My Christmas got a bit knocked.


To recap the Introduction in this series, Alex had negotiated with his younger brother Ethan to be allowed to see his mother. His mother was at Ethan's house in Bray. They had agreed that no one would come near Ethan's house, and that Ethan would deliver his mother to the Ramada Inn in Bray, a short distance from his house. She would be met there by Duane Matthews and transported to the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, about twenty minutes away, where Dolores could see Alex and his family for the first time in nearly two years.

Ethan delivered a note to the parents of Duane Matthews, addressed to Alex, which they discovered Christmas morning.


It can be imagined that the Matthews experienced a certain intrusion in the Christmas atmosphere when Alex opened the letter:

Message from Ethan


Once again, Ethan's voice is clear. As we saw in A Simple Plan Part 2 and in the first letter crafted to the Health Service Executive, there is the emphasis on property rights and the aggressive language. We see a directive for the target of the letter to do something. Threatening to report the addressee to the Gardai is also common in his communications.

We note how he refers to Dolores: “your mother”. This de-personalised reference to Dolores is common in his communication with his siblings. He changes this when writing or communicating to authorities, agencies and solicitors. She is then referred to as “my mother.” Like most of his letters this one is focused on Ethan and what he demands from others. Dolores' desires and welfare are not addressed in his communiques.

We believe from other examples of Ethan's missives that the threat of prosecution, “with evidence” refers to his CCTV set-up at his house. We first heard these sort of threats when he was resident in Finglas, in north Dublin. At the time of this letter we believe he had one CCTV mounted on his house. He now has two.

We have noted previously Ethan's efforts to conceal his place of residence from his siblings (although by this time his address was known through Saoirse's attempts to locate her mom here) even to the point of using another name to register his property with the Irish Land Registry. Concealing his location also concealed Dolores' whereabouts during the many, many times she was brought to Bray, further isolating her from her children, and maintaining Ethan's control.


[Editor's note: We think it likely that the reader will recognise the absurdity of this situation where a son who hasn't seen his mother in so long has to jump through so many hoops to be able to see her; where simple logistics turn into threats and demands, and a son's desire to see his mother becomes an opportunity for another to exert absolute control.
There is none of this sort of thing: Simply picking up the phone to say, “Hey mom, how about I pop over tommorrow and we'll take you to lunch! We can't wait to see you. Wait'll you see how big your grandchild is now! OK, see you then!”
As always, we seek and encourage anyone with knowledge of Dolores' life and/or the events presented here to contribute to this site. Memories, anecdotes, photos and documents are sought. Clarification or alternative views are encouraged and welcomed.  Submissions ]


In any event, Ethan was “agreeable to driving your mother to a mutually suitable meeting point.“ Dolores would be allowed to have the afternoon of Sunday, December 27th to spend with some of her children and grandchildren.

The third part of A Christmas Story will be devoted to that day. It can be found on the page entitled simply December 27.


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