Some months after Gunther’s wedding to Christine, in the winter of 1971, I heard through my father that Jack, Gunther’s son, had announced to his father in particular, and to the world at large, that he was gay. I remember shrugging and thinking to myself, “what’s the big news?”
All of us who knew and liked Jack always knew he was gay. He behaved like it and we simply all took this as fact. Obviously what was apparent to me was not so apparent to his father and this is where Gunther should have been handed a super-large volume of King Lear to read and re-read, because at this point in this story and in life Gunther, like Lear himself, was alone in his castle, blind yet with the ability to see.
He had choices but he never chose wisely in the affairs of men. With money he was an A+ student but with love and relationship he failed miserably.
Jack had lost his mother, whom he adored. Now not only was his family disintegrating, but his father married a woman less than half his age, who found Jack the competition.
Jack must have felt completely alone, isolated and in a state of desperation finally told his father that he was gay with the hope of love and understanding.
With Jack’s announcement, I was told that Gunther went berserk. He told Jack that he never wanted to see him again and that he was disowned from his will. Gunther had banished his only child.
With his father’s banishment, Jack moved to Paris, and literally neither I nor anyone in my family has ever heard from or seen him again. I hope he has had a happy life.
Well now, Gunther had really done it. He had killed or forsaken the two people who truly loved him, and he was left with a beauty that only went skin deep.
But this is just the beginning, the prologue of my story. It now twists its way into the Smith family. What started with Gunther could not be contained and once this mighty caravan had started on its journey, it did not stop until all the wreckage was complete.
Until next week…