CHAPTER 1

Not Everyone Carried Marbles

August 25, 1979

It was hot as hell and Sharon Goldstein knew everyone had to be positively sweltering out back. Her mother was especially intolerant of humidity and boastful that Los Angeles, the paradise that she and her husband had been wrested away from to come here, to Washington, did not make its inhabitants bear such humiliating conditions. ( What about earthquakes, Nana? Vanessa had said yesterday, but Helen had waved her away.) It was only six o’clock and already the cicadas were screaming.

What would you do if you had any skills to do something else?

I’d be an activist, true and blue, like the older characters in my book, but with current concerns. I went to the rally for Planned Parenthood, Title X, in NYC last weekend and listening to all the speakers, I thought, that is what I should have been. But of course, I am only a little bit that. And of course, just as when an attorney says she should take two months off to writer her novel, well, it takes a little more than wishing.