Reflections

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. . . from a man with wooden teeth …

Part Three: My suffering, silent partner.

(Editor’s note: Part one explained my careful business planning; part two, how my publishing dream soured once again on the eve of my wedding.)

I should explain that my partner remains silent in part because I am largely responsible for this entire misadventure. She was young and overly impressed with me. The move, the newspaper, even the marriage had been my ideas. She was entirely onboard for the first two. The marriage gave her a pause. She’d have preferred an informal arrangement, but I reasoned that since we were in business, matrimony would provide solid case law should a division of property become necessary. She assented under the conditions that she keep her name, and not be forced to wear the white veil of virginity.

More will be said about the veil, but seeing as my partner did not want her identity tied to mine, I’ll simply describe my thinking during the six-hour drive from Eureka to Sacramento, through dark Redwoods and windy mountain passes, past oaks growing in the cleavage of grassy hills, and on to the flat Central Valley, and say that by the time the Sacramento skyline came into view, I had realized that paying to print the newspapers in my trunk had only thrown good money after bad.

… when one grandiose scheme comes to naught, I’m soon chasing the next flimsy bubble …

I wasn’t crushed. I’ve always been possessed of a manic energy and when one grandiose scheme comes to naught, I’m soon chasing the next flimsy bubble. But I was deeply, deeply ashamed to disappoint my darling yet again. She’d never wanted to abandon our original quest. It was me who’d lost his nerve. She’d wanted the deal with Rama to work, and in an aftershock of foolishness, I’d grasped at this absurd straw. She had adopted my dream and now I’d stolen it from her twice.

We had to make our living by setting other people’s words into type. And the good news was that we were making the typesetting business work. We had only one machine at the time, and only she knew how to use it. But I hustled up business, had a flair for graphic design, and was good at cut and paste in the days when layout was tactile.

But when I reached Sacramento, I had no chance to discuss any of this. I was swept up into preparations for a wedding that didn’t quite live up to the promise of till death do us part but started with a bang and lasted 35 years. And when it dissolved, clear case law did minimize the financial fallout (to be continued).

(This is part three of a story I first published in November 2006. It appears here in an edited form.)

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