Betty's Story by Mario V. Farina

We were sitting in the living room of her modest, but luxurious, home on Forty-fourth Street. I was talking to Elizabeth Wilson, whose picture you see on the cover of this book. We were both members of a dating club, and we had arranged to meet at her home. My name is Daniel Phillips. My wife, Wanda, and I had been married a mere six years before she was suddenly taken away with a fever. The doctors had tried valiantly to save her life, and, sadly they had failed.
Betty's Story by
Betty's Story by Mario V. Farina
We were sitting in facing couches. She had a very somber demeanor. She was obviously as intent in finding a new marriage partner, as I was. We had gone through a brief set of preliminaries, and were now ready to be serious. "My story is not very interesting, Dan," she said. "Let me decide that, Betty," I responded "Began with day one, if you wish." She did so wish. Little by little, she unfolded the story of her life from the day she was born near Oneonta, New York, to the present. This is part of what she told me: "I'm not sure who my real father was. Mom had, at least, five lovers around the time that my real father was in the Service. I remember the boyfriends who came and went. Some were mean and the dirty. One of my mother's lovers forced me to watch pornographic movies while Mom wasn't around. I never told her. It was no big deal. He would put me in front of the screen but he couldn't keep me from closing my eyes. I'm a Leo, and Leo's are resourceful." "I have three sisters and one brother. I'm the oldest of the children. My sisters are Angie, Julia, and Wilma. My brother is the youngest in the family. He's only sixteen. His name is Ted. My father's name is Stan. He's an alcoholic. My mother's name is Mame. She's a slob." "My two older sisters are married. Angie has two children, Julia has one, Wilma is in the Service. Ted lives with mom and dad. I'm not on speaking terms with anyone in the family, and prefer that way. When we're speaking to each other, my family is always asking me to do something for them. When we're not speaking, my life is simpler." "Yes, I know that my children aren't enjoying their grandparents and cousins, but that is one of the penalties that must be paid for peace." "I was married at sixteen. I guess Vernon was like a prince in shining armor who came and took me out of an unpleasant household. He is a good man, but after a few years of marriage, I found that I was not in love with him any longer. I don't know if I ever had been! The cleanest way out, I thought, was divorce. It was the honest thing to do. I separated from him two years ago, and my divorce became final last month." "I'm very friendly with Vernon and his father and mother. Vernon still loves me. Whenever I need something done at the house, all I have to do is call. He'll usually be over within the hour. Vernon works in a machine shop at IBM, so he is not a rich man. Our divorce settlement called for him to give me eight hundred dollars a month for the children's support. We have two little girls. Each month I put this money in the bank for them. I asked him to babysit them while I had this meeting with you." "Being separated is just like being single. Since Vernon and I separated, I have gone out with prominent people; for example doctors, lawyers, and professional men. But there has never been anything serious, so far, with any of them." "One of my dearest friends is Dr. Brandini, who is a surgeon. I think he and I love each other dearly, but not in the way that married people do. The closest we came to a sexual relationship was one time when he invited me to his house. We began making love on the king-sized bed in his bedroom, but at a critical moment, he called me by the wrong name. This ended the incident, and there has never been a recurrence." "Vincent and I sometimes kid about making love. He's Italian. One time, he threatened to make me an Italian by injection. I thought that was very funny!" "Not only have I associated with fine people, but also, with exciting people from the underworld. My builder introduced me to Santo Gordono, who's with the mob. Santo took me to Brooklyn two or three times when he went there on business. I did not ask him what the nature of the business was. It is not healthy to ask a mobster too many questions." "Santo is in the business of providing feminine companionship. There's a better word for this but I sense you'd prefer I didn't use it. He had a string of girls who worked for him. He never asked me to be one of his girls, but in talking to him, I found that those who provide this kind of companionship are people just like anyone else. Some companions make a pretty good living. It's not unusual for a call girl to earn as much as a thousand dollars for one night's work. If I had shown the slightest willingness to be one of Santo's girls, I'm sure he would have asked me to join his family." "I like nice things. The furniture in this house is expensive. The living room and dining room furniture cost over ten thousand dollars. It was made special for me." "It pays to have the best. I go first class. Last year, I spent a week in Montréal staying at the Queen Elizabeth. I'm planning on going to Florida this year, or possibly, to Hawaii." "This house was especially built for me. In our divorce agreement, Vernon agreed to give me all of the money that I had earned while working during our married life. I have a job now. I have worked in department stores and restaurants. The pay wasn't great, but over a period of several years, I had earned over twenty thousand dollars. I used that money as a down payment on this house." "The house isn't quite finished yet. The man who lives next door is a carpenter. He is doing some work for me in the basement. I pay him under the table. It isn't much, but, at least, he doesn't have to report it to the IRS." "As for my future, I want to marry a man, possibly an older man, who I can stand behind. Every great man has a strong woman behind him. I want to be the strong woman behind a very famous man." "My ambition in life is to be happy. I don't know whether I'll find this happiness in or out of marriage. My philosophy is that every person should seek happiness in any manner that it can be found. If this search does not hurt anyone, then any means to achieve happiness is morally acceptable." She paused, and I felt that this was the end of her story. I had found it a very strong, even brutal. It occurred to me that when one is seeking someone with which they can live for the rest of their lives, one needs to select very carefully. It did not take me very long to determine that Betty, though an attractive woman, and probably gifted in many ways, was not the one whom I was looking for. We were together for only a few more minutes. Nothing of any consequence was discussed during that time. She escorted me to the door. "I'm very happy to have met you, Betty," I said. "And I, you!" she responded. "Would you like to have me tell you, how I assess the meeting we just had?" "Yes." "I think I shocked you! and this is the last that we will see of each other." "Betty," I said, "truer words were never uttered by anyone, but I will remember this evening for a long, long time."

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