A Good Ending for Bad Memories is the story of one family's struggle to remove the long tentacles of its unsettling history, leave the ugliness and its grip behind crumbling in the dirt in order to procure an unencumbered future.
The Macomb family moves to Cairo, Egypt when their father, an educated African American is appointed Attaché to the American Embassy. The story begins in 1958 after the family arrives. As a diplomatic wife, Mother is free of all responsibility. Perfect for an undiagnosed moody beauty with four distinct personalities. Mother spends time with her three children by ushering them into her boudoir so they can listen as she rifles through the ungovernable memories of her childhood and the place she grew up. The trouble is Mother cannot properly remember.
Mother's sifting begins to reveal family history. Somewhere in the past, Mother's great grandmother murdered the gentleman who attempted to take her property. Hidden in the woods is the first ever Negro Kitchen Library built by the single hand of Mother's great grandfather as a gift for his wife. A slave known as "Two for the Price of One," Mother's great grandmother poisoned her usurper's pudding and hid the details of her crime within the ephemera of her own four personalities. Mother has inherited her great grandmother's recipes and her disease. Perhaps she has also inherited its cure.
Mother witnessed something awful on the mountain that broke her into pieces, and she guesses that starting at the beginning is the only way to get to the end. Mother wants to be one whole woman.
All three children begin to show signs of having an inattentive mother and a busy father. Brother, the only boy, creates an all too real imaginary friend, and his sisters attempt to make friends with other little girls though it is clear that for them making friends isn't so easy, especially as foreigners abroad. Right when they all seem to gain a foothold on what might be normalcy, it is time to go.
The family returns stateside, to Washington, DC, business carries their father to Mexico and Mother, who dislikes Washington, DC, insists upon joining him. Mexico suits both parents and neither of them get around to sending for the children, leaving them to finish raising themselves, care for the house and sort through the rubble of their own legacy. Brother runs away and finds his grandparents on the mountain where his mother grew up. The sisters, abandoned by everyone in the family manse, build a life for themselves, spend their time alternately defending and defying their mother until they eventually begin to even resent the notion of even having "parents."
Years later, when a handsome stranger knocks on the door, the sisters jump to the conclusion that their parents have redeemed themselves by specially selecting and sending a husband. Each daughter wants the young man for herself until he makes a
claim, which unites the sisters and together, they compose and execute a plan to rid the house of unwelcome company and keep what they believe is rightfully theirs.