Cookies must be enabled to use this web application.

To allow this site to use cookies, use the steps that apply to your browser below. If your browser is not listed below, or if you have any questions regarding this site, please contact us.

Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • 1. Select "Internet Options" from the Tools menu.
  • 2. Click on the "Privacy" tab.
  • 3. Click the "Default" button.
  • 4. Click "OK" to save changes.
Chrome Chrome
  • 1. Click the "Spanner" icon in the top right of the browser.
  • 2. Click Options and change to the "Under the Hood" tab.
  • 3. Scroll down until you see "Cookie settings:".
  • 4. Set this to "Allow all cookies".
Firefox Firefox
  • 1. Go to the "Tools" menu and select "Options".
  • 2. Click the "Privacy" icon on the top of the window.
  • 3. Click on the "Cookies" tab.
  • 4. Check the box corresponding to "Allow sites to set Cookies.
  • 5. Click "OK" to save changes.
Opera Opera
  • 1. Click on the "Tools" menu and then click Preferences.
  • 2. Change to the Advanced tab, and to the cookie section.
  • 3. Select "Accept cookies only from the site I visit" or "Accept cookies".
  • 4. Ensure "Delete new cookies when exiting Opera" is not ticked.
  • 5. Click OK.
Netscape and Mozilla Suite Netscape and Mozilla Suite
  • 1. Select "Preferences" from the Edit menu.
  • 2. Click on the arrow next to "Privacy & Security".
  • 3. Under "Privacy & Security" select "Cookies".
  • 4. Select "Enable all cookies".
  • 5. Click "OK" to save changes.
Safari Safari
  • 1. Click on the "Cog" icon in Safari.
  • 2. Click Preferences.
  • 3. Change to the Security tab.
  • 4. Select "Only from sites I visit" or "Allow".
  • 5. Close the dialog using the cross.
Book Image Not Available
Book Details
  • Genre: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  • SubGenre: Personal Memoirs
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 54

Passages from Behind These Doors: A Family Memoir

by Catherine Sevenau

Book Image Not Available
Overview

PASSAGES FROM BEHIND THESE DOORS: A FAMILY MEMOIR is kaleidoscope of frank, funny, and tender tales about sin and prayer, good intentions and unattended sorrows, and about finding our way back home. Growing up in California in the 1950s and 60s, Catherine Sevenau was raised primarily by an older sister, survived five years living with an unhinged erratic mother, and spent summers working at her father's five-and-dime in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury. This era and sense of place provide the colorful background to a soul-searching and riveting account of her early family life. Through it all, she tells her story with humor and grace. BEHIND THESE DOORS is a portrait of a woman’s journey to find her place in the family and to understand her troubled mother. The compelling stories create a tapestry of love, loss, hurt, and laughter. With clarity and perspective, Sevenau embraces the events of her early years, and comes to appreciate what transpired were gifts in disguise: that what occurred happened for her, not to her. Transforming a bewildering and fractured childhood into a life well lived, she has found her way back home. Catherine Sevenau is an irreverent humorist and an astute storyteller. These twenty passages from BEHIND THESE DOORS are a poignant and captivating taste of her first book.

Description

My brother Larry was under the illusion that our mother was a good mother, but he had a different childhood than the rest of us. My sisters were convinced otherwise: Carleen complained Mom was thoughtless and self-centered, Betty resented her for abandoning us, and Claudia simply thought she was weak—all of which was true by the way. I was never under the illusion I had a bad mother, I was under the illusion I had the wrong mother, and although I was not under the illusion she loved me, I hoped she might someday. I was raised by omission, but neglect doesn’t leave a scar, it leaves a hole. Some say holes are harder to heal. Fortunately, I only lived with her from the time I was five until the age of nine. I figure that’s why I’m not completely neurotic. Or dead. I wrote our story, which evolved into a five-year journey. A magnitude of personal growth work put it into perspective; a writing class helped me get it down on paper. It’s about doors opened, closed, and locked, and about a family so complicated you’ll need a scorecard. As my friend Billy says, “There are really only five-hundred people on the planet, the rest are just crowd scenes done with mirrors.” It seems I’m friends with, or related to, most of these people. The rest I’ve dated. What follows is what I’ve been told, what I recall, and what my family claims I’ve made up. Some stories I’ve never disclosed; some I’ve recounted so many times I can’t remember if they’re even true anymore. But do we ever recollect what actually happened? Certainly we remember our version—and what we believe is true for us, so we better be careful what we believe. And does any of it matter? Only when we make it mean something.

About the author

An opener of doors, teller of tales, and family scribe, Catherine (Clemens) Sevenau is the author of PASSAGES FROM BEHIND THESE DOORS: A FAMILY MEMOIR. She has compiled five volumes on her family genealogy, co-hosts Random Acts, a monthly open mic at Readers’ Books, and is a longtime Broker/Realtor in the Sonoma Valley. Her kaleidoscope of frank, funny, and tender tales are about sin and prayer, good intentions and unattended sorrows, and about finding our way back home. Growing up in California in the 1950s and 60s, Catherine was raised primarily by an older sister, survived five years living with an unhinged erratic mother, and spent summers working at her father's five-and-dime in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury. This era and sense of place provide the colorful background to a soul-searching and riveting account of her early family life. Through it all, she tells her story with humor and grace. BEHIND THESE DOORS is a portrait of a woman’s journey to find her place in the family and to understand her troubled mother. The compelling stories create a tapestry of love, loss, hurt, and laughter. With clarity and perspective, Sevenau embraces the events of her early years, and comes to appreciate what transpired were gifts in disguise: that what occurred happened for her, not to her. Transforming a bewildering and fractured childhood into a life well lived, she has found her way back home. Catherine Sevenau is an irreverent humorist and an astute storyteller. These twenty passages from BEHIND THESE DOORS are a poignant and captivating taste of her first book.

Give Us Feedback

Help make our site better and easier to use!
We read all feedback carefully, but we cannot respond to the comments you submit.

Your feedback has been submitted successfully. Thank you.
close window
Sending
Session Expiration WarningYour session is due to expire.

Your online session is due to expire shortly.
Would you like to extend your session and remain logged in?

Session Expired

Your session has expired.We're sorry, but your online session has expired.
Please log back into your account to continue.