OK, be honest - how many of you were hoping that Oprah's secret was going to turn out to be something a lot, well, juicier than her mother had another daughter of whom Ope knew nothing?
You know I go back a long way with Ms Winfrey, back to when she did local news here on Channel 13, and her poor grammar moved me to call the station once to beg them to have her stop using it. What also rankles me is the way she switches personae to meet the situation. Maybe that's her acting ability that shows up. She'll be one way talking to the audience when she first comes out and then she'll sit down and be so ponderous! Anyway, she's done well for herself without my support, so what the hey.
Last Friday, always the master of self-promotion, she said that she had a huge announcement to make on Monday. Earth-moving, shattering news. A walloping hearty meatloaf of a story. There were hints of a family reunion, and all weekend long the speculation ran wild as to what was up. Some were betting on "Stedman and I have been married for 20 years" and some went with "I'm adopting Tom Cruise." Money changed hands, for sure.
Then on Monday the bombshell hit the fan. We met Patricia. Oprah's mom Vernita gave birth to Patricia but gave her up before even naming her. And when the baby was adopted, she was given the name Patricia. (Oprah's mother had another daughter named Patricia, who later passed away.) Unknown to anyone in the family for all these years, Patricia wanted to find her birth mom, and made the connection through the social service agency, only to find that her mom had no interest in a reunion. And then Patricia's son saw a news story in which Vernita mentioned having given up a baby, and when all the puzzle pieces fit together, Patricia figured out her parentage in 2007 and bided her time.
Now, another question. How many of us, having learned that we are the half-sister to the richest woman in the world, would have immediately shown up at her door, asking what time to be ready for supper? Or at least, wanting a tv show of our own. Patricia did none of that. She did send an email to the Oprah show in '07 to let O know that she had a 1/2 sister, but understandably got no answer. You have to figure that Oprah gets some rather off-the-wall email, from people claiming to be kin, asking for a loan til payday, or wanting to go on the show to share their discovery of a new aluminum foil hat.
Eventually, O got clued in, and they had a nice-to-meetcha at Thanksgiving, and are now working toward reshaping the family to include a new member. Oprah really appreciated the way Patricia did not sell her story to People, US, National Enquirer or the Parade magazine, even. This reminded me of the first Godfather movie, and the scene where Michael goes to visit his father in the hospital, only to find that the security was a sham and the bad guys are coming after the Don. Enzo the Baker shows up with a floral tribute, and Michael gets him to stand around looking armed and tough, and after the arriving hoods drive away, Enzo is rewarded with a lifetime job (in the olive oil trade.) Oprah did not want "the media" to play up this story, so that it could be played up on the Oprah show, which I guess is still sort of the media, ain't it?
But, commerce aside, let's all wish them well. And if any one of you who read these words has any intention of claiming membership in my family, please do so soon. What with all the marriages taking place and kids being born, it's about all I can do to keep up at reunions. It's always safe to call a man "Buddy BOY!" and punch him in the shoulder by way of greeting, but women deserve a name more definite than "Darlin' !"