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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 2, June 2019
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Rebecca Drouilhet
Picayune, Mississippi, USA


Broken

The living owe it to those who can no longer
speak to tell their story for them.
                                                 ―Czeslaw Milosz

It didn't end with Romeo and Juliet. Here in the American Deep South, family honor is taken seriously even now. And sometimes, as in Shakespeare's tale, the best things are sacrificed for it.

It's the 1800s, and Robert Lee Triplett has fallen in love with Pauline de la Bretone, a French Catholic beauty. Robert's family forbids the marriage because of her religion, but he defies them and marries Pauline anyway. The Tripletts cut Robert off without a dime and disown him and the new bride for the rest of their lives.

Fast forward to 2018. I take an Ancestry DNA test and discover that I have 1,024 third and fourth cousins. I can't possibly contact all of them. So I close my eyes, point a finger and pick a name. It's Paulette K., Robert's granddaughter. I write her a note: "Hi, I think we're related." Turns out Paulette's great-grandfather and my great-great grandfather are one and the same. We share stories and family history. Paulette tells me how she and her cousins have been marooned from the bulk of the Triplett family since her grandparents married. The sadness in her tone over the phone tells me how deep the wound has been. I am from the side of the family that disowned them and am myself married to a man of French Catholic heritage. The irony is not lost on either of us. We arrange to meet with other Triplett family members in Biloxi in the late fall for a much-delayed reunion.

the family ring
resized to fit
a different hand . . .
the jeweller smooths the scar
where once the circle broke

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