Poe Kids

I am related – distantly, by marriage – to Edgar Allan Poe.

I’m not sure how the relationship works. Poe never had kids. But my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece all have Poe as their middle names. And that middle name has been passed down for generations before them.

So we’re related.

Once, when my three kids were little – 8 and under – I wanted them to connect with their literary ancestor. So I read them “Tell Tale Heart” (A short story where a guy kills an old man – possibly his father – whose eye annoys him; then he dismembers the body and buries it underneath the floorboards. Brilliant work of fiction. Brilliant.) By the time I finished reading it, my two daughters were in tears, clinging to my husband. My oldest looked at me and said, “Why would you read that to us, Mommy? Why?”

This is what happens when your mother is an English major and your father is distantly related to Edgar Allan Poe.

Moral of the story: Reading stories about deranged psychopaths to small children is not as good an idea as you’d think.

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