For what reasons might the mother have not saved her circus costume or other souvenirs from her days as a trapeze artist in "The Leap"?

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The narrator’s mother, Anna, has not kept any “sequined costume, photographs, feathers or posters” from her days with the Flying Avalons. This could be because of the big tragedy that happened many years before, in which Anna lost her first husband, Harold Avalon, and her unborn baby. It all happened...

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The narrator’s mother, Anna, has not kept any “sequined costume, photographs, feathers or posters” from her days with the Flying Avalons. This could be because of the big tragedy that happened many years before, in which Anna lost her first husband, Harold Avalon, and her unborn baby. It all happened one June afternoon, during a performance that featured quite a number of acts, even though there was a storm brewing. The audience was first entertained by the White Arabians of Ali-Khazar, followed by the Mysterious Bernie and the Lady of the Mists. The Flying Avalons, consisting of Anna and Harold, came next to perform the “blindfold trapeze.” Nobody noticed the “gathering clouds” as all eyes were on the pair. Just as they were about to conclude their act, lightning struck. The current from the lightning hit the “main pole” so that the big tent was broken and the whole structure came down with Harold. Anna saved herself by tearing away her blindfold when she could not find Harold’s hands, seeing the falling structure. After observing the danger, she reached out for a heavy wire that was still hot from current from the lightning and held on to it until she could be brought down. She was rushed to a hospital, where she lost her unborn baby after a month and a half.

The narrator states that the abovementioned events were so tragic that they made headlines in local newspapers. Also, she notes that neither her mother nor her in-laws ever talked to her about this tragic event. She reads all information about the affair from the local papers.

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The mother's not having kept her circus costumes and paraphernalia indicates, perhaps, her desire to possess nothing to remind her of the great tragedy of having lost her husband and her role as a circus star. Also, after this tragedy, she began a new life, so she may not have wished to look backward.

After the long months of recovery from her loss, burns and broken arm, Anna of the Flying Avalons ceased to exist. Instead, having fallen in love with her attending physician, who opened new worlds for the lifelong performer by teaching her to read, Anna made an "exchange":

I wonder if my father calculated the exchange he offered: one form of flight for another. For after that, and for as long as I can remember, my mother has never been without a book.

While she does not keep her things from the circus, what Anna does retain, however, is place. For, after she was married to the physician, they moved onto an old farm that he had inherited. While he found life in this small area "constricting," Anna insisted that they remain there after the baby she was carrying did not survive her fall. This first child of Anna's is "buried around the corner, beyond this house and just down the highway."

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