What Crimes Help You Connect With Your Mom?

No, I’m not Oxygening* you. But here’s a story: A couple weeks after my dad died in 2018, my brother (Brooklyn) and I (San Francisco) were still in Indiana at my mom’s, eating dinner. I don’t recall what we were talking about when she revealed that in 1961 she and some friends had spent an evening with a pair of notorious spree killers, and that one of those friends was their last victim. Maybe an hour or so after dinner, after the dishes were washed and my brother and I were safely buried in our phones, she came back with a photo of her and her friends (including the victim) outside the restaurant where they’d worked.

That revelation helped put so much of my teenaged years in perspective. My mom was so strict and so protective, I had to work to get into trouble. But learning about this brush she had with the worst of the world back when she was a teen, herself, I suddenly understood.

Of course, I’m not the only person who’s had crime impact my relationship with my mom, for good or for ill. I have one friend, for example, sho says the thing that’s saved her relationship with her (Facebook-believing, red-state) mom is the ability to change the subject to the latest Netflix true crime property. Another tells me that she never really talked to her mother-in-law until Scott Peterson’s retrial hearings started heating up, and that they’ve found a way to connect by rehashing the case.

What about you? Is your interest in true crime something that allows you to bridge a gap with a maternal figure in your life, or make an existing bond stronger? I told you my story, now you tell me yours. — EB

*it’s true, finding a crassly questionable marketing hook for true-crime content is now “Oxygening,” tell your friends