Providence, to me, meant nothing. Not in a negative sense, but I simply had no conception of it as a place. When I applied for university I felt my mother was Morpheus from the matrix: take the blue pill to study law in England or the red pill to go to the US. It was never made explicit, per se but sometimes assumptions are more powerful than demands.
I didn’t get into Oxford and so it left me with a choice between Brown and London School of Economics, where I was assumed to read Law. It turns out I was offered financial aid to go the US and over the dinner table my mother said with pursed lips that it was up to me. They never spoke about money but I had a feeling it was a tight year for the restaurants so I chose Brown.
In the communist insurgency of the sixties, by grandfather was the chief police officer. After a career of fighting both the communists and corruption he left to become a lawyer in London. He told me this lying on his back in his fluorescent lit apartment. His eyes were cloudy due to his cataracts but he seemed focus on something above him. He was recalled to the force before he started his course.
I’ve been told that my mother studied law in London in the 80’s. Something happened then that is not mentioned in our family. Like a tragic passing of family member that is hidden in plain sight. I think it marked her deeply. I remember sifting through her old books from London when I was a child and coming across heavily annotated law textbooks which lay next to dog eared books of poetry. My mum always read me the poetry though.
So thanks to the generosity of the Shelby Davis foundation, the family curse continued.