I just had to put this down on paper, because I know you love Elena Ferrante’s books as much as I do.
I just had to put this down on paper, because I know you love Elena Ferrante’s books as much as I do.
Bottle Feeding: An opportunity for daddy to get up too
Defense: What you’d better have around de yard if you’re going to let the kids play outside
Drooling: How teething babies wash their chins
Dumbwaiter: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert
Family Planning: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster
Feedback: The inevitable result when the baby doesn’t appreciate the strained carrots
Full Name: What you call your child when you’re mad at him/her
Grandparents: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they’re sure you’re not raising them right
Hearsay: What toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word
Impregnable: A woman whose memory of labour is still vivid
Independent: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say
Look Out: What it’s too late for your child to do by the time you scream it
Prenatal: When your life was still somewhat your own
Prepared childbirth: A contradiction in terms
Puddle: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it
Show Off: A child who is more talented than yours
Sterilize: What you do to your first baby’s pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby’s pacifier by blowing on it
Storeroom: The distance required between the supermarket aisles so that children in shopping carts can’t quite reach anything
Temper tantrums: What you should keep to a minimum so as to not upset the children
Top bunk: Where you should never put a child wearing Superman jammies
Two-minute warning: When the baby’s face turns red and he/she begins to make those familiar grunting noises
Verbal: Able to whine in words
Whodunnit: None of the kids that live in your house
Whoops: An exclamation that translates roughly into “get a sponge!”
In Memory of all those mothers, children, and grandmothers who followed their men to the other side of their world. To lands not always welcoming…nothing changes
Exiled from home. The far sea rolls
between them and the country of their birth;
the childhood-turning impulse of their souls
pulls half across the earth. Exiled from home.
No mother to take care that they work too hard,
grieve not too sore;
no older brother nor small sister fair
no father any more.
Exiled from home; from all familiar things;
the low browed roof, the grass surrounded door;
accustomed labours that gave daylight wings;
loved steps on the worn floor.
Exiled from home. Young girls sent forth alone
when most their hearts need close companioning;
no love and hardly friendship may they own,
no voice of welcoming.
Blended with homesick tears the exile stands;
to toil for alien household gods she comes;
a servant and a stranger in our lands,
homeless within our homes.
– Charlotte Perkins Gilman. (1914)
I do empathise with you although I wasn’t adopted myself, but two of my half siblings were. I wrote about them in my book ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’. See more on my blog about the negatives of mother/child separation, adoption under category Adoption & Separation. I was abandoned by my mother and placed in an orphanage, but I at least knew who my biological parents were. In all the years I have met and spoken with adoptees, I only ever met one man who did not wish to trace his biological parents. What came of my talking to adoptees was that it didn’t matter how good or bad their parents were; what mattered to them was knowing who and what their bio parents were, and why they were given up for adoption. It seems to me that adoption itself isn’t always bad, it is how it is carried out.
In the past, women like my mother, were forced by Catholic nuns to give up their new born babies, and most of these mothers never recovered from their loss. See Philomena’s and Sheldon Lea’s stories on my blog. The nuns never allowed these mothers to contact their lost children; refused to pass on information about the adoptions or the mothers’ names. The suffering in these cases, for mothers, and children, was life-destroying.
I understand what you are saying when you talk about your dad’s spirit being with you. The father you didn’t get to meet. I feel the same about my mother. The emotional pain she transmitted to me, persisted until I finished writing the book and she finally was at peace. Take care. Anne.
Visit Adoption Critic for ‘Dear Incubator‘ letter and comments…….
Imagine having to wait for results of tests to find out whether or not you have contracted Hep C at the hands of this monster James Latham Peters, who really has no right to call himself a doctor. Mary (not her real name) has three children and her life could be at risk. How many other women in Melbourne are are having to go through this hell? I think Mary is very brave to come forward. The fact that she was having a procedure done for contraception and not for an abortion, may indicate that Mr Peters’ hatred for women runs much deeper than deranged support for the anti-abortion lobby. There is obviously much more to come out about the background of this man. And it will be interesting to find out why the Medical Board ever allowed Mr Peters to continue practicing as a doctor and why the clinics employed this drug addict, prescription forger and possessor of child pornography (see post 27th October 2010).
Top News Brief:
A mother living in Melbourne has spoken of her fright because she thinks that even she is now a victim of hepatitis C epidemic related to anaesthetist, James Latham Peters.
As health authorities received almost 700 calls at the weekend from concerned people about their contact with Dr Peters, Mary said that she decided to get herself tested for a hepatitis C outbreak connected to Dr. Peters’ Clinic, where he purportedly infected twelve patients with a strain of the blood borne illness.
The mother of three children informed The Age that she went to Croydon Day Surgery in the month of August to have contraceptive equipment fitted.
Though Dr. Peters did not have any involvement in her case, yet she is afraid that while undergoing her treatment, non-sterilized devices may have been used.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. John Carnie, said that the Health Department had been trying to get in contact with those people who had been there in Dr. Peters’ clinic for their treatment.
A spokesperson for the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria said that Dr Peters had been suspended on 15 February, three days after the panel was informed about the accusations.
Updated 14 July 2014
Until the birth of my long awaited daughter, I had three adorable sons. But they were born to a mother who had been an emotionally damaged child. As a little girl and teenager, I was quite frightened and mystified by the ways of boys and men. What did I know of life, but especially of males, with my background of nunneries, convents and Bible stories? But there was no doubt I loved each of my sons deeply.
The relationships between sons and mothers can be intense and very, very loving, although sometimes fraught, and from this perspective of safety and comfort, as my little boys grew into men, I learned the intricacies of the male psyche gradually over time. The sibling rivalry; the competition for dad’s respect and mum’s cuddles; the fisticuffs with each other and the wonder at the complexities and mysteries of the female. When their sister arrived unannounced on the scene, (my eldest son was only four when I brought her home) my boys were aghast that she didn’t have a penis as they watched her first bath time at home, their eyes wide like saucers. Their male centred home changed over night with this new fascination.
Then there comes the heartbreak they have to endure during adolescence and beyond, over this girl or that. If only I could spare them the pain they have to experience in life to become well-adjusted men, was then my angst.
My three boys are each very different personalities, so there is never a dull moment not even now when they are married with their own children. How could a woman not understand men after raising three boys? And now I am privileged indeed to have four grandsons to delight in and share anew their experience of life. It is not an automatic right to share in your grandchildren’s lives as many grandparents will tell you.
As Victoria Glendinning tells us in a book of several mother/son personal stories edited by her and her son Matthew: If I am anything to go by, all mothers are in love with their sons…it’s a savagely loving business.
-Anne Frandi-Coory 14 July 2014
See *****15 book reviews below….
*Updated December 2015*
This story about an abandoned girl will lead you to stories about generations of defeated mothers …
Whatever Happened to Ishtar? is made up of two books:
In Book II, Anne Frandi-Coory traces her mother Doreen Frandi’s Italian roots back decades to such places as southern Italy, Sicily, Pistoia, Lucca, Pisa, Florence, and northern Italy’s border with Switzerland. Her personal story begins when her mother, an Italian ex-nun, falls pregnant to a Lebanese soldier, Phillip Coory, at the close of WWll. Phillip, already married with a small son, abandons Doreen, who then decides to follow him to Dunedin, New Zealand. Phillip’s older brother Joesph marries Doreen against the Coory family’s wishes, and Anne’s subsequent birth sets off a series of consequences still reverberating through generations. Anne also documents her mother’s tragic descent into severe bipolar disorder when her marriage to Joseph disintegrates following Anne’s birth.
Most of all, this book proves two things: Our lives can be pre-ordained by the tragedies of our ancestors’ lives, and a child’s spirit can survive the cruelest of beginnings, to take on the world
Rear Cover 3rd edition of Whatever Happened To Ishtar? A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations of Defeated mothers Published by Ishtar Artworks September 2014…
here for AMAZON BOOK REVIEW
What is revealed is both heart-rending and powerful, a personal narrative. Ms. Frandi-Coory’s pursuit as to why her mother abandoned her while a baby is a difficult journey of self-discovery. How could a mother leave her children is the driving question behind the author’s plight. That, and trying to understand who she is and to identify with the family nexus and her place within it.
Her father, ill equipped mentally and economically to rear his daughter and son, placed them in an orphanage run by catholic nuns. It was not a pleasant time for either and the author gives vivid descriptions of her time incarcerated. Her father’s family weren’t the most pleasant people, abusive both verbally and physically. Why? Her mother was considered a harlot and mentally unstable, therefore she was of the same ilk. The cultural mix of Italian and Lebanese blood, the author is driven to learn more about both sides of the family and why they behaved in such a contrary manner.
I admire Ms. Frandi-Coory for writing this book. She revealed secrets most families would prefer to remain hidden to detriment of those who were and are victims. This is a brave expository, which shows the cycles of abuse can be stopped with determination and strength of character.
Whatever Happened To Ishtar? is more than a book and more than a story. It is the telling of a remarkable journey of discovery of one person’s difficult life. Anne Frandi-Coory spent much of her life trying to find a place and the love of a family. Book ended between a caring but weak father and mentally ill mother unable to care for her financially or emotionally, Anne and her brother, Kevin, suffered childhoods that no child deserves to experience. In the end, even the scars would not prevent them from making stable and successful lives.
Anne’s long research into both the paternal and maternal sides of her family is remarkable for it’s depth and acceptance. In doing so, she exposed her demons and the dysfunctions of her maternal and paternal families. The result is a culmination of her difficult journey to understand herself. Her greatest victory is her coming to understand the love of her mother and the realization of her love for her mother. Anne’s was a journey of discovery and healing.
This can be a difficult book to read at times because of the emotions it elicits. It was particularly emotional for me because of my realization that Anne is actually my cousin that I was not aware I had, her mother being my mother’s older sister. Anne’s book gave me a deeper awareness of my maternal family, and thus my mother, than I had before. So Anne Frandi-Coory’s journey of discovery was also mine in 373 pages.
Find on ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?‘ Anne Frandi-Coory Author’s facebook page
“WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ISHTAR? By Anne Frandi-Coory is a remarkable portrayal of New Zealand’s earlier Lebanese and Italian Catholic families. Although I was raised in the various vicinities this book covers, I had no idea there were established Lebanese families in New Zealand. And, for me, the whole Catholic religion was shrouded in mystique, so I had very little understanding of what was involved in being a part of the Catholic faith.
Set in New Zealand, the spartan buildings of the Catholic St Vincent’s orphanage mirrored in some part those of Seacliff Mental Asylum (Otago, NZ) in both outlook and care of those in their charge. Both would seem to have lacked a close affection for those who needed it most: the vulnerable and unloved.
This work is an amazing testimony for all mothers, a testimony we can probably all relate to. How many times do we feel inadequate, or feel we could have done better? We should never have such constraints placed on us as a mother to feel either of these. Whatever a mother is capable of at that time, for her child, is sufficient for that time.
As Frandi-Coory bears out, it is always possible to break mindsets, or break the mould, as it is said. I.e. the sins of the father… All it takes is an invincible will, which clearly she had and has.
Frandi-Coory recounts the histories of both her Lebanese and Italian families. She explains how the various mindsets occurred and how they were passed down through the generations.
I found I kept referring to the photographs as I formed opinions on the various players in this tapestry of life.
What is astonishing here, is that Anne Frandi-Coory and I never made a connection until after our respective books were published, in separate countries. It was through reading each others work that we realised our lives were very closely linked. In fact we may well have known each other through a mutual friend (Italian) during our college years in Dunedin, NZ. That is why I can vouch for the events, scenery, time frames and cultures in this amazing work.
It’s absolutely raw in its honesty.
Very well written, it’s a compelling read, from start to finish.
Kudos to Anne Frandi-Coory.”
AMAZON BOOK REVIEW 16 August 2014:
Whatever Happened To Ishtar? is a raw and powerful memoir/family history by author Anne Frandi-Coory. She spent 15 years travelling, researching her family tree, interviewing extended family members, haunting libraries and museums. Some of what Anne discovers is devastating, but mostly she is proud of the cultures and heritage of her ancestors.
Anne believes that the Catholic Church’s Dogma with its divine elevation of the ‘Virgin Mary Mother of God’, changed the image and value of the female across the world. Gone forever were the powerful, pagan goddesses. Instead we humans were left with the Roman Catholic black and white dichotomy of whore/virgin. Anne Frandi-Coory was born into a Lebanese Maronite migrant family in Dunedin, New Zealand. Prior to Anne’s birth, her Lebanese father, Joseph, married Anne’s Italian mother who’d already given birth to a son whose father was Joseph’s younger brother, Phillip. Unfortunately, Phillip was already married with another son! From the time of her birth, Anne is caught up in a vortex of hatred, neglect, physical and sexual abuse. At only ten months old, she is separated from her parents when she is placed in a Catholic orphanage for the poor run by the Sisters Of Mercy.
Anne’s research into her mother’s, grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’ lives reveal their extreme hardships largely brought about by giving birth to too many children, xenophobia, and abusive husbands.
Book Review by Roseann Cameron;
Christchurch, New Zealand. 25 November 2013
Whatever Happened to Ishtar? by Anne Frandi-Coory is a necessary read for any mother in order to help make an adjustment to your mindset in this information age filled with books on how to parent better.
Anne tells, in an honest and direct way, the reality of her childhood where her mother was largely absent; suffering neglect and abuse in the hands of the Catholic Church and her extended family. Despite this absence by her mother, the rare moments Anne shared with her still gave her something enormous.
It is a balanced account such as she does acknowledge the education the catholic church introduced her to.
Why Anne’s story is one of redemption and healing is that, despite what she reveals of her childhood and subsequent adult quest to reach a place of understanding, Anne has in her, a life blood and intelligence that is vibrant and strong. Anne knows how to live in the moment and embrace love and laughter to its full.
Anne is giving back to her children the opposite of what she was given which is a massive testament to her strength and sheer force of character. So if you ever feel you are not giving enough to your child take a read of what Anne didn’t get from her biological parents. Be encouraged by Anne’s story that even the most meagre rations her parents were able to give did make a difference to her. How much more so, an available parent with intent to actively love her children, despite the inevitable mistakes you make along the way? Such a mother Anne has turned out to be, despite all odds.
Hi Anne, l’m sitting at a cafe in Sofia, Bulgaria, and thought l’d let you know that l just finished re reading properly, Whatever Happened To Ishtar? last weekend and like l’ve already mentioned to you, your work is outstanding. l have a complete picture now of yours and Tony’s and my dad’s lives in that difficult time. l just can’t believe how terrible your situation was and the way they treated you all. Just for your info, my adopted mother lived in Dunedin too and was a dress maker for your aunties; she remembers them very well.
MOMOBOOKBLOG REVIEW of Whatever Happened To Ishtar? 22 June 2011… How much can a person endure, especially a little child. This heart-rendering account of Anne-Frandi Coory’s life is a proof that we can live through a lot of hardship and still turn out to be passionate and affectionate people, in this case a wonderful woman and mother of four children even though she was an abandoned and abused child herself.
The author goes back to the history of her Lebanese-Italian family and all the troubles her ancestors went through before reaching New Zealand… MORE…
Whatever Happened to Ishtar? by Anne Frandi-Coory is a book I could not put down. It tells of Anne’s terrifying upbringing as a child and later on in life the long quest to trace her family. Written with such passion that once read one thinks of the old saying, ‘There for the grace of god go I’. This book I would recommend to all families,especially mothers, in fact, to everyone. – Rita Roberts 2011
I am loving Whatever Happened To Ishtar? – I started reading it straight away… Isn’t it amazing that when you know someone, you don’t know what is really going on in their life? I always saw you as a fun loving mother of 4 busy kids, with the wonderful Paul by your side. I loved staying with you all. I loved your home and its romantic decoration, I loved your sense of warmth and your zest for life. When you went off to Uni, you inspired me to be a life long learner – its never too late! You are amazing and have had the most incredible journey to become and even more amazing grandmother and mature woman. I love you and will always hold you in such high esteem.- 2011
Reading my Aunty’s [Anne Frandi-Coory] book; Whatever Happened to Ishtar? Its fab and very informative regarding the family history. Dad [Kevin Coory], its worth a read buddy. (-:
6/09/2011 >No, your title is provocative & thought-provoking, as is your book. I was sorry when I had finished it. @afcoory
*****Book Review by Wendy O’Hanlon – Click – A Cultural Connection [September 2010]: Whatever Happened To Ishtar?
ISHTAR, according to Phoenician legend, is the great mother goddess. But author Anne Frandi-Coory grew up without close contact with her mother. In this painful re-telling of her family history, the author explores how generations of her family have lived thwarted, sad and unfulfilled lives because of a cruel twist of fate and even crueller family behaviours.
The author grew up in an orphanage, ostracised by her Lebanese father’s family. She rarely saw her Italian mother who spent many years in asylums and endured horrific shock treatments. She has tried to trace her siblings and re-establish relationships – with and without success, with heart-rending surprises and tragedies.
The author is now living a fulfilled life but needed to face these demons of her family history to try to make sense of life and purpose. There is true courage in her words. Her childhood was very lonely. Hers is such a searing, heart-tearing story.
The author painstakingly documents the history of her family back through the generations of Italian and Lebanese faces and stories. What is ironic is that she uncovers the rich cultural history of these families and the fact that such wonderful traits and traditions were all but lost to modern generations as her family tree fractures again and again.
For the reader, there is much to learn about the history of these great cultures as Frandi-Coory meticulously delves into ancient stories and legends. There is also much to learn about the strength of the human spirit – that a life with purpose can be lived despite a crippling beginning.
JOHN MORROW’S PICK OF THE WEEK September 2010
This is an autobiography cum family history from a strong woman who has overcome the odds to come out a successful and wonderfully strong person.
There are not many happy childhood memories when Anne recalls her earlier life in Dunedin. Anne spent her formative years at the Orphanage for the Poor. There she was indoctrinated into the world of the Roman Catholic religion. Prayers, bible study and chores were not the practical things that would prepare a damaged young girl for life out in the wide world.
Anne’s story is a revelation of cruelty and mind games which set her on a path of self-doubt. It is little wonder that she has been on a life journey that has been harrowing, but ultimately, triumphant.
Anne’s story is painful and, at times, difficult to read. However, she has my absolute admiration for rising above the adversity of her childhood to become the confident woman she is today.
Thanks Anne, for sharing your story.
BRIEF BIO OF AUTHOR:
Growing up in an orphanage, raised by strict Catholic nuns, abused by her father’s Lebanese family in Dunedin. This beginning did not prepare Anne Frandi-Coory well for the realities of life. But she overcame the continual threat of hellfire and brimstone, escaping into marriage and children as a teenager, while trying to find out who she was. Then followed divorce, and diverse short careers; interior decorator, estate agent, joint owner of a café/caterer. Always looking for new challenges while becoming bored with the old, Anne then went to university and gained a degree in Sociology after which she worked for a short time as a child case worker in the NZ Dept of Social Welfare. Not content with that, she travelled the world with her partner and daughter, and then wrote her first book ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar? – A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers’. The book was the result of fifteen years of research, interviews, and note-taking, and is selling worldwide.