Jack and Diane - The Rest of the Story
In the early 1980's John Mellencamp recorded a song entitled Jack and Diane. The lyrics told a tale of typical teenage behavior in America at the time. The teenage love affair came up empty, however, as Mellencamp moaned, "Oh yeah, Life goes on - long after the the thrill of livin' is gone." . I'd like to add some fictional flavor to the scenario, and as Paul Harvey would say, "And now, the rest of the story."
By the time eighteen-year-old Jack Sorenson learned Diane McLaughlin, his drug-sharing girlfriend, was pregnant his home life had long ago disintegrated. Frustration was a day to day experience in his life, and now there would be an extra burden to carry. The only hope Jack had been given was that life could be controlled by anger. His father's life was a picture of wrath. His mother's life was draped in hopelessness. Jack didn't know how to change his life, nor did he want to.
Jack, who was once a happy-go-lucky, likable, fun kid had now turned into a troubled and confused teen. With graduation well within his grasp, he was willing to sacrifice it all for Diane and the drugs.
In the 1960s the sexual revolution and the hippie movement were just beginning to hit Sullivan Mills, West Virginia. A little behind the times as a town, Jack always made it a point to be the trend setter. This time, Diane beat him. Sex and drugs were what she was about, and she wasted no time sucking Jack into the counter-culture. It was where they both wanted to be.
Jack stood about five feet ten inches tall with thick, dark, wavy hair. At one time his eyes were big and bright, but now from the drug use they were faded and lifeless. His speech was slow and at times incoherent - a definite leftover of smoking too much pot.
Fast cars were important to Jack. His new Corvette made him the talk of the school, at least when he was there. It served other purposes, too. Many a night was spent in the back seat with Diane and a pipe or two. Of course, it should have been no surprise when Jack found out that Diane was pregnant with his child
During the months of drug use, the problem of Jack's uncontrolled anger escalated. Jack's fits of rage most often left holes in the walls, but it was also not uncommon for furniture and windows to be broken. The situation was getting worse.
It wasn't long until Jack lost control and moved from attacking furniture to attacking Diane. The reason for the argument wasn't important. Neither one really remembered what started the events of that night when Jack attacked Diane after the school dance. Diane left with blood dripping from her mouth and both eyes were swollen. Various bruises marked her arms and left shoulder. Jack had somehow gone over the edge.
After a night spent in the youth detention center, Jack was released and allowed to return home. He slept for awhile. Then he decided to call Diane.
"Diane, look. I'm sorry about the other night. It will never happen again.
"Yeah, I know! I'm not going to see you anymore. You forget. It's not just me anymore. It's my baby, too. Sorry, but I'm gone."
"No, really Diane. It won't happen again. I've got everything under control now. I've learned. . . " and with that, the phone went dead.
Three months had passed. The date was December 21, 1969. The phone rang. As Jack picked up the receiver, he heard the voice of Diane's mother. Jack was the father of a healthy baby boy. Could Jack come and see his son? Absolutely not, and if he tried he'd be in jail for a very long time. Mrs. McLaughlin would make sure of that.
More furniture was broken. As Jack looked at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, he saw what he had become for the first time - a loser. A loser that wasted his potential, his very being, for drugs. His life was spiraling downward quickly. A sense of panic overcame him, and he smashed the mirror to pieces.
Jack ran for his Corvette. Spector Drive met with Park Woods Boulevard just above the ball field nestled in the valley 100 feet below. Jack's anger in the past always turned outward toward people or things. Now it had turned to attack him. As he sped down Spector Drive going 70 in a 25 zone, Jack knew there would be no return. The Corvette flew through the intersection. through the guide rails and was smashed into a million pieces as it rained on the ball field below.
With it lay the dreams of a happy-go-lucky, likable, fun kid who had quickly turned into a troubled and confused teen.