After getting a divorce from my son’s father, I met a few men that I wanted to date. My son’s favorite, far and away, was a man he nicknamed “Joey Good Times.” Joe was a man who decided that the best way to get me to fall in love with him was to cozy up to my son.
I had known Joe only a couple weeks when he had to go out of town for a few days.
Here’s the key to my house. I have air conditioning and you don’t. You and your son can go to my house and play pool and enjoy the cool.
Joe said. My response was:
You hardly know me. You could come home and I could have pulled a truck up and taken all your things.
His reply was one I will never forget:
Those are only things and they can always be replaced.
Wow! Here was someone who had things, but who didn’t worship them. I don’t think he even cared that much about having wonderful things. It seemed to be a way to make life more comfortable for him and his friends.
We did stay at Joe’s house while he was away. When he got back from that trip (and many others) he brought back delightful and thoughtful gifts for my son. One time there was a baseball bat from the Baseball Hall of Fame. Another time there was the offer of a trip to Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame. Many evenings Joe paid for a babysitter and brought half gallons of ice cream with him as he picked me up for our night out on the town.
I planned to re-do my son’s bedroom and Joe was right there to help me make the room fabulous. He helped paint the walls and lay down the new floor (the only time I have ever actually used Geometry in my life). He helped me find an NFL bedspread my son “had to have” and Joe discussed things we needed to make the room perfect.
That summer, I also needed to paint the outside of my house.
I can send some guys over to paint your house.
Joe told me. Things were getting serious…a little too serious for me. I liked Joe. He was a very nice guy, but I was not in love with him. The more he did for me and my son, the more I felt I was getting trapped.
Also, there was the little matter of Joe’s career, which nobody was exactly clear on. Looking back, it does sort of sound like was in the Mafia. He took a lot of trips out of town to “take care of a thing”, lived in a mansion with a lot of security cameras, and when anyone asked him what he did for a living, his reply was:
I’m in the waste management business.
I had seen Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (and Part II and Part III), and the idea of being a mob wife did not work for me. So finally, I sat down with my son.
Don’t you like Joe?
Yes, I like him a lot, but I am not planning to marry him.
I replied. You see my dad had told me when I got a divorce:
For every one hundred men you want to marry, only ten will be nice to your son.
I remembered those words and decided not to re-marry while my son was living at home. While my son missed all the gifts and interest shown by Joe, he was undoubtedly happy to have his mother’s undivided attention.
And to this day, my son always watches Goodfellas when it is on TV, and he likes to jokingly recall how he could have been a “made man.”