When I finally fell back down to earth off my lofty perch, I discovered I had grown much, much smaller.
In my rebellious years around college I had pushed the envelope of social values. My hell-raising – such as it was – was part of my generation’s struggles in the name of civil rights, anti-Vietnam war, feminism and gay rights. I also directed energy to organizing migrant grape pickers in New York State – nothing to do with the more famous California grape workers group; college professors at CUNY as a member of the negotiating committee of the first union-CUNY contract; and hospital social workers at NYU on behalf of my then-wife’s employer Local Union 1199. Eventually all of the causes got melded into routine American values. I had solid proof my vision wasn’t completely out of whack.
For four plus years – from the moment the guy in the elevator served me with divorce papers to the one note funeral oratorio of our son’s apartment door slamming behind me – my life was brimming with optimism. Futurist talking heads convinced the world that women and men of tomorrow will not be like women and men of the past. Women in droves were already abandoning their aprons and vacuum cleaners to venture into the world of jobs and careers. It struck me as more than plausible to expect men to stake out new territory too. It seemed inevitable that the world would be making room for a brave new kind of Father. I invested all my chips on that bet.