But Ms. Lindbergh offers an enthusiastic welcome to those who make it. Tousle-haired and wearing lime-green rubber clogs, she skids through the front door of her tiny, red-roofed farmhouse, gripping the collar of a large black Labrador retriever named Dolly.
“Oh dear, she’s trying so hard to be good,” Ms. Lindbergh said, meaning the dog.
Then she announced, “I’m not doing ‘Oprah’ because of the blinking.” She was kidding about “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” but her eye tremors are no joke, the aftermath of surgery last year to remove a benign brain tumor, about which she wrote in her diary: “Heading to New York to have my head examined. Some would say it’s about time.”
Ms. Lindbergh’s famous, much-mythologized parents had many fascinating qualities, but they weren’t known for big laughs.
Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s youngest child, however, has a comedian’s timing and a knack for puns — skills that have served her well in a life that has been buffeted by more than a few zingers. The most recent shocker was the news, nearly five years ago, that her father had not one, not two, but three other families, living in Germany and Switzerland.
“The siblings!” Ms. Lindbergh, now 62, calls them. “Bless their hearts! With us, every 20 years or so there is something that comes out that you don’t expect. Of course, now things seem to be happening more frequently.”
She ticked off the highlights: “There’s the flight, the kidnapping, the war, the speeches,” she said, referring to her father’s anti-interventionist speeches during World War II, “and now, aye yi yi, polygamy!”
Polygamy and other family matters are riotously chronicled in her new book and third memoir, “Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age — and Other Unexpected Adventures” (Simon & Schuster), in which she writes about the view from age 60 and beyond, with one eyebrow firmly arched.
In her first memoir, “Under a Wing,” published 10 years ago, she reflected on an upbringing with her controlling and confounding father, and attempted to tease out the man from the myth. Her second memoir, “No More Words,” was a diaristic look at her mother’s last year, spent here at the farm, after a series of debilitating strokes. Her mother, the author in 1955 of the proto-feminist book “Gift From the Sea,” died, at age 94, in 2001; Charles A. Lindbergh died in 1974, at age 72.
Having dispensed with both mother and father in earlier memoirs, she said, she felt she could cut loose and offer up more of her own life. “This sounds a bit obsessive, but I realized, looking at my files, that the Lindbergh stuff takes up exactly one quarter of the space. I thought, ‘That’s enough.’ ”
Ms. Lindbergh has been in northern Vermont since the 1970s, when she was one of the “hippie flatlanders,” as the locals called them. Her memoir is very much a love letter to the area, and to her husband, Nat Tripp, who is also a writer. They married the day of her divorce from her first husband, Richard Brown, with whom she has two daughters.
“Richard called it our shotgun divorce,” said Ms. Lindbergh, who was pregnant at the time with Ben, now 21, her son with Mr. Tripp.
Ms. Lindbergh and Mr. Brown had lost their own son when he was 2, to complications from encephalitis. “I read somewhere that 95 percent of all marriages fall apart after the death of a child,” she said.
She moved into this house, where Mr. Tripp was living after his own divorce, with her two daughters, two peacocks, a horse, a pony, six sheep and some chickens. When she asked Mr. Brown if he would mind her taking all the animals, he said, “Oh, Reeve, you are the only person in the world who would ask a question like that!”
Ms. Lindbergh is certainly generous of spirit. When she first heard about her father’s European families, she was furious at him, in a “fiery and righteous rage, very comforting while it lasted,” she writes. “Unfortunately, it lasted, in full force, for only about a month.”
Ms. Lindbergh has visited all of her new siblings, and some have visited her. She writes of a picnic with one of the families, and how an elderly guest asked innocently, “So, Reeve, how many brothers and sisters do you have?” After a shocked silence, everyone burst out laughing.
Ms. Lindbergh described her father as someone who was both restless and able to compartmentalize. Still, “I think all the relationships” — meaning with the families — “were real,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about the way my mother and father were partners for such a long time. They were married 45 years, and they must have decided, but not out loud, they must have made a decision that all this was O.K.”
“The Lindbergh family is treating this situation as a private matter, and has taken steps to open personal channels of communication, with sensitivity to all concerned.”
These were Ms. Lindbergh’s talking points, to be repeated to the hundreds of reporters who called when the European families emerged.
She had seen the film “My Architect,” Nathaniel Kahn’s rueful elegy to his own polygamous and mythologized father, the architect Louis I. Kahn. Nathaniel Kahn, she said, knew only the tiniest piece of his father, just like “the siblings.”
“They didn’t have full participation and they weren’t trained, as we were, to handle publicity,” she said, alluding to the storm of attention they received and the discomfort and turmoil they experienced. (Only one of the three families is “out” to the press; the other two prefer to remain anonymous.) “We were trained by our parents to handle the questions, to not give out family numbers.”
In her book, Ms. Lindbergh writes of the useless pieces of information that clutter a mind that has been around for more than a few decades, and in a very funny passage spills out all the unlisted Lindbergh phone numbers. Looking at all of those digits on the page, she writes: “My parents are long dead. The houses we lived in have been sold or torn down, but I have revealed our secret numbers to the world, and still my Lindbergh training whispers to me, Oh boy, are you going to get in trouble!”
She has long been the family spokeswoman, a role she cheerfully shouldered. “She’s the most socialized of all the siblings,” said A. Scott Berg, the Lindbergh biographer. “They are all extremely reclusive and all live in remote places, but Reeve is willing to come out of her shell.”
He continued: “Even before these European families materialized or even happened, Charles Lindbergh was extremely tight-lipped. He never talked about the kidnapping; he never talked about the flight. The children tell stories of sitting in class at school and learning his history and going home to ask, ‘Did you fly from New York to Paris?’ And then you have Anne, who was also extremely WASP-y in her upbringing and for whom emotions were not things you talked about, though you could bare them to your diaries, as she did.”
Reeve Lindbergh and her mother had a special bond, as Mr. Berg noted. Mrs. Lindbergh’s writing shack is here, a minuscule blue clapboard box with red shutters that her daughter trucked up from Connecticut after her mother died.
In the last year of her life, Mrs. Lindbergh lived on her daughter’s property, in a little house designed for her by Mr. Tripp. A burly man with formidable, upswept eyebrows, he loves animals and terrible puns as much as his wife. “Sheep Happens,” proclaims a sign above their kitchen door. A taxidermic rooster is pinned to a wooden plaque that reads, “Pullet Surprise.” (It’s a gift from one of his sons from his first marriage.)
When Ms. Lindbergh’s tumor was discovered a few years ago, she wrote it a poem:
It may have to go, though it’s shown little malice
But if I can keep it, I’m calling it Alice.
(Alice, she writes, was an elderly relative she was fond of.)
Ms. Lindbergh awoke after six hours of brain surgery to find her husband at her bedside.
“Alice doesn’t live here anymore,” he said, and burst into tears.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: April 24, 2008
An article last Thursday about Reeve Lindbergh, a daughter of the aviator Charles Lindbergh, described speeches he gave during World War II incorrectly. The speeches, made after the war broke out in Europe but before the United States had joined it, were anti-interventionist, not pro-Nazi.