I’m Jessica Harper. Long before I was a movie actress I was growing up in a six-kid household in Winnetka, Illinois…
It was Eisenhower’s postwar America. On the surface, it seemed like an idyllic time and place. But sometimes, in my town and in my own home, that surface would crack, revealing darkness below…
Every family has secrets.
Welcome to Winnetka.
#2 Sample story: DUCK AND COVER
Home life wasn’t easy, but by ’62 we were learning of greater dangers outside our home. Which is why we hid under our desks…
#3 Sample story: HOUSEWIFE TIPS
My mother once seemed like a perfect model of a Fifties housewife. But at age 96 she revealed that she had been downright subversive.
#4 Sample story: GLENDALE
It was the late Sixties, time to embrace sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. I was more than happy to do that—one step at a time.
#5 Sample story: CRIME SPREE
In the early Sixties, there was a spike in the crime rate in Winnetka, thanks to the antics of my naughty brothers.
#6 Sample story: NICKNAMES
In fine WASP tradition, our parents gave us preposterous nicknames. Mine was the most unfortunate. Warning: It starts with P.
#7 Sample story: CHRISTMAS
For Mom and Dad, prepping Christmas for six kids was always a marathon. For my grandfather, it was crantini time.
#8 Sample story: MADEMOISELLE
In 1968, I was almost a cover girl for Mademoiselle magazine. But I learned a lesson about great expectations.
#10 Sample story: INVISIBLE
My little brother Sam had his own way of escaping the mayhem of life in a big family: He’d simply disappear.
#11 Sample story: CALYPSO
When my parents had their (semi-wild) cocktail parties, they did not dance to Sinatra. No Elvis. No Stones. Think “Day-o."