The New Republic, November 2013
It was a happy moment when twelve-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald and his half-brother, John Edward Pic, met up in the streets of New York in 1952. Born in New Orleans two months after his father died, Lee hadn't seen John in the two years since the latter left to join the Coast Guard. "I was real glad to see him and he was real glad to see me," recalled John, who was seven years older. "We were real good friends."
This was August, tourist season, and John took a week's leave so he could show his little brother around the city. They visited the New York Museum of Natural History and Polk's Hobby Shop. They rode the Staten Island Ferry, from where Lee could see the Statue of Liberty. They made a few other excursions, two brothers spending time together.
But the good feeling was not to last—not when their mother got involved. Combative, domineering, and convinced that the world owed her better, Marguerite Oswald was quick to find trouble and push back against even the smallest of slights. After she and Lee moved into a small apartment on East 92nd Street with John, his wife Margy, and their little baby, the arguments quickly escalated. In one fight over the TV when John was at work, an aggravated Lee threatened Margy with his pocketknife and hit his mother.
Later, Marguerite would brush off the violent behavior, just as she always did, saying that "it was just a little knife," but Margy was determined to make them leave. "She didn't like me, and she didn't like Lee," Marguerite claimed. Within a few days, she and an angry Lee packed their bags and moved to the Bronx, causing a split between the brothers that never healed. "I was never able to get to the kid again after that," John said.
Steven makes complex ideas vivid, readable, compelling. He aims to make sense of a complicated, often baffling world--and shed light on the efforts of creative people in myriad fields. As an editor and mentor, he is particularly passionate about helping others become better storytellers. Can he help you?