Spring semester at the university, our last few months of close togetherness. I have fond memories of George and Marie in those last few months of idyllic bliss. They were a favorite couple in the community of the scholars and engineers. George would graduate as an electrical engineer and find his way into computers during the early years of development. He had a knack for such engineering diversity. Marie was the typical coed, studied French, drama, and art history. Hers was a fine arts degree and had much to recommend her to the world of curator to museums and other preservationist institutions. I think had she followed the social sciences they would never had dated. Their wedding came that June, soon after graduation and on the start of George’s first job in corporate America. As luck would have it, he started at Honeywell when General Electric had bought them and was pushing to become the next IBM. New York would agree with them. Marie found a spot on the staff of a minor museum assisting the curator in the 18th century art collection. She would start to put her stamp on the world of curators and important collections. I had the honor of being one of the ushers at their wedding. And it was a grand affair since Marie’s parents, while not exactly millionaires, were well enough off to provide a lavish but dignified affair. In other words, they didn’t go broke marrying their daughter off.
My own career would start off with fulfilling my obligation to Uncle Sam and being commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army where I would see a part of the world most individuals never wanted to visit. But that was neither here nor there. I kept up contact through the years with George and Marie in one way or another. After all, I was more acquaintance than intimate friend. Still, one likes success stories and the pair hit it off with the world and the world smiled down upon them. Their first child, a son, named aptly George Junior, was born and there after, a year later came a daughter named, you guessed it, Marie, except she didn’t get the Junior suffix. Meanwhile George had left Honeywell before it’s demise as a computer manufacturer and worked for IBM. I would think the first hint of difficulty came when they left of San Jose California and the Cottle Road IBM complex in south San Jose. I had tried my hand in obtaining suitable employment for a liberal arts student in New York City but my military record worked against me and I found myself on the west coast, San Francisco to be exact, working for Brown-Foreman as an apprentice editor. It was grunt work, to be sure. But the work was interesting and the publications were impressive, one could learn a lot reading manuscripts, both fiction and non-fiction.
Meanwhile there wasn’t much culture in the south bay. Even Palo Alto was a backwater in the art world. But Marie had found a position at the De Young Museum of Art in Golden Gate park. I had an apartment on Jones Street and the two would sometimes come up for a night on the town and stay with me. We might talk about the latest museum acquisition or the most recent advance in chip development for computers. Somehow I was drawn into their twin orbits of influence and found the conflicts subtle at first. Then George jumped into the new micro computer world and first went to Commodore and then to Eagle Computers in Santa Cruz and finally to Apple. His world became one of long excessive hours and over work. By that time Marie had taken her own apartment in the city. The kids were shuttled left to be raised by nannies and house keepers. Me, well, I was no longer a boon companion although I must day in Marie’s defense that she regularly sent me invitations to exclusive galas and art showing that many a middle class connoisseur would envy.
By this time George had bought a place in Palo Alto and provided a more stable environment for his son and daughter, not that they didn’t have issues. And he had gained status in the social world first as a chief engineer and later as a junior partner. the money was rolling in and could be spent lavishly buying some are, funding some artistic works or social endeavors. Marie was still part of this partnership but I could see the distance that both maintained towards each other. In some ways George was encroaching upon Marie’s territory. Money bought not only entrance into her world but a bit of power to affect the art world. After all, it’s the funding of the modernist art that allows the expression of the ultimate hoax upon the masses. I began to hear of Marie’s dalliances and George’s conquests. I used to wonder why it was a dalliance in Marie’s case while George was viewed as the conquistador. Not that it really mattered as I saw them drift apart.
Therefore I was surprised when George starting to invite me out to functions and began sounding me out as to his marriage, not that he put it that way. George has acquired a bit of sophistication when it came to describing his marriage. At least he didn’t treat me as an idiot. What had begun as the perfect marriage was now headed to become the perfect divorce. “Bill, the thrill is gone from marriage. Now I would agree that one can never recapture one’s youth but we seem to have drifted apart to the point of no return. I’ve tried to be a good husband and father but things just aren’t working out. I mean we’re civil, but that’s not a happy home, if you know what I mean. Something happened along the way and yesterday was all we have. What used to be right is now wrong and I don’t understand why.”
Now me, well, I’m just a lower middle class income kind of guy. In the marriage market I am one of the marked down bargain basement clearance items. that is my lot in life and will be as long as I have little value to sell as a BA. Lately I have been indulging in the art of fiction and maybe, just maybe I’ll write some fiction that will pull me into even a minor providence. that is my lot in life and I accept it. But George, the earth shaker, has trouble figuring out what life is about. So I say, “George. you tow have been drifting away from each other for a very long time. each of you never considered that the other wanted prominence in life. Ever so slowly your separate egos have been butting heads until one day it shows. Now you want words of wisdom from me. I kept hearing a particular tune in my head: “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty girl your wife. From my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you.” I was going to explain that to George but I thought not.
The fact is, they started out in love and then they each found new ways of thinking and looking. What else are we to report?