By Lisa Maliga
It all began in the summer of 1979 …
Sylvia Gardner is a naïve library clerk who lives with her dysfunctional mother in Richport, Illinois. Vivian tells her daughter not to trust men because they only want to use her. After being dumped by her first boyfriend, Sylvia falls in love with an English actor after watching him on a PBS drama. Researching Alexander Thorpe’s life and career for two years, she saves her money so she can visit him in his Cotswolds village. She stays at the Windrush Arms Hotel, soon discovering they share a secret connection.
Complications ensue when Harry Livingstone, the hotel’s drunken proprietor, takes a fancy to the young American. As in her dreams, Sylvia and Alexander get together – but with unexpected results.
In this flashback scene we learn more about Sylvia’s mother.
Her mother would’ve disliked Alexander, even though he was a well-known actor. She would have referred to him as a dissipated old lecher for he was a man. An older man. And of course since he was a man, he wanted to get his rocks off. Vivian feared her daughter would wind up as unhappy as she had been once she got married.
After all, her mother had married an older man—Fred Gardner was almost a dozen years older than Vivian. But after the divorce and the move into the apartment complex, Sylvia found a small beige photo album when moving boxes in the garage. She sat down on a lawn chair and opened it up. A smiling Vivian looked at the camera. It was taken from the waist up and she recognized the canary yellow polyester minidress that her mother had bought back in 1969. It was always worn with white vinyl go go boots. Her dark hair was center parted and hung in loose curls just past her narrow shoulders. Her mom looked a lot younger in that picture. She turned the page and saw a bearded man standing next to Vivian. His long hair was thick and curly. A folded red bandana was wrapped around his head. Who was that man?
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