There is a piece of family mythology that I might have made up.
My grandmother was friends with Kurt Vonnegut’s first wife’s college roommate. I know that is not much, but here me out; there is a chance that my favorite writer (the genius behind Slaughterhouse-Five and others works of literary greatness) might have been aware of my family.
Why is this important? Well, in 1999, Kurt Vonnegut released a book of his uncollected short stories (Bagombo Snuff Box). Many of these stories were uncollected for a good reason; being the product of a struggling writer just looking for a sale in the booming short story market of the 1950s. Yet, there is one story in it of particular importance to me.
It is called “The Runaways” and it stars a family named the Southards.
Now, I know there are other Southards out there in the world. Heck, I’ve even found other writers out there with the same name as me (first and last), but with that slight connection, who is to say he might not have remembered meeting my grandmother by chance at that dorm room before a date (and my grandmother was quite the looker then) or had seen her referenced in a letter? Whatever the case, before anyone else does, I am staking my claim:
The great Kurt Vonnegut was inspired to use the name Southard in that story because of my grandmother.
There I typed it, and because it is the internet (and there are no falsehoods on the internet) and Vonnegut is no longer around to argue about it, it must be true.
So it goes. Continue reading