Happiness Key: Tracy’s Story, Part Three

Thumbnail image for Happiness.jpgAnd here’s the final portion of Tracy’s story.  Next week, Janya’s turn!

Tracy’s Story, Part Three

I have asked myself a time or two if I would have ditched CJ so fast if I’d really loved him. This is a back-asswards way to figure out if you love somebody, but I think love had too little to do with my marriage. CJ was a man who could have chosen anybody, but he chose me. Of course now I realize this was not exactly true. There were probably lots of women who saw beyond the flash and dazzle of CJ’s life to the cell being swept and readied for him. Wiser than me, they declined his attentions. These were more mature women. These were not young women playing at a career while Barney and Denise DeLoche guided them down the path to unimaginable riches and prestige.

Have I mentioned that my parents also succumbed to CJ’s charms and after the wedding, they transferred the bulk of their investments to CJ’s expert ministrations? Or that Barney will now have to continue straightening teeth and perfecting bites well into a future he planned to spend on the golf course, while Denise was forced to sell the family home in Bel-Air with its view of Catalina Island and move to a bungalow in Del Rey? Or that these days, despite their divorce, my parents are united in the belief that I somehow caused their downfalls?

So presently I am persona non grata in Southern California. Barney and Denise are hoping that if I stay away long enough, memories will grow fuzzier and people will move on to the next scandal. There is never a lack of possibilities in greater LA.

Months have passed since the divorce decree, and I haven’t given much thought to what I learned from my aborted marriage. I’m not a navel gazer, unless I’m debating whether to have it pierced. I’ve always thought that if I have to spend time ferreting out the meaning of the things, then the lesson was pretty much lost. I’ve always been a fan of simple in clothing, jewelry, manicures and philosophy. So here’s what strikes me about my past.

I was raised to value appearances over substance, but I was not sufficiently warned that appearances could be deceiving.

Loving the way someone made me feel about myself was not the same as loving them.

Loyalty isn’t earned by gifts or social standing, but perhaps I don’t have what it takes to be loyal under any circumstances, anyway. I’ve ditched my husband and I’m not suffering a lot of guilt.

I was shortchanged in the parents department.

Being booted out of my former life leaves a sinkhole in my present, but if I don’t stand too close to the edge, I don’t think I’ll fall in. I got through the divorce without much support. Except for a stalwart few, my friends seemed to fear contamination, or just as bad, being pulled under by my neediness. And even those who were genuinely sorry expected me to get through this the way I’ve gotten through everything. By paying other people to take charge. So I was left alone to fumble my way through it, nearly alone. And in the fumbling I learned one last thing.

In the midst of the million useless details I was taught in my childhood, there were a few valuable lessons. There must have been, because in the end, I managed to get through the worst parts of the divorce and the dismantling of everything CJ and I had built, all by myself. I survived. The fact that I could was a revelation.


  1. Sandi Thomas on June 27, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    After taking the quiz I found out I am most like Alice. I am a quilter and really enjoy listening to books while sewing. Just found out that your books are now being released on audio and can’t wait to add them to my library.

  2. Emilie Richards on June 27, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Alice will have her own chance coming up to tell you about herself, so watch for her here. And hope you enjoy the audio version. I like the reader’s voice.

  3. Sibyl Beasley on June 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Happiness Keys contest is what I am trying to enter.ultimate happiness and strength comes from my walk with the Lord.This question sets my mind and heart a spinning.I could say it is being married to the love of my life Mr.B.for 44 years even with taking care of Him for nineteen of those years after He had a stroke at 54. I could say it was the four children God gave me conceived in love-3 daughters,one son.And don’t forget the 12 grandchildren and 7 great grand children and Sophie who is on the way.
    My creative side would say that its the embroidry, quilting,sewing, painting and basketweaving that I do in my spare time.
    Happiness for me can be summed up a name-Meemaw.My eldest granddaughter called me Meemaw and Mr.B. Poppy and the rest of the children picked it up. When my youngest grandchildren Sarah and Katy Grace lost their father at age 5 and 7, I became the other two hands for their mother ,Christy, who at 39 had to walk by faith and not by sight as a widow. God allowed me to see that with each name He gave me I was serving Him and loving them thru Him and with Him. What a blessing to know that as a Meemaw I was carrying on the heritage of love that started with Mr. B.so many years ago.I tease my family that I am going to start a Meemaw collection to get books and teeshirts and quilt patterns with this name on it instead grandmother. When my Sarah and Katy Grace sent me a valentine with Meemaw Rocks on it, I felt like I had arrived. You see, happines can lie in the simpliest things like a tiny little girl cuddling up to you and saying I love You, Meemaw.

  4. Donna Maine on June 27, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    i, too, am most like Alice. And like Sandi I am a quilter and love to listen to your books while sewing.

  5. Emilie Richards on June 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I really appreciate everyone who is sharing the source of their happiness here. I hope it’s encouraging to everyone who reads it, because there’s a lot of strength and courage in these comments. Also just a sheer love of life.

  6. Peggy Gorman on June 29, 2009 at 5:39 am

    My Key Happiness comes from my love of God and family and refusing to be unhappy.
    I love life and I was blessed with 4 children,a wonderful man by my side ,great family and awesome friends!
    Today marks a milestone ,my baby and only girl turns 21 today
    I know her two brothers are watching with the angels and I know they loved her and would want Sarah to have everything she wishes for today.
    My key happiness is being blessed with my family

  7. Kelly Wenhold on June 29, 2009 at 8:52 am

    My Happiness is the 7 week old puppy “Annie” I adopted over the weekend. It really makes you think how simple life should be. All she really needs is loving – isn’t that what we all need!

  8. Kunni Biener on June 29, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Happiness is a clean house and time to stitch, like this past weekend. And knowing that the house will still be clean on Friday when I am off and can stitch even more!

  9. GladysMP on June 29, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Love can get mighty complicated sometimes. Divorce is usually a very sad affair. I feel that there would be many less divorces if couples took the time to really know each other before their marriage. If love is real there is no reason to rush unprepared into marriage. Take time before making a decision that pertains to the rest of your life.

  10. Tammy Garcia on June 29, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Happiness is…
    The love we share, my husband and I. We both cared about one another a long time ago. We both married someone else. We didn’t see each other for over 20 years, and then we met again. The love was still there, 9 months later we got married. That was over 8 years ago; the love is still very strong. He was worth waiting for.

  11. Jane Squires on June 29, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Happiness for me right now is being told I don’t have to see Pain Management doctor anymore. I would be so happy if I wasn’t facing another surgery. I’ve had a knee replacement, ankle fusion, gallbladder surgery and two back procedures in past three years and now face another knee surgery.
    Happiness is when your adult daughter wakes up and stops arguing and fighting with you and actually apologizes. In 28 years, I’ve never received an aplogy for being hurt.
    Happiness is health. I have been married 30 years and it has weathered teenage rebellion too.
    Please enter me to win.

  12. Marta S. on June 29, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    As a single again person, my two unique cats-one female tuxedo cat and one large orange/red tabby male-both altered, thankfully, are one of the things that make me happy. I also enjoy trying/ discovering new soups as well as dark chocolate, Chinese food and sushi. Of course, reading and discovering new authors too is something that makes me happy. I’ve been a reader since early school days, and its one of my non-guilty pleasures. Crafting and other artistic pursuits make me happy as well as making new friends. Although its been several years, traveling and seeing new things, people and places also is one of my happiness things. Thanks!
    Marta S.

  13. cheryl c. on June 29, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    I am enjoying getting to know Tracy, and I look forward to learning more about the other 3 women in Happiness Key. It sounds like it is going to be a wonderful story.
    My personal key to happiness is my family!

  14. Patricia Barraclough on September 6, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Being deserted by family and “friends” in her time of need was probably the best thing that could have happened to Tracy. She learned to stand on her own two feet and take control of her own life. To become her own person.
    Hopefully she learned that true friends would not have deserted her.

  15. Patricia Barraclough on September 6, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I’m happy my family is more concerned with how they live their lives and what they do for the world around them. They are not concerned about social status and having things for”show.”

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