Church Street

Jessie and ZekeJessie grew fast on Church Street. One day she was a colicky baby. The next day she was toddling around in the back yard with Zeke. A day later she was a little person standing up in coveralls under the kitchen table. Pretty soon she was an articulate three-year-old with a good fashion sense for her Barbie doll and with budding anger issues. By and by, Gen moved into the apartment over Becky's head. It wasn't a very good idea, although it must have seemed like a good one at the time.

Gen and her Lesbian partner, Gloria, were fussing with each other. Gen wanted to get away. Becky thought a change of venue would not only solve Gen's interpersonal relationship woes, but would also give Gen a chance to spend more time with Jessie. Gen arrived in Frederick irritated about her inability to resolve (to her total satisfaction) a power struggle with Gloria. She was also depressed over her increasing physical disability. Gen's first act was to project her crappy emotional state onto Jessie, who could recognize and deal with bullshit when she saw it. Gen didn't like Jessie's push-back one bit. Gen couldn't connect with Bob either, so she started in on Becky. It's always best when you're unhappy about your situation to drag as many people down with you as you can.

Becky asked for help. It's been my job to deliver bad news to Gen, which meant that I would get beaten to a slightly less-bloody pulp for it than anybody else would. During the intervention, Gen accused Jessie of being a shit and Bob as being useless and me of "having all the answers." When she blurted out "everybody thinks I'm crazy," I had her. "Nobody thinks you're crazy, I said. We think you're depressed."

Gen was stunned into silence as her psychiatric nursing experience took hold and she remembered that medication makes her feel better. She had come a long way since the days of beating up Dick and torturing her children when she got depressed. The following day she got into counseling. A few weeks later, she moved to an apartment across town. A few months after that, she moved back to Richmond. I was dumbfounded that it had been so easy and that nobody got hurt.

With a degree from Control Data and an expanding market for computer technicians, Becky got a series of private-sector jobs; each with higher pay and increasing supervisory responsibility. Bob's prospects were increasing too. His drinking increased in inverse proportion to his working.