Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Love Child

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

 

 

More articles by:

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

October 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Middle East, Not Russia, Will Prove Trump’s Downfall
Ipek S. Burnett
The Assault on The New Colossus: Trump’s Threat to Close the U.S.-Mexican Border
Mary Troy Johnston
The War on Terror is the Reign of Terror
Maximilian Werner
The Rhetoric and Reality of Death by Grizzly
David Macaray
Teamsters, Hells Angels, and Self-Determination
Jeffrey Sommers
“No People, Big Problem”: Democracy and Its Discontents In Latvia
Dean Baker
Looking for the Next Crisis: the Not Very Scary World of CLOs
Binoy Kampmark
Leaking for Change: ASIO, Jakarta, and Australia’s Jerusalem Problem
Chris Wright
The Necessity of “Lesser-Evil” Voting
Muhammad Othman
Daunting Challenge for Activists: The Cook Customer “Connection”
Don Fitz
A Debate for Auditor: What the Papers Wouldn’t Say
October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Suyapa Portillo Villeda
An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail