After my arrest at IBM in May 1972, and her parents’ ultimatum about me, my girlfriend the Okie, inexplicably in retrospect, ended up living at my parents’ home. Sometime during my freshman year in college, my parents and sisters had moved from the tiny house on Gaines Street in Binghamton, to the much more roomy house on Ackley Avenue in Johnson City, the next municipality over. She stayed in my sister Leslie’s room while Leslie spent six weeks with our great aunt Charlotte and some of Charlotte’s siblings. (Leslie should write about those adventures; I would post them here.)
From the money I had made working the year before, I had lent my parents some cash for the down payment on the house, the first one they ever owned. The house where I grew up was owned by my maternal grandmother, a source of tremendous ego irritation for my father, I’m sure. (My loaning my parents money became some odd big deal to my sisters when they found out only a year or two ago, and I’m still puzzled by it.)
The Okie and I were young (19) and very much in love. At some point, we broached the subject of getting married. My parents thought it was a terrible idea.
So the Okie and I went to Pennsylvania, just across the border from Binghamton, got a blood test, and got a marriage license in Susquehanna, PA. Baby sister Marcia made the cake, and with sister Leslie, and my friends Carol and Jon present, we got married by a justice of the peace.
Yes, we WERE too young, and fights over money and religion meant that, a little over two years later, the Okie moved to Philadelphia by herself. To this day, I’m still not 100% sure why.
The failure of this marriage put me into a major funk for the next three years, longer than we were together. One of the worst days, shortly after our divorce became final, was when she let me know she was getting married again.