Things Unspoken is a memoir by Oprah's father, Vernon Winfrey. It's out on submission to agents right now—and we'd guess that no one will end up representing him unless they are so so SO SO crazy and never ever want to work again. In the proposal, we learn that Winfrey had some seriously old-timey views on childrearing!
The damage was our fault, her mother's and mine. For years we had shuttled our daughter between my home in Nashville and her mother's home in Milwaukee. That was a mistake. King Solomon taught long ago that you couldn't divide a child. Too much flux. Too much back and forth. Too many states between Tennessee and Wisconsin. Children need roots and limits and discipline. (And I don't mean time in time out. I mean the rod of correction, swung hard and often.)Seriously. It is TOO MUCH.
For the five years prior to that encounter at the kitchen table, my daughter had lived in Milwaukee. Her mother did the best she could do, I suppose, but she lost control. Our daughter was out of hand, an unruly child. Vernita said everything about her had changed. Said she didn't mind her elders, said she stayed out all times of night and lied regarding her whereabouts, said she made herself known to boys. But it was worse than I realized. She had secrets. Dark secrets. Some I didn't discover till she was a grown woman, till it was too late.