One day I checked my emails to find an entire string of conversation between another Baldwin family. It took me a few minutes to realize I had been included in the chain by mistake but by then it was too late. My curiosity was piqued. The ‘other’ Baldwin family was planning a reunion and each family member who chimed in on the thread had their own unique character traits. I became invested in the planning of the event (I am my mothers daughter after all!) and was actually a little disappointed when I reminded myself I couldn’t really go to the reunion. Although I won’t lie, it crossed my mind that they may not have seen the real Lauren Baldwin for a long time and I could perhaps get away with going and using my American accent to fool them all. Clearly I watch too much TV.
The emails continued and (as far as I could see) the reunion was a success and everyone was happy.
A few months later, another ‘family’ email arrived. One of the grandparents in the family was sick, very sick. And suddenly, the knives came out. The family fell into disarray, blaming each other for his poor quality of life and for certain family members not doing their equal share. It was all so tragic I got sucked right back in to the melodrama.
Eventually, he died. But rather than band together in mourning and forget the angry words that were said in the past, the arguing continued.
Picture me in a school attic like the kid from The Neverending Story, huddled around my laptop (who said that movie couldn’t be updated!) engrossed in this new world I had discovered. My own private reality show.
The emails were long and detailed…to begin with. When another family member fell ill and the discussion about whether or not to put him in a nursing home came up, the ultimate fallout happened. This resulted in one final family email that simply said ‘YOU ARE DEAD TO ME’. Harsh! I mean, this is family after all and from an outsiders perspective, most of the problems were due to miscommunication and misunderstanding. Hadn’t these people ever heard of a phone? Or Skype?
I bring this story up because after four years of peeking into this family’s life, I was found out just a few weeks ago. One of the family members sent out a generic email that I was included on, prompting the REAL Lauren Baldwin, who had clearly missed out on all the drama up until now, to discover that that’s who had been including the wrong Lauren Baldwin all this time. She berated the family member and included a link to my website so the family could see that THIS was who had been privy to all of the families deepest, darkest secrets for so many years. The fact that I was still included in that email means I was definitely meant to see that I had been found out. Although for all they know, those emails had been going to my junk mail box and had never been read! Regardless, I can’t help but feel exposed now, like one of them might show up on my doorstep at some point….
If you read this ‘other’ Baldwin’s, you need to be more careful. You got a sane** Baldwin here but I’m sure there are some out there that are not! I’m actually quite relieved to no longer be included on the emails. I think one Baldwin family is quite enough!
**I’m sure some people will disagree