mad in pursuit memoir notebook
DISPATCHED FROM THE intersection of yesterday and forever
1977: Behind the Glory
This photo represents a peak moment for me. In the whirl of suburban news I was an expert on what liberated women had to say about rape. Off stage, I was LIBERATED!
In early November my husband Paul and I had decided to call it quits. He moved out of the house temporarily to give me the chance to pack and move out. It was a beautiful city house with two rental apartments, which I had grown to hate. Paul was all into the householder-landlord thing. I still nursed dreams of being a "cosmopolitan."
My sister Ellen and her friend Eileen visited at Thanksgiving and helped me pack. We had our turkey dinner and wished for the few flakes of snow to turn into a blizzard.
I started wearing red lipstick. It made me feel glamorous, retro, and like I had my mother with me.
At the beginning of December I moved into my 3-room palace downtown. For the first and only time in my life, I went to a movie theater alone, for a second look at "Annie Hall." That movie symbolized my whole life.
Like Alvy Singer, Paul had been a nice guy, encouraging me to grow in every way. Like Annie, I grew right out of needing him.
No break-up is easy. That fall, Paul and I tried counseling but never moved to the couples sessions. My 10 private sessions became all about how to escape being married. His plunged into some area where he didn't want to go, so he said, "Let's just end it." The marriage, he meant.
Telling people was the hardest. My mother was great, of course: 800 miles away but giving me nothing but love and support over the phone. At Christmas, my grandmother Kitty Mom told me I'd chosen the "hard row to hoe" but — having hoed some hard rows herself — she approved.
My Rape Crisis team became my support group. They were at my house in November when Paul's father called and started yelling at me. "Gotta go!" I said and hung up, happy never to speak with the gruff old patriarch again.
Shortly after I moved, Paul's brother called. He didn't yell but he clearly wanted to talk some sense into me. "Gotta go!" I said. What a relief to be out of a family where somehow I was always wrong.
New Year's Eve. I was back from my happy solo trip to St Louis, alone in my little apartment. I was reading Stephen King's "The Shining" and scared the be-jesus out of myself. It was delicious and I was sure that 1978 would be wonderful.
Photo published in 12.29.77 Brighton-Pittsford Post.