|what’s the sound of two edies talking?|
Howie was a car salesman.
“He was made for that. He was probably very successful. He was always selling. You walked in our house, he was selling to you.”
His weekends were all about baseball. He played, and then brought all the guys back to the house and years before she was Big Edie, when she was still just Lainie from the Bronx, she would feed them.
“It didn’t matter that I was cleaning the house all weekend, after working all week. He brought them all home, and I was expected to cook for everyone.”
That’s the way things were back then, though.
“Your father wasn’t so lucky. It all changed after I read that book. The one that all the women read and it changed everything. The Feminine Mystique. All of a sudden I was like, I don’t need to do this, but I still did. I always did more than my share. But it changed everything.”
I’m not sure what it changed, other than her awareness, and when you don’t have the strength to change your situation, is changing your awareness necessarily a good thing?
But Howie was her first.
“I went to visit him on the army base, and he got me in his bunk. So, I knew I had to marry him. That’s what you did. You were a virgin until you got married. So I had to marry him. And I thought I’d get to go to Paris.”
She carried calla lilies as her bridal bouquet, her gown decorated with glass bugle beads from her mother’s wedding gown. Howie married Lainie from the Bronx, but kept his girlfriend in Monmouth, New Jersey. Shortly after they were married, he called and said he wouldn’t be home that night. He was spending the night with the girlfriend.
“You stay, and you straighten things out with her, or don’t come home at all. That’s what I told him.”
That marriage was annulled and I was forbidden to ever use anything from my grandmother’s satin flapper wedding gown–that gown now having been involved in two generations of marraiges that ended in infidelity and divorce. My mother has been across all across the United States and Canada. She’s cruised up to Alaska and down to Barbados. She’s been to Ireland, and Greece, and Israel.
She still has not been to Paris.