FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Love Child

by CLANCY SIGAL

Like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 13-year-old son by his former housekeeper, I’m a “love child” ? the spawn of a liaison between my single mum and her married lover, my dad. I wouldn’t be alive today if my father had not betrayed his legal wife and their two children. My mother resisted pressure, from my dad and even members of her own family, to abort me ? she really wanted me. So, I have a personal interest in the “Arnold scandal”, his infidelity to his wife Maria Shriver. And, necessarily, I’ve also a complicated, emotional attitude to abortion.

I wonder if Arnold’s housekeeper’s son, being raised by his single mother, is feeling as I did growing up ? which is sad that I don’t have a “real” dad, but at least, I’m not an orphan or dead.

There are vast differences, of course. My folks were Depression-poor, and Arnold ? and Maria ? are filthy rich. They are both celebrities with millions in cash at their disposal. Schwarzenegger can afford to make a deal with the boy’s mother ? and probably has, as some sources report. Super. My only real grudge against my own hardly-ever-there dad is that: a) he wasn’t around much; and b) he’d rather unionize workers than make money. (He was a labour organiser.) So, it was ma and me against the world on our own ? and, looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m sorry only about one other thing, which is that my half-brother and half-sister, dad’s “legitimate” children, both fine people, had a problem with me when we finally discovered each other after our parents died. (It took my dad several years of agonizing indecision to tell them once I popped up in his life.) They had always seen themselves as his proper children, and why not? So, it came as a shock when he finally ‘fessed up, late in the game, as Arnold just did with Maria, years on.

From day one, my mother Jennie always knew she had taken her man away from his wife and kids. She coped with the knowledge as only a “fallen woman” could in those days. Dad’s wife, the mother of his kids, I’m told, lived for years in denial ? until he finally returned to the family hearth, when God knows what revenge she took on him. (Arnold may be lucky Maria has moved out; she can look pretty fearsome.)

The worst part of it all was that I had to grow up not knowing any of this, at least consciously, until I was in my thirties. Secrecy, not wanton sex, kills. A kid usually knows what he doesn’t know ? and that can be the dark cloud he’s always fighting, without knowing who, what and where it is.

In the end, it took a while but my grownup half-sister wholeheartedly and warmly embraced me and took me into her own family ? for me, what Jews call a “nachas”, a joy. My brother took longer, painfully wrestling with himself to acknowledge that, even though we both startlingly resembled our father, we really were both his sons.

Obviously, I identify with “the housekeeper’s son” ? my mom also sometimes worked as a housekeeper and cook, in a lumber camp and at a summer resort. I wish him all the best. Perhaps one day, in the fullness of time, the four Shriver kids ? that’s how they now identify themselves ? may feel it’s time to meet their half-brother. What’s the Catholic word for nachas?

Clancy Sigal is a novelist and screenwriter in Los Angeles. He can be reached at clancy@jsasoc.com

 

 

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail