Sunday, April 07, 2019

The Trails and Tribulations Of The Generation of ’68- I’m Going Away My Own True Love

The Trails and Tribulations Of The Generation of ’68- I’m Going Away My Own True Love

By Sam Lowell

Lana Jamison had been frustrated for most of her twenty-eight young years. Frustrated by her whole past, her past that included a serious bout of a childhood where she was not listened to by her parents, was treated like a dishrag, was told to be silent and like it by her tyrannical father and her go-along-with father mother. Had spent years in therapy after college trying to get to the bottom of what that did to her psyche and had come up with few good clues as to how to proceed with her life without feeling she had to look over her shoulder every time he made a remark that expressed her true feelings. That situation had been made worse by the seemingly inevitable run of boyfriends and lovers who had decided on the basis of her demur presence that they could treat her like a dishrag as well. Didn’t feel the need to expect that she might have an opinion of her own and tried might and main to direct her life for her. That woeful series included one husband, Jeff Mullins, who made an art form of putting her down wherever she had an idea that did not jell with his. That marriage had fallen apart of its own weight after a couple of years when Jeff decided one night to run off with the next best thing that came along and left Lan cold.     

Then Fritz, Fritz Taylor came along, came along like a fresh breeze after that disaster with Jeff. She had met him one when she was feeling lonely at a bar in Cambridge that she would frequent before her marriage to Jeff and where they played country music of all things in the heart of Harvard Square. That country music thing had been a throwback to her days on that silent father farm and he would play the stuff on the radio every day. Fritz’s interest had been more recent, what he called his outlaw country music minute when that genre had a run even in urban areas of this country. The Wheatstack had been playing, a group that he followed which played Willie Nelson covers among others and so he had shown up there one Friday night and kissed fate. He had spied her, so he said, while he was sitting a bit forlorn at the bar since he had recently been divorced from his own didn’t understand him wife. Spied her sitting like heaven’s own angel at  a corner table with her girlfriend, so he said as he talked to her as she passed by his bar stool as she was going to the Ladies’ Room. She had been impressed by his light touch, his giving her room to speak about what interested her, and most of all by the no pressure way that he handled the idea of calling her up once she insisted that she really had to go home with her girlfriend. But gave him her phone number. In response he gave her the most gentle good night handshake she had ever received from a man. And so started their love affair.           

Fritz proved, mostly, to be as advertised that first night, except his own bouts of withdrawal and distance which he told her he had inherited from his own dismal childhood down among the working poor by parents who were way over their heads trying to raise six kids on an unskilled worker’s pay. He called them, he and she, soulmates and that stuck, stuck as true as anything he ever said. Lana could take those bouts of darkness for a while as long as they were mixed in with days of happiness. But that mix had of late fallen on hard times. Many times burned she needed some space, needed room to think things through and so one day she mentioned to Fritz that she wanted to head to California by herself, wanted drive across at her own pace and see the country she had missed seeing all her sweet young life. They battled back and forth on the matter for weeks. Fritz telling her that he would improve his disposition and she, having heard it all before and really wanting to get away, arguing for her space. Finally, one morning out of the blue he gave in, wished her Godspeed and that she should keep in contact with him in case anything happened along the way. The idea being when she left that she would return and they would try to start over again, start their love on a higher plain.                

So one sunny April day Lana took off in her Chevrolet, a car filled to the brim with seemingly every possible thing that she owed. No pioneer woman trekking across the country intrepidly, not Lana. Told Fritz as they kissed good-bye that she would call him when she hit Philadelphia. Would see if she couldn’t find him some nice gift to make him feel better, make him get through their separation better. Fritz said in reply simply that he didn’t want any material gift but that the thought of her speedy return was enough to keep her going. That brought a tear to her eyes but she still insisted that she would get him something. So in Philadelphia she called him and asked him if he wanted a nice gold ring that she had seen in a jewelry store that would be a sign of their friendship and love. Fritz begged off again saying he only wanted her own sweet love.       

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