The lady in the van.....
Our next door neighbors for a time were a bit 'odd'. We thought they were strange when they first moved in. It was about late summer early fall in 1980. Aunt Effie ( the make-up confiscator ) was visiting. When they moved in, it was a lady going through a separation, and the elderly gentleman she kept house for. We'll call them Uncle Fred (physically disabled but working and volunteering) and Louise (lay minister and not working). Louise was separated from Milton. Milton has been, or was, or might possibly have been seeing another woman...Marion. I went to school with one of Marion's daughters. We talked a bit, but weren't really friends after she learned what 'nerds' were and after I learned what 'trashy girls' were. I desperately wanted to be a trashy girl, but Scott Baio, nor Shaun Cassidy would EVER marry a trashy girl!! (Maybe)....I digress....
At any rate, one day Louise showed up crying, tearing at her hair and possibly rending her garments....because Milton had once again shown up drunk. None of us had ever met Milton. Uncle Fred detested Milton. Of course Uncle Fred didn't want Milton to stay, Louise did, Milton did, Mama didn't seem to trust him, I don't think Aunt Effie thought it was a great idea...I just wanted to find out how to be trashy.
We heard the following story from Milton.....loosely re-told....Milton broke up with Marion because he quit the poison (drinking) and realized he deeply loved Louise. Marion and a couple of guys slipped him (Milton) a Mickey and loaded him into a van. They forced him to drink liquor against his will (recovering alcoholic) and tried to brainwash him into continuing to date Marion. Milton was mentally too strong for them, they realized it was useless to even continue trying so they dropped him off in the driveway, drunk to reconcile with Louise.
Uncle Fred pointed out that Milton came to realize this deep abiding love after he (Uncle Fred) bought the house next door and offered Louise a job cooking and keeping house for him. He paid her little, but gave her room and board. He felt that Milton just wanted to move in and live off him.
Louise felt that all God's children deserved the benefit of the doubt.
Milton had a bit of a wandering eye and was also somehow 'disabled' and hopelessly unemployable because no one in the town would give him a job, because Marion bad mouthed him, because he needed to help Louise, because he lost his license driving drunk, because, because, because....fit neat excuse in the box.
Uncle Fred couldn't really walk, didn't have full use of his arms, was visually impaired, yet rode his adult trike a mile or so to town every morning about sun up. Swept a parking lot with a push broom, then rode back home again. He was a widower and played organ at a local church. He did volunteering and was a wonderful person. He didn't trust Milton because he considered him free-loading and shiftless.
Uncle Fred gave Milton the evil eye and the cold shoulder as long as I lived there. So, another 5 years...
Milton stayed with Louise until she died as far as we know...never again dating the lady in the van.