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John Palcewski's Journal

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Good Cheer & Mischief

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Vittoria often said she’d married Giancarlo to get away from the frustrating power struggle with her father. Her father was hard-headed, unwilling to change or to be contradicted by anyone, especially his children. Giancarlo, on the other hand was entirely more managable. He was desperate to please her. Ah, that was more like it, eh?

It was odd. I was interested in their early days together, and I’d ask her about it. But when she revealed certain intimacies and shared experiences I wanted to change the subject.

My picture of their relationship is fragmented. I prefer to think only of the negative things, all the reasons why she ought to dump him. His being a workaholic, for instance. Always on the job in the city, six days a week. And Sundays digging around in his tomato patch, or at his brother’s house watching football, or having two hundred of his relatives over for one birthday or anniversary or another. At which time Vittoria closes the door of her room and will not come out. She doesn’t care. Let them think there’s something wrong with her. She might have played the nice-little-wife game at the beginning, but not anymore. Enough is enough.

And what about Giancarlo’s spying on her when he got the feeling that something was up? Hiring a private detective to find out who she was seeing. Showing up, trying to break down my door, pounding and shouting, until somebody called the cops.

Vittoria’s mother was fond of Giancarlo. Vittoria’s father, on the other hand, was not. Imagine how delighted I was when Vittoria related a brief interchange she’d overheard. “You easily walked into this family,” the old man told Giancarlo. “But you can just as easily walk out.” The old man always thought Vittoria could have done better, and opposed the marriage, until she told him she’d made up her mind and that was it. “A justice of the peace at City Hall will be just as good as a Bishop in a church,” she told him.

I prefer to think that her wedding was perfunctory, something she wanted to rush through as quickly as possible. I can’t imagine her smiling, full of good cheer and mischief. I have to believe she was grim-faced and impatient during the entire ordeal.

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The great art historian Sir Kenneth Clark said that when men and women at a party hie off to their own groups, civilization is thus diminished.

Interesting quote... I am wondering if he meant if the cliched 18th century convention where after a dinner party men go smoke their cigars in one room while the women's sewing circle meets in another... or if he means individual couples go off together, separating themselves from the rest of humanity...

Nothing is so boring as two people in love... they are totally self-absorbed, and do not willingly interrupt their pleasure to take care of the passions of the world.

Any idea which way he was leaning? I'm not familiar with him. Hie may just be a convention on your part, or a clue to the age of his ideas...

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