Reading a Memoir Takes Me Back by Joan Mazza

Reading a Memoir Takes Me Back

I knew before buying—
this memoir was authored
by the elder daughter of my
high school best friend, my maid-
of-honor, a mother who disappeared
from her daughters’ lives
to follow Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
How heartbreaking to read
of what it felt to be a child
shuttled to live with
a single father, a man
I remember, also unprepared
for parenting, but who stepped
up to do his best. How did
my friend fall for that carrot
of enlightenment? How
was she bamboozled
into believing going to India¬
and leaving her children
was a good idea?

It was the 1970s,
era of false promises
in tie-dye and disco dancing,
gurus and expanding freedoms
like a widening tornado
lifting us up into
I flew only as far as Florida
to be psychoanalyzed
and made whole, not
re-broken. I didn’t know
it was a cult. Neither of us
landed safely until decades
later. I write to the author,
send her photos of her
tall and beautiful mother
in high school.


Joan Mazza worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, and taught workshops on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self. Her poetry has appeared in The Comstock Review, Prairie Schooner, Slant, Poet Lore, One Art, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia and writes every day.

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