Maternal Aunt & Grandmother: Leah Mailer & Rebecca Mailer – 1st contact

Maternal Aunt & Grandmother: Leah Mailer & Rebecca Mailer – First Contact


Setting: Home of Leah, Rebecca and Susan Mailer


Leah: Hi, I’m Leah. I’m Susan’s sister, which makes me Lavender’s aunt. No, Susan isn’t here. She hasn’t been around much lately. I think she’s staying with her boyfriend now. Or maybe she went out of town. I don’t really keep her schedule.

Susan works at a bar and makes good money with tips, but she has to work long hours. Sometimes she stays away from home for a few days, but we never worry because she can handle herself. She doesn’t usually have Lavender there with her and they never spend the night out like that—that was a one-time thing.


Rebecca: I’m Lavender’s grandmother. Yes, Susan uses drugs. Marijuana. Other stuff. She started “huffing” as a teen and has struggled with addiction. We can deal with the problem—it’s family business, not the government’s.


Leah: Lavender always stays with us when Susan’s not around. The DCP&P worker said Lavender couldn’t come home if Susan might be here. It’s part of her protection plan. Of course Susan’s going to be here. She lives here, doesn’t she? She’d never hurt the kids. We do miss Lavender terribly and don’t even have a phone number where we can call her. She needs to be with her own people. How can the government come and just take our child? I thought they stopped doing that in the 1950s!

Lavender’s father? He’s at the county jail. Got busted I hear. We don’t see much of him, never have.


  • What are your impressions of Lavender’s family?
  • What are your follow-up questions?