LOVE FROM THE ASHES OF WAR
Synopsis of Love from the Ashes of War
Sent to an internment village after her escape from Vienna, Giulia Perlman and her two daughters find themselves in southern Italy, relegated to a small mountain town, where life remained mired in the eighteen hundred.
Giulia is worried about the relatives she left behind as well as her husband, Jacob, when she is swept off her feet by Salvatore Vittolo, sojourning in the same village. Their romance becomes serious and Sal commits himself to stay with Giulia through the end of the war. At one point Sal induces Giulia to escape with him to Naples, where the experience the four day uprising, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the liberation by the American 5th Army.
Sal stats up a wine bottling business, acquires a partner and when peace is finally declared, takes the family to Sicily to meet his parents and siblings.
During their stay, when Giuliaís religion is brought in the open, a religious hostility erupts between Sal and his siblings. The confrontations continue even after Salís departure from Sicily. Sisters, brother and spouses continue their effort at dissuading Sal from marrying a Jewess including the recruitment of their monsignor and their bishop who threaten Sal with excommunication.
The family feud becomes untenable and Sal suggests them leaving Italy. He sells his portion of the wine business to his partner and together with Giulia and her girls the make plans to emigrate. After exploring the choices they focus on moving to Vienna, where the girlsí father, who was liberated from a German concentration camp, also lives.
The difficulty Sal encounters in learning a foreign language, are insurmountable, creating more friction between the two lovers. They talk about returning to Italy when, by a casual phone call, Sal learns about his fatherís death. He flies back to Sicily to be with his mother and during his stay realizes that his sisters will not stop in their effort to stop him from marrying Giulia. He stays absent, reunite with Giulia, who realizes things have changed. She enrolls the aid of a rabbi but Salís religious upbringing reawakens and he goes back to Sicily for a temporary stay.
What was supposed to be temporary extends to six months. Sal letters become less and less frequent as well as the messages are less amorous. He does provide Giulia with a monthly check to meet her expenses in Vienna.
Sal return to Vienna Giulia assumes to be his decision to separate himself from his siblings, instead the rude awakening is that he has come to break up with her.
Several months elapse when Giulia meets a young man at a party given by her ex-husband. The young man courts Giulia and gives her the moral boost she needs. She falls in love, not just with him but with his family as well,
It is 1949, all of Giuliaís searches for her mother and sisters have been in vain and when her new love asks her to marry him, she grasps at the chance to have a family again.
Sal learns of pending marriage and has a change of heart. He wants her back and is offering to marry her now. He travels to Vienna twice and threatens to interfere with her marriage.
Back in Sicily, realizing that Giulia is no longer his, shows moments of mental instability. He vents against his sisters creating a mad seen during which he threatns everyone with a long kitchen knife.
Seven years have elapsed when Giulia receives a letter from Salvatore. It contains confession about his weakness, his love for Giulia and her daughters and a veiled message of his impending suicide.
THE ADORABLE BASTARD
Synopsis of The adorable Bastard
Nothing could have prepared Stanley Blackwood Wilder for the events that would erupt on this day, a day when he had foreseen only peace and quiet, a day he thought he could spend on his schooner with his wife.
At his office of S.B.W., a company he founded and nursed to success, he scanned through his phone messages. Nothing that couldnít wait until he saw the message left by a Jackie.
Could this be the Jackie Sullivan who had been in his thoughts since they had parted some nine years earlier? He returns the call. It is the same Jackie. His usual calm has evaporated. He cannot think rationally and, against his better judgment, agrees to a meeting with her. He speaks to his secretary who is also his confidant. Perhaps he should cancel his luncheon with Jackie. He is married now. He wonders whether their passion of years ago would rekindle if they met. What a disaster that could be. That is not the way he was brought up. Definitely he must cancel his meeting with Jackie.
* * *
Through flash backs, the next chapters take us back to 1952, when Stan, with friends, drives to Miami Beach for a week-end vacation. Walking on the hot sand, Stan finds relief on a young womanís blanket. They meet and share a dinner that night. It has to be ďDutchĒ the woman says, so ďthere will be no expectations.Ē
Before the week -end is over, Jackie Sullivan asks Stan to stay and share her apartment. This sophisticated, worldly woman of twenty-six has fallen in love with the handsome, intelligent but naive twenty-two-year college graduate. For four years they live together sharing an idyllic relationship until Jackie, willing to give up her modeling career and the traveling, demands on getting married.
Now twenty-six, Stan is frightened by the idea of marriage and that fear drives him to splitting from Jackie. Only after he learns, a year later, that Jackie has gotten married and left town does he realizes his mistake. He knows now that he truly loves Jackie.
* * *
The meeting Stan arranged with Jackie at a Miami hotel creates the atmosphere Stan had feared yet, secretly, had really yearned for. After only one day he realizes that Jackie is the only woman for him, she is his true love and the five months tryst they engage in is the beginning of Stan Wilderís spiraling downfall. His marriage of one year begins to suffer and the unexpected news that his wife is pregnant turns his life into a catastrophe.
Given the choice of spending his life with Jackie or doing what his upbringing dictates, Stanley makes the painful decision of keeping his marriage intact and, for the second time, breaks up with the woman he has told others is the greatest love any man could ever hope for.
Struggling through his marriage, he eventually divorces the mother of his little girl and in the hope of keeping his daughterís affection, he agrees to his ex-wifeís every financial request. Soon after he moves out of their home, Stan has second thoughts and tries for a re-conciliation. He experiences a disaster, his wife is not the person he want for a life partner and realizes why he wanted out of the marriage in the first place..
For endless months, his ex-wife drags out the divorce proceedings purposefully to make Stanleyís life an inferno. Every court hearing creates mental anguish until Stan discovers that his bed is a marvelous escape from reality.
Life as a wealthy single man holds great attraction. Stan is handsome, tall, intelligent and rich. Women are easily attracted to him and he has the pick of the finest
We live through Stanís every moment of loneliness, nostalgia and mental anguish. We share in his love affairs and pain when depression takes over. Finally we rejoice when Stan becomes seriously involved with Tina, a Latin American beauty. Their relationship develops slowly. She was raised in an old world family with old world customs and traditions and slowly they fall in love. Stan is ready to propose. He will do so on his birthday, but tragedy overcomes him. His second true love is killed in a traffic accident days before his birthday.
Life returns to being a torturous existence. He begins squandering his wealth. His health deteriorates. He loses sleep, loses weight, withdraws from everyone including his daughter. Conscious of his inability of making a positive contribution to his own company, Stan resigns his post as CEO.
Karen is his constant companion during those days. An attractive college professor, she is not easily attracted to Stan yet allows his courtship to continue. She finally succumbs to his charm and ease with which he surrounds her. Their lovemaking is almost as passionate as what he had enjoyed with Jackie Sullivan.
Karen shares Stanís burden of the divorce and his endless days as a reclusive in bed. She even becomes the substitute parent for Stanís daughter when he is incapable of leaving the bed. In the end Karen gives him an ultimatum: Either he makes an effort to face life and learns to cope with the divorce or she would leave.
Stan little cares for anything and Karenís departure seems not to affect him. He spends New Yearís Eve alone on the balcony of his luxury penthouse with a full bottle of Scotch as his only companion.
His womanizing begins anew with a fervor he hopes will make him regain his regular energy. His lifestyle makes him ignore his daughter. On every visitation day Stan has other plans, missing his visit and creating a schism between them.
Stan, in a desire of escaping his own unsavory conduct, goes to Philadelphia to spend time with his parents. During that visit, he allows an old school friend to entice him into a homosexual encounter. Stan is crushed by the thought that he is a faggot. He rushes back to Miami where, mentally tortured by that experience, he avoids contact with anyone he knows. Even keeps at a distance the woman, Sabina, he had been seeing steadily for several months. Stan had some kind of illness, he tells her, and needs to be left alone.
Anxious to dispel his new sexual tendency, he visits a gay bar a good distance from Miami. There he meets a young man who expresses Stanís same concerns. They check into a nearby flea bag motel, but that experience crushes Stan even more yet he admits to himself that he enjoyed the experience for the moment. He is frightened by the thought of how Sabina would react if she ever found out. By then Sabina had sold her townhouse and had moved into Stanís penthouse.
Sabina, travels often and is absent for weeks at the time. In Stanís high rise, a man succeeds in drawing Stan to the bed. It is a one night stand, or so Stan thinks, but that relationship persists until the day when Sabina returns unannounced and finds Stan in bed with his male companion. Nothing persuades Sabina to forget and she disappears from Stanís life.
Meanwhile, Stanís fatigue has worsened. The therapist he had been seeing recommends an internist. After running a gamut of tests, the doctor confesses ignorance and suggests some specialists. Stan prefers going to stay with his parents.
In Philadelphia the elder Wilders take Stan to every doctor and every hospital until they pick, as their last choice, the Mayo Clinic. No one seems to name his mysterious illness and the symptoms continue their course.
Stanís life is slowly slipping away. He tells his parents there are two people he would like to see before it is too late; his daughter, by now thirteen, and Sabina. The elder Wilders would have to do the detective work, Stan tells them, since he does not know where to find either.
His father locates Stanís daughter but her mother refuses .to allow him to speak to his granddaughter. The man pleads with the woman. ďHe is dying, Nancy,Ē he says but his ex-daughter-in-law slams the phone down in his ear.
Mr. Wilder does also locate Sabina who loses little time coming to Philadelphia. She arrives just in time to visit with Stan and within hours watch him die.
Stanley Blackwood Wilder was forty-seven when he died in 1978. At the cemetery only his parents, Sabina and two old school friends were there to mourn his passing.