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This is how this whole thing came about… "Between three and three and a half years ago, I was sitting on the sofa with my mom at home, and we were watching coverage of the Andrea Yates trial...the woman who drowned her children in a bathtub. And I turned to her and I said, "Gosh. Can you imagine a woman being so desperate that she would hurt her own children?" And my mother took her cigarette out of her mouth and turned to me and said, "I’ve been there." And I remember saying, "What?"

"You must understand that I always thought of my mom as the perfect wife and mother, a woman who, I felt, had aspired to nothing more than to be a wife and mother. And for the very first time, she started telling me these amazing stories of when my dad was off getting his Master's and it was just her and us three kids on the farm alone, and she had no help and no neighbors or anything, and she was having little mini-breakdowns. And I was astounded. And suddenly it occurred to me, ‘Well, gosh, if my mom has these moments, every woman has had a moment where she's close to losing it.’ So truly as I started talking to her and finding out these things, the genesis of this idea was born in that."

"Later, toward the end of their marriage, my parents were having some difficulties, and my Dad had congenital heart disease. He had a heart attack once every year for about 13 years straight. And toward the end of that period, my sister and I would be woken up in the middle of the night, and we'd come out, and mother would say, 'I'm taking your father to the hospital. He's having a heart attack.' So it was, like, 'Oh, okay.' And we'd go back to sleep. And so we had kind of gotten used to this routine."

"Well, toward the end when things were getting a little intense, I remember getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning, and my dad was going down the stairs. And I said, 'What's going on?' 'I'm having another heart attack.' And I went, 'Where's Mom?' And he said, 'She's in the bedroom.' And so my dad was waiting downstairs, and I went in, and my mom was finishing making the bed. And I remember saying to her, 'Well, Daddy's waiting to be taken to the hospital.' And she said, 'Well, it's the start of my day.' And she just did the little crease under the pillows, and I remember thinking, 'Oh, wow, she really doesn't care if he makes it to the hospital.'"

"And she's a lovely woman, but occasionally she would do stuff. And it wasn't until years later I was able to synthesize everything – you know, I was able to just put it all together and understand, you know, because my dad did some stuff he shouldn't have in the marriage, and I was seeing that she was – passive-aggressive is a good term to use when describing my mother. She's absolutely lovely, but she will put a smile on her face as she deals with you in an aggressive way. And so it was some of those elements that I was taking when I was doing Bree. Martha Stewart didn't enter my mind. It's Martha Cherry."

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 44 - September 2018
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