The Endgame – A Memoir


You’ve been infiltrated. 
You welcomed it in 
when it promised an easy path 
to short-term solutions 
at the cost of everything.

Not every moment was like a slap in the face. Some had to be looked back on to fully comprehend. 

While bringing me along to Washington D.C. to gain easy access to the offices of legislators (there are documents with their signatures on her behalf later in this writing), to areas within Yale that even graduate students and most faculty were not allowed in, and with the smell of her expensive thick wool clothing always filling my nostrils when she was near – the recruiter would tell me that we were impoverished. 

This is the woman who had a large office space in Torrington, Connecticut containing a professional printing press, aisles and aisles of heavy and neatly organized equipment on closely stacked professional shelving, and everything of quality – including her full mahogany desk with a thick marble slab top. That office alone contained more value than many small museums. And another office she was affiliated with? Back when I was still small, her address was listed as 150 Windsor Street, Hartford, a bank processing center inaccessible to customers. I had been to it with her. She shared access to an office there on the upper level over the processing floor. She brought me when she was collecting several gold bricks from the large vault in the bottom level. She needed them for a project. I remember how nervous she appeared as we exited the back of the building, her carrying them out in an ordinary-looking canvas bag. I don’t know if the project the gold was for was personal or business (I assume the latter), but the method of carrying the gold bricks seemed clandestine and unconventional – in other words, it suited her perfectly. 

She even had a nice newer-model car that she would keep parked around the corner from where she raised me so that she could claim to be without a vehicle, unless she actually needed to use it. Despite the quality of the vehicle, the area around my feet was always littered with her empty Coke cans and Snickers bar wrappers when I entered it. But I digress. 

Actual impoverished people tried to explain to me that the recruiter was not poor. They highlighted their own lives and the quality of their food and furnishings. I understood there was a difference, but I didn’t listen quite as closely as I should have. The recruiter had already created a wedge between us and them by telling me they simply were not educated enough to understand what it was like to be from Yale, and that their lifestyles were due to a lack of intellect rather than a lack of money. I was young and she was the authority on things in life, having taken the role of mother, so I believed her that their choices were simply bad shopping habits. 

It wasn’t until I was on my own as an adult that it fully struck me – poverty does not mean full access to Yale, full access to politicians, and enough equipment and gourmet food to keep yourself going for a lifetime. Poverty means the discount food on the lower shelves at the grocery store. It means furniture that will fall apart. It means not even being able to borrow that piece of equipment, never mind owning fifty pieces just like it. Poverty is a struggle to get the most out of limited resources. It’s not a costume to wear like she had. 

Next: Distraction & Misdirection