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Sep 182013


I first “ran into” Babette Hughes when I made reply to her article in the Huffington Post and we corresponded and I asked her to write an article for Family Arrested, and here it is. Babette is a talented author and has recently published  her fourth novel drawing on her life as the daughter of a man who was murdered by the mob when she was a child. Her father was a bootlegger and his murder, though denied by her mother, haunted her until she could put the story together.

Here is Babette’s web site   http://www.amazon.com/Babette-Hughes/e/B001K8I026

Here’s Babette’s story:

“Aren’t you that Rosen girl?” Mary Ann’s mother said. Mary Ann Halloway was my new best friend in second grade and we were sitting in her kitchen drinking milk and eating coconut cookies. The cookies were delicious and something nice-smelling was cooking away on the stove. It was Saturday afternoon and her father was there, too. “The one whose father got murdered?’

“No,” I said, chewing. “My daddy died of pneumonia.”

“It was about five years ago,” she went on, “some kind of bootlegging business. Let me think.” She narrowed her eyes. “His name was Lester. Or Leon. No, wait a minute. Louis. That’s it, Louis. Louis Rosen. And there was another one murdered—a brother, I think. It was in all the papers.”

She turned to her husband. “I remember the name because it’s Jewish. Most of those people who go around killing each other are Italian, but this was a Jew.”

“Yeah,” her husband said, “I remember reading that he went to jail for killing a scab in a union fight.”

She looked at me, got hold of her husband’s hand, and pulled herself back as if I had the measles or something.

The coconut cookies on my stomach were suddenly on the way up. I stood, knocking over my milk. “I have to go home now.”

“Yes, run along,” Mrs. Halloway said, handing me my coat.

I got out of there just in time to throw up on Ms. Halloway’s azaleas. I was not invited there again.

Although that was decades ago, nothing has changed regarding the lack of attention paid to the families of criminals. In the hundreds of thousands of books and movies and newspaper articles and TV programs about members of murderers, their families are either ignored or marginalized. Aaron Alexis, Adam Lanza, Ariel Castro, Whitey Bulger—all have wives and girlfriends and children and mothers.

Who are these women? What is their background? Do they like the danger? Or hate it? Stay or leave? How are their lives affected?

My mother met my father in 1912 when she was 15, after graduating from the Jewish Orphan Home in Cleveland, Ohio. He was considered a catch for an orphan girl— good looking, with money in his pocket and a shiny Winton automobile. They were married in 1915, and when Prohibition became law in 1919, he found the career he was born to—bootlegging. She was the window of a criminal in her early 20s.

When I discovered the family secret, I was ashamed of her for staying. I was proud of her for moving on with her life when her husband died. But I didn’t know what I had learned from her. That is, until my divorce. Needing independence and courage, I discovered it within myself, put there by her spirit, from watching her struggle with the effects of the double murders in her life, not to mention the challenge of raising two children during The Great Depression under an umbrella of secrecy.

Stuck in trauma, she was unable to talk about the killings or even mention her husband’s name for the rest of her life.
Thanks to Family Arrested, family members of criminals are able to speak out and support one another.

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  11 Responses to “The families of criminals Guest Post by Babette Hughes

  1. I have tremendous respect for your mother, raising two children during the Great Depression. What a feat. Sadly, she was married to a criminal, being forced to live out a nightmare. People reveal themselves over time and unfortunately, we can be blindsided by what is revealed, discoveries that we make about our loved ones. I totally sympathize with fellow sufferers. I hope that you and your mother are at peace.

  2. Oh, I agree, BlueJay, Babette has found peace, but her poor mother didn’t seem to be able to find that peace on this earth, though I imagine she has found it now on the other side. Considering Babette’s age, the era in which she was raised, etc. it is amazing to me that she found peace with it.

    I just ordered her book about coming to grips with her family history, can’t wait for it to get here and to read it. I admire Babette and h er writings so much, and when I read her article in the Huff Post I replied and she and I developed a correspondence and I told her about Family Arrested and what my motive was in reaching out to the people who had loved ones who were./are offenders, to help them see that they can heal, recover and have a peaceful life in spite of the past or how others view them even.

    Babette is a great example.

  3. Babette, I cannot express how courageous it is for you to speak, openly, about your experiences.

    Even when a family member isn’t charged and/or convicted of their activities, their behaviors and choices carry such a burden of weight upon the shoulders of those around them. The secrecy, betrayals, and lies are what children are brought up to believe as “normal” and, when the facts finally are thrust out into the open, it is utterly traumatic.

    Again, thank you for this.

  4. Here is the name of Babette’s book about finding the truth about her family. It is available on Amazon, along with the novels she wrote along the same lines using her own story as a guide.

    Lost and Found: A Daughter’s Tale of Violence and Redemption (Hardcover)
    by Babette Hughes

    Here’s the Amazon link

    There are used copies on sale as well as the new ones, some for as little as one cent plus shipping so anyone can afford a copy of this, and I can’t wait for my copy to arrive!

  5. Babette,
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Until recently, I thought that family members of criminals should be responsible for helping the criminal mend his/her ways. It was only when I learned that psychopaths cannot change, that I understood that responsibility belongs to the person who commits the crime. They, and nobody else, should be held accountable.

    Unfortunately, the psychopath’s inability to accept responsibility is the reason why everyone around them gets slimed with their shameful behavior.

  6. So true, Skylar, and when I think about Babette being shunned at second grade level by that hateful spiteful couple…Just WOW!!! What a hostile and horrible thing to do to a child, but people do “blame” the parents for a child’s bad behavior and somehow assign “badness” to a child of a criminal as well.

    That poor Mrs. Alexis whose son shot up the Navy yard…how much it must have hurt her to say she was glad her son was “in a place where he can’t hurt anyone else” (i.e DEAD!) But you know, truthfully, if I were to find out that Patrick was no longer alive, it would be a relief to me to know he was “in a place where he can’t hurt anyone else..” Yet there was a time when if he had been given the death sentence I could not have borne it, so as we start to ‘get it” and to learn about mental illness and personality disorders, we can come to peace within ourselves that there is no way we could have changed things for the offender, and we are not to blame, and the shame is not ours.

    In Babette’s case, part of the treatment she got was “the times” that people lived in who were very prejudiced against those not in their social or ethnic group. And many believed that bad behavior was “inherited” and unfortunately, in some measure they were right about that…but it wasn’t like a 6 or 7 year old was a danger to their daughter….it wasn’t like she was trying to marry into the family…LOL She was just a vulnerable and helpless child in the face of cruel adults.

    • Thanks for sharing the book link, Joyce – it’s another one on my list of MANY.

      “Redemption” is the word in the title that really tugs at my heart for Babette. Why any child is required to carry the sins of their parent(s) is something that I still don’t understand.

  7. Truthy, apparently it has always been the case. The Bible even speaks to that at the time the Law of Moses was given, the blaming of a child for their parents’ sins was forbidden. It is definite4ly guilt by association, yet a fact, even in today’s world.

  8. Thank you Babette for posting here. It is sad that society is quick to blame anyone they can for the actions of someone, when most times it is the disordered person going it alone. It’s not too often that these offenders work with anyone, but when they do, its peas in a pod.

    So much difficulty for the remaining family to live thru and live with. Just because they are in the ground, it doesn’t mean the family of the offender or the victims, won’t have to deal with this for the remainder of their days.

  9. Babette’s book “Lost and Found” about her and her family’s life before and after the murder of her father arrived today and I am half way through it, I couldn’t put it down!!!! I think it is a must read for everyone who has offenders in their family.

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