Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 28 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Wenceslaus

A Memoir: “Why I Am the Way I Am” or, “WHAT HAPPENED?”

Elizabeth Scalia - published on 09/13/17

After reading many social media comments about Hillary Clinton’s new book, entitled, What Happened, I wondered how I would start my own memoir, should I ever write one.  Something like this, perhaps?

When she was pregnant with me, my mother gained 70lbs and her doctor was convinced she would be giving birth to twins. In the instinctive way of knowing that predated sonograms, my mother assured him, “there’s just one baby.”

“I don’t know, you’re pretty huge,” he told her as lit a cigarette for himself, and one for her.

His conviction held until several minutes after my birth. The way my mother told it, she had just enjoyed a plate of spaghetti and meatballs when her labor began and, “I walked right into the delivery room with my coat still on.”

A few minutes later the doctor limped in. “He only had one leg,” my mother always made sure to add, “because the other one got blown off in World War II, so we called him Doctor Pegleg.”

This was a lie. He wore no prosthetic at all and lumbered around on crutches, but my mother relished little flourishes like that, so Dr. Pegleg he remained.

“After he delivered you, he kept reaching around and even ordered a sandbag to be put on my stomach! I said, ‘what are you doing?’ and he said, ‘I’m looking for the other baby.’

‘There is no other baby!’ I told him, and when he finally got the placenta out he believed me. Then, standing on the one leg, he lifted you up in both of his hands, like he was making an offering to the sun, and started to sing ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling.’”

“I always tell people I threw away the baby and kept the afterbirth,” she would add.

From there, things went downhill pretty quickly.

I think if I ever write my memoirs, I’ll call it, This is Why I Am the Way I Am! and start right here. At the beginning. A very fine place to start.

Or I’ll call it WHAT HAPPENED?

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
Giovanna Binci
He’s autistic, she has Down syndrome, and they’re wonderfully hap...
Fr. Michael Rennier
The purpose of life according to J.R.R. Tolkien
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
crisis man
Marzena Devoud
Advice from 3 monks for overcoming acedia
Christ and the woman taken in adultery
Daniel Esparza
What Jesus wrote
See More