Chapter VII

It was in juxtaposition to his father that George was compelled to view his mother and the rest of the family. He felt, much like his father must have felt, that he would just rather not deal with them at all. And that, in actuality, they could and would manage better without him most of the time. Furthermore that – once he was apart from them – he, George Packard, seven-year-old boy or 66-year-old retiree from the public school system, could actually be happy.

In 1970, George Packard returned from the Peace Corps. Following nearly three years in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, George had already opted for a different life style. Not that he was a hippie or anything like that, but George definitely understood the “Turn on, tune in, drop out” message. In Guatemala he had lived with real families. Decent, wonderful people of all sorts. Falsehood was not so closely interwoven into their lives’ fabric as it was in the Packard home. The peasants’ first response was generally one of trust. Surely there was horrid cruelty and awful tragedy in life, especially in the world of the poor. But there was no need to seek after it, to chase it down. It was better to avoid evil. Most people knew to be good, to follow the golden rule most of the time.

However, his own family was marked and scarred by his mother’s and his grandmother’s constant scheming. Always they harbored some ulterior motive, something that they were planning. Some scheme. Something that would make them richer and elevate their precious social standing. It meant little for them to lie. The end, usually some sort of social promotion, justified the means for them. And over time nearly any means was permissible. Their goals were the usual ones. They wanted money, prestige, respect. They sought membership in the great American upper class. And, as they were thwarted by the sinking of the great Packard flagship, and consequentially thwarted by their dwindling income, they became increasingly wicked, and more desperate.