is not to write an expose. The goal is to tell this man’s story; Emmett was much more than an ex-Congressman who drank himself to death. He deserves a better memory than that.
If she reads that — and I hope she does — I want her to know that I intend to tell the truth, but with compassion. I want her to know that Emmett picked another alcoholic who understands the struggle to be honest with oneself, to not run away and hide in work, or shopping, or drinking, or any other similar obsessive behavior.
I feel like she’ll get it. All I can do is reach out to her, bare my heart in the process, as we say in the program, and be thankful for the opportunity to connect.
More will be revealed — tomorrow. I’m beat. I’ll let you know what happens!
The University of Maryland Global Campus