Ah, the store, the store, the goddamned store. But at this early stage of the marriage, I did not have intimate knowledge about Stewart’s Market, the family business. It was a grocery store in Moraine, a small rural community about fifty miles northwest of Los Angeles. John’s father opened the store during WWII, and then John took it over in the early 1950s after he decided pro football was a dangerous game where he could get seriously hurt. And so, he became a butcher instead.
But Stewart’s Market became more than a store; it was John’s political base, as he stood in his white apron behind the butcher counter and talked politics to the district attorney or county supervisors who came to him, seeking his sage advice. It was behind the butcher cases where he evolved his business from that of a small grocer to a wholesale meat distributor, and finally to a highly-respected caterer.
I opened my mouth to protest, but what could I protest? I equivocated. He liked parties, the cost didn’t matter, and the store would pay the bill. He was my husband and this is what he wanted. I was the obedient wife, just as I had always been the obedient child. I wanted to be a good wife to this second husband, caring and supportive. I still felt the sting that my first marriage had failed and to my mind that was because I had exhibited a streak of independence by going back to school and becoming a newspaper reporter. My sons had paid dearly for that desire by rarely seeing me as I often worked 12 to 14 hours and they were handed off to day care centers and babysitters. But through this new marriage, I hoped to make it up to them
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