Tag Archives: trial

8 .The Nanny Diaries Part 2

I flew from Ithaca to San Francisco to testify in court.  I figured the whole thing would be a breeze, as young people tend to think.  Jane told me to dress up for court.  I didn’t have a suit, only my favorite dress from Bloomindale’s. It was a black dress with small white pinstripes, a tight bodice, a V-neck which revealed cleavage inappropriately, a full skirt, and, this being the 80’s, puffy sleeves.

There was apparently another nanny witness, and then there was not one.

I took the stand.  My journal was in evidence.  I told my story.

The lawyer for William asked, “Why didn’t you report what you saw to the police?”

“Um…I didn’t know I should have done that.”  I became flummoxed.

“Have you ever lied to your employers?” Asked a beautiful expensively dressed lawyer for the investment banker.  She looked exactly like a lawyer form Law and Order.

“No, ” I answered with confidence.”

“You didn’t sign this contract that says you were intending to become a permanent nanny?  Is this your signature?”  Oh, God.  She’s destroying my credibility, just like in Law and Order.


“But you knew you weren’t going to quit college and become a permanent nanny, didn’t you?  Didn’t you in fact return to college after the summer was over?”


“Your Honor, I submit this document into evidence.”

And it was over.  I was disgraced. The investment banker had been so conniving, he had made me sign the false statement in case I found out the truth about the abuse.

“You did your best,” said Jane.  “They said horrible things about you on the stand.”  I wish she hadn’t said that.  I still wonder what they said.  That I had left a period stain on the bed?

That tail end of senior year before graduation I became very worried about my future, and couldn’t sleep at night.  I spent nights in the living room of my vegetarian co-op, Marvin Gardens, and watched old episodes of Star Trek, with a muscled gymnast who was also pre-med.  Every night he would tell me he wished he had a girlfriend, but I stupidly didn’t get the hint.

“What about the girl gymnasts?”  I asked, those girls with the perfect thin flexible bodies.

“No, no, I’m not interested in them.”  With his muscles, I  felt  that I was out of  his league.  Of course now I realize that I, too, had possessed a perfect body.

Book smart but not street smart, I graduated Cornell summa cum laude and with honors in all subjects.  I had applied to graduate schools in English, but was rejected from every one.  I was so angry, and felt so cheated, that I actually called the chair of the department of English at Yale and demanded to know why I was not let in.

“Your languages are Spanish and French,” an old man said.  “You did not study Greek and Latin.”  A good ol’ boy.

Then I received a call from Jane.

“Karen, I got a job in Brussels, and I’ll have William for the summer.  Will you  be my nanny?  I’ll fly you out.”


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Filed under humor, memoir