Back when divorce sucked

13 Oct

Nowadays we get divorced on the third date. But back in the 1970s, it was actually a fairly traumatic and identity-breaking epoch in the life of a child. While my parents actual divorce was fairly boring and my life did not change all that much, it was still quite the stigma to bear in elementary school when only Josh Greenstein and I had divorced parents (which somehow made the other kids assume we had to be friends; he WAS a good kickball player). Then the 1980s started winding down and divorce hit the like the Plague in a small, rat-infested town in the Middle Ages full of folks who greet each other by licking each other’s eyes. But let’s go back to that more innocent time and explore, courtesy of feeling-monger Terry Berger, how divorce could turn someone into Nicole Ritchie. But with a healthier percentage of body fat and better hair.

It feels like when your parents are lying on lawn chairs and you're stuck in the middle and the page is torn. I think I might have stolen that from a Tori Amos song.

It feels like when your parents are lying on lawn chairs and you're stuck in the middle and the page is torn. I think I might have stolen that from a Michael Jackson song. Or maybe that was Tori Amos...?

Thank you, Terry Berger. You have once again provided us with an earnest yet creepy attempt to help kids cope with their increasingly difficult worlds that will only be mocked. So if it weren’t bad enough that this poor girl looks like David Carradine, her folks won’t even touch lawn chairs anymore. Her dad just sits on a plasticy piece of outdoor furniture with dress shoes on. Her mom won’t even look at them because all she can think about is how she wants to express herself through macrame but since it’s 1970something in the suburbs, all she can do is read “Wifey” and seethe in between cooking pot roast and ironing brown sheets.

Divorce is very dramatically lit. I think Ms. Berger watches waaaaay too much Bergman.

Divorce is very dramatically lit.

When your parents get divorced it feels like starring in “Cries and Whispers.” And your dad wears ugly sensible slacks causing your mom to make a total fakey frowny face at him while you watch crouched in the darkness under an ugly picture of flowers that probably symbolizes the blossoming and ultimate fading of love’s bloom. And your dad is so dense he doesn’t even know someone is standing right next to him!

Man, they got married at such an ugly synagogue.

Man, they got married at such an ugly synagogue.

When your parents get divorced it feels like you suddenly notice how freaking OLD they look in their wedding pictures and no wonder they want to split now while either of them stands a chance at getting a date.  Wow, her dad looks like he doesn’t know what hit him…or like he just got bar mitzvahed.

Well, I'm sorry you look like your dad. It's not my fault you got that flat hair.

Well, I'm sorry you look like your dad. It's not my fault you got that flat hair.

When your parents get divorced it feels like “Welcome Back, Kotter” just got cancelled and you got your period and your attempt at a Dorothy Hamill hair-do failed and your mom won’t buy you a pair of hot pants and you have what looks like a giant pearl button on the fly of your pants for no good reason. Mom is getting really good at guilt-inducing faces. That should get her some great alimony and conflicting sympathy/resentment from her daughter for years to come.

The hottest Xmas gift of 1977: The Johnny Rotten Baby Doll.

The hottest Xmas gift of 1977: The Johnny Rotten Baby Doll.

When your parents get divorced it feels like … well, it feels like this: the kid version of staying all day in your stained sweatpants and Disney souvenir t-shirt from 10 years ago (when you were happy) with nothing but a bottle of Malibu, Little Debbie snack cakes and Tyra to keep you company. For days on end. The sun comes up and you watch it make its way across your sad little apartment until it sets again. Repeat.
 
 
Ewww, just ewww. Please bring the little girl from "I Have Feelings, Too" in to off that dude.

Ewww, just ewww. Please bring the little girl from I Have Feelings, Too in to off this nasty dude.

When your parents get divorced it feels like your mom develops the worst taste in men, dating the kind of “exciting” jerk she never dated in high school because she followed her mom’s advice and went with someone safe, like your dad. So instead you have a stupid high schooler in your house instead of a mom. And she dates total tools with hairy arms who look like aging porn stars. And why oh why does she bring him home and look at him like she’s drunk on pina coladas and he’s the best thing she’s seen since Burt Reynolds did that shoot for “Cosmopolitan”? Damn, I will NOT end up like my pathetic, stupid mother. (Actually, yes, you will. This divorce has just statistically decreased your chances for successful, satisfying relationships. Maybe you should try hooking up with David from Stepchild? You two can be crazy together.)
 
She starts a British punk band in the next photo.

She starts a British punk band in the next photo.

When your parents get divorced it feels like this weird white lady named Terry Berger asks you to pose artfully while she photographs you expressing your feelings. Except she’s having trouble getting the angle and the lighting just right here, so you have to hold your leg up and pretend you’re kicking a door for like 30 minutes. And even though you are 10, that’s still hard to do. Dear lord, why did I let my parents document our painful, private life for publication? I’ll never get a date in high school. I’ll be that girl who was in that book with her crazy parents.

 

I am now 100% convinced Terry Berger was married to an Upper West Side therapist whom she recommended to her models. The therapy bills paid way more and are way more reliable than royalty checks  any day.

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One Response to “Back when divorce sucked”

  1. HRD October 29, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    That doll is going to give me nightmares.

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