Reeve Lindbergh •
Under a Wing •
Reeve Lindbergh, younger daughter of aviator Charles Lindbergh and author Anne Morrow Lindbergh, revisits her childhood with finely tuned grace and deep sensibility. A lesser writer might be tempted to make capital of such famous parents; not so Lindbergh.
Her gift for immediacy shows in every line of this vividly textured memoir. The big brown sponge her mother uses in the bathtub resembles a human brain to young Lindbergh’s eyes; the arched front door of their home looks like “a giant Gothic waffle.”
Whenever her father returns from a trip, he calls the children into his study one by one to discuss behavior and values; Lindbergh teaches herself to read upside down by peering at the list on his desk to see what she’ll be lectured about next. “Freedom and Responsibility were good for half an hour, sometimes half an hour each.”
But this same serious man carries his children on his shoulders and tucks them in with bedtime games: “He would parade a collection of imaginary animals across our backs . . . sometimes he made me laugh to the point of near hysteria with a ticklish scamper of squirrels up and down my spine.”
Her mother exudes a calm, loving stability, as you might expect from the author of Gift from the Sea. “Her mere presence in a house, would heal, soothe, and uplift us.” In the writings of both her parents, Lindbergh finds familiar, trusted voices, those that anchored her childhood and linger in her mind decades later.
“In my profession,” her father tells her, “you only fall once.” Lindbergh herself falls not at all in this quiet masterpiece.