This is a sad story. Its also a true story, which makes it even
sadder. The story takes place in the 1970s. My wife Alice and I bought
our first house. It was in the suburbs. It doesnt matter where the
suburbs were because this story was, Im sure, taking place in suburbs all
over the country.
Alice and I had our first child, a son; then our second, another son.
All around us our neighbors too were starting their families. The parents did a
lot of things together. We had soccer, Little League, basketball, swimming and
PTA meetings. We went to many pizza places after games. We also had many
parties. Some of the parties were pretty wild.
The couple who had the largest house on our street and who gave the
biggest parties were Pete and Irene. Pete had political connections and held a
high state office. Irene did volunteer work and arranged their parties. The
couple down the block was Ralph and Brenda. Ralph was an office manager; Brenda
worked part-time as a secretary. Brenda was a stunning redhead. Bill and Marie,
the couple on the corner, had a daughter, a high achiever, and a son who was
moody and troubled.
It was the 1970s. The 1960s had unleashed a lot of forces:
sex (make love, not war), drugs (get high), self-indulgence (do your own
thing). Heres what happened. Pete had an affair with Brenda. His wife
Irene found out and divorced him. Pete moved out of the house but didnt
marry Brenda. Instead, he had an affair with one of his interns and eventually
lost his high state office. Irene stayed on in the house and took up drinking.
Brendas husband Ralph left her. We heard later hed married a
20-year old. Then there was Bill and Marie. When their troubled son became a
teenager he committed suicide. They blamed each other and soon divorced.. Their
high-achieving daughter ran off with a drummer in a rock band. Their house was
sold and we never saw them again.
What about Alice and myself? We had a happy marriage. I had a good
job. Our children were fine. I had a little fling with Brenda.. Why? It was the
1970s. It was in the air. As I told Alice, it didnt mean anything.
But she couldnt forgive me and we divorced. I never remarried and I have
little contact with our sons, who blamed me for the break-up. As I said, this
is a sad story. It was the1970s. It was happening all over.