Annamaria on Monday
This title requires explanation. It is not to describe current candidates for President of the United States, although in one case the pejorative term does apply. I am using this word not as a condemnation, but as a literal description. This is about people whose fathers were not lawfully married to their mothers. First to my inspiration for writing on this topic. It came from watching a movie and being addicted to the original cast album of a Broadway musical you might have heard of called "Hamilton."
|Me and Emma, one week after opening night! Nonna scores big points!|
Yes, I have seen “Hamilton.” And I have done so I might add without paying a price that required mortgaging Manhattan real estate. (Aside: Last August, Ben Brantley began his New York Times review, “Yes, it really is that good.” And goes on to say, “I am loath to tell people to mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets to a hit Broadway show. But ‘Hamilton,’ … might just about be worth it”). The show begins, “How does a bastard, orphan, son of whore and a Scotsman…” I have happily listened to the cast sing that phrase many times in the past months.
Then last evening, while watching “Lawrence of Arabia,” I was reminded that T.E. Lawrence was also a bastard. Which set me to musing about how important bastard children might have been in history. It took a good night’s sleep for me to remember that I wrote a book about the fame of a bastard daughter: Evita Peron (nee Eva Ibarguren). That hooked me on this subject.
So I looked them up. Here is a partial list of famous people whose parents never married.
|K'ung-Fu-tzy, whom we call Confucius|
|Need I say?|
|Steve Jobs, who by the way was the son of Syrian refugee from Homs!|
It is interesting that four of these people grew up not to need a last name donated by their fathers: Evita, Leonardo, Fidel, and Oprah. And one needs only the honorific he earned all by himself to be identified. "Sir Alec" can only be one person. No one one would ask Sir Alec who?
I have to add that in most cases, the fathers of these children took little or no interest in them. It was their mothers who were left to raise and support them and live under the stigma of having borne them. “Single mother” is a common phrase these days and no longer always carries with it the shame that plagued the mothers of almost all of the people you see here. In researching Blood Tango, I learned that the young Evita—in the desolate town where she was born—could not walk to school without having people cross the street, to avoid walking on the same sidewalk with a bastarda. Many biographers of these people have theorized that it was their illegitimate status that drove these children born out of wedlock to the heights of their achievement.
Whatever it was, I am grateful for the existence of all of them. Well, maybe not Justin Bieber. But then again Alec Guiness all by himself more than makes up for that.