My mother is one of those people whose entire lives probably peaked in high school. She was Homecoming Queen, Founder's Day Princess, Teen Miss Lyncomb County, you name it. Glory Jean McKean was pretty, perky, and popular- the town darling.
Throughout her years of treating the town of Wheaton as her own personal kingdom, Glory held a string of boyfriends, the county's best and brawniest. However, none of them could compare to the boy next door, local football hero Kirk Harrison. They were the quintessential high school sweethearts; the captain of the football team and the head cheerleader, voted "Sweetest Couple" in the yearbook, and the king and queen on prom night.
Unfortunately for Glory, high school couldn't last forever. After graduation, Kirk moved on to college on a football scholarship. Glory, who lacked both grades and money, had to settle for part-time classes at the local junior college. That's when, as my Grandpa so appropriately puts it, "Glory fucked it all up."
Like all small town beauty queens, Glory had big city dreams. She had no plans of staying in Wheaton. Glory was counting on Kirk being recruited to the big leagues, and she was to go along for the ride. Kirk on the other hand, didn't have the stomach for college football. He wanted a long engagement, to go to medical school, and for the both of them to stay in Lyncomb County.
Needless to say, Glory wasn't satisfied. She dropped out of her classes quickly enough, but during her three-month stint at Lyncomb County College she became very close with Walter Olkewitz, who had been one of her old high school admirers. Long story short, they got drunk off of wine coolers one night and slept together. Glory found out she was pregnant soon after.
To my grandparents there was no other possible solution: Glory and Walter had to get married. Glory was more than reluctant. Walter had to be convinced. Grandpa was almost arrested for chasing him down a neighboring town with a rifle before Walter agreed to the union. The wedding occurred several days later in the mayor's office. My grandmother was drunk. Glory threw up in her wedding dress. Walters was so stoned that he spelled his name wrong on the marriage certificate. Grandpa was the only calm one, but he would fondly tell me later that he kept a revolver in his suit jacket during the ceremony.
Being poor and pregnant, Glory and Walter didn't exactly get off to a good start. It didn't improve when Cade, my older brother, arrived seven months in. Whatever attraction there was between them faded in the days before their wedding, but I guess it wasn't totally dead since Glory still got pregnant with me a few years later.
By the time I was six years old, Glory had enough. In the middle of the night, she snuck away on a bus to Wheaton with a suitcase in one hand and me on the other, leaving behind Cade and my father. Walter didn't try to get her back. They got divorced, settled custody, and avoid speaking to each other at all costs.
Glory's timing was impeccable, and not entirely unpremeditated. Kirk, who not once begrudged her for cheating on him with another man or getting pregnant, was also in the process of divorcing his own wife. As he says, they never stopped loving each other. They married two weeks after Glory and Walter's divorce was finalized.
So Glory still got her happy ending. Or did she?
After all, she's still stuck with me.