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author's background notes
I knew her since my days growing up around Buffalo, New York.   I remember her as carefree, generous, always smiling, frequently laughing. I had no idea what this woman, much older than I, had been through.
Anna grew up in a big, devout Catholic family. She honored her father and mother. She dutifully confessed all her innocent, childhood sins every Saturday before going to Mass on Sunday. As she grew older, she earned a reputation around her community as a reliable babysitter. This brought Mr. Fox to her door, asking her to babysit his young children while his wife was in the hospital. Before long, Anna was involved in a lustful affair with Mr. Fox. They had sex every time he wanted it, and in every inventive place he wanted it. Anna bore him a child out of wedlock, a girl, whom she put up for adoption. Though troubled by twisted mental images, often of a vaguely religious nature, she always went back to Mr. Fox. Their affair continued for years, while Anna ran to Confession repeatedly, trying to cleanse her soul. The mental images and accompanying bizarre sensations in her body eventually drove Anna to part from Mr. Fox. She sought help in the mental health community, and fell prey to an unscrupulous psychologist. After years in this dreary Buffalo mental health institution,
Anna and I grew up in the same suburbs of Buffalo, NY. When I knew her, she was a lot of fun to be with. We explored the Western New York region together, touring museums, ogling fancy houses and eating great Buffalo food. I left the Buffalo area; Anna never did. When she later learned I was a writer, she contacted me with a request that I tell her story. The details were a shock to me, and for a long time, I found it impossible to write her story. Now that I have finished it, Anna is grateful. She hopes her story will help others struggling with mental illness, and I am glad to have been able to help her find new meaning in her life.
HUSH is Anna's true story, constructed from personal interviews and her original manuscript.