Auntie Anne just wrote a memoir. Why the fuck would you want to read a book about the life of Auntie Anne? Well, see, she's a centimillionaire motorcycle enthusiast who grew up a Mennonite in Amish country. She met her husband through a youth group, and married as a teenager. Her second daughter was run over by a tractor and killed when she was a toddler. The death filled her and her husband with grief so immense it nearly ended their marriage. Then they healed their wounds by confiding in their Evangelical pastor and a counselor. It changed them so much they started counseling other Amish country couples. They started a little pretzel business. Her loving and dutiful husband Jonas mistakenly added a "secret" extra ingredient that made them taste awesome. They loved their pastor so much they uprooted their lives and the business to Texas to follow him. And six years later, it turned out Auntie Anne was leading a twisted double life!
Screwing the pastor, of course. This is back in the eighties, when Evangelical ministers were straight.
The very first time she had gone to the pastor's office for help, six months after Angela's death, she recounted, "he seduced me. I was a grieving 26-year-old mother who had just lost her child, with no reason to believe I couldn't trust a pastor, and I felt like I had lost my husband, too, because we couldn't connect anymore. That first day as I left his office, he told me, 'Jonas cannot meet your needs, but I know I can.' "
"Jonas and I call him 'The Beast,' " she says. "I would threaten to tell, but he would always say no one's going to believe you, that I couldn't live without him, that I needed him. I was clean for six months before I was able to tell Jonas."
The look in Jonas's eyes was unbearable, she recalls. "I'm really sorry, and I'm a very sorry person," she remembers telling him. And she hurried off to work after confessing. Jonas wasn't there when she got home, but eventually, she heard his little truck in the driveway. He came into the kitchen.
"We just stood there, side by side, not touching, and he said, 'Honey, I don't have a whole lot I want to talk about. I just want you to promise me one thing. . . . I want you to be happy. So promise me you won't leave me in the middle of the night with a note on the dresser. If you need to leave, we'll plan it together. I'll help you pack your bags, help you find a place to live, but you have to take the girls."
It was the last bit that broke through to her, Anne remembers, penetrating her own wall of self-loathing.
"I felt overcome by the fact that he thought I was a good enough mom to take the kids with me," she says, crying hard at the memory.
Auntie's Awakening [Washington Post]