This is a start to a memoir I need to write. It is more fiction than anything else. I don’t really know how everybody thought. I just looked at their world and my place in it.
I believe I shall call my deceased ex-wife by the name she was known by, not the pseudonymous initial A. Her name was Ayer; that was her middle name actually. She was of New England stock, an improper Bostonian, influenced by the anarchistic Sixties, where the children of Old Money embraced Marxism, drugs, fornication, contraception, and if need demanded it, abortion. There was always altruism to camouflage their selfishness. Then again I guess we all practice such a concealment.
I thought of her this morning, while sitting on the porch in the early cool of the summer’s day. We often spent summer mornings outside. She would smoke her cigarettes, Benson and Hedges Ultralight 100’s. I would be smoking a pipe from time to time. We would be drinking coffee. More than likely, we would be hung over, especially if we were on vacation. We talked about what? Politics, art, music, gardening, food? In retrospect, I think we were both looking for things we had in common, besides our love for sex. Food, I guess, won out. We both liked to cook. I liked to eat. Gluttony is the respectable vice of the Protestant South.
There was to those summer mornings, a timelessness and a pointlessness. We fancied ourselves as serious people, sitting there as change shook that world apart. I don’t think we ever really grasped what was going on. There were still factories in America. It was during this time that the executives and financiers were planning the removal of manufacturing and its jobs, all with good reason, that reason being profit, expressed as dividends in the trust funds. Thus the summer days at the shore could last another season. The Bloody Marys and the gin & tonics would continue to be mixed. The sailing and the accompanying and endless chores would give the men a sense of feeling useful. The boat would be the evidence of where the money went. They could look with pride at their excess.
It was a time to be White, without the guilt.That vote for a Democrat would be their penance. Affirmative Action, Busing, Nuclear Disarmament, Birth Control. There was a plan to fix the world. And these patricians would do the planning and the fixing. Woodrow Wilson would live on forever.