It's 1978 and the whole country, exhausted from the twin traumas of Vietnam and Watergate, seems to be suffering from a massive hangover. Chucky O'Malley knows how the country feels; approaching fifty, he finds himself in the grip of a debilitating midlife crisis. Although he has much to be thankful for, including a loving wife and a thriving career as a professional photographer, he does not feel like a success. He hasn't lost his faith, exactly, but he does feel disillusioned and depressed. As he travels the world, from the Vatican, where a new pope is to be selected, to Jimmy Carter's White House, where an overwhelmed president struggles to find a cure for his nation's malaise, Chucky searches for a way to renew his weary spirit.
Fortunately, he doesn't have to face this challenge alone. With the loving support of his family, and especially his irrepressible and adoring wife, Rosemarie, he just might rediscover his lost hope and optimism in time for a Second Spring. . . .
Author Biography: Father Andrew M. Greeley, a Catholic priest and sociologist, is an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Ireland in Dublin. He divides his time between teaching at the University of Chicago and the University of Arizona at Tucson.
About the Author
Priest, sociologist, author and journalist, Father Andrew M. Greeley built an international assemblage of devout fans over a career spanning five decades. His books include the Bishop Blackie Ryan novels, including The Archbishop in Andalusia, the Nuala Anne McGrail novels, including Irish Tweed, and The Cardinal Virtues. He was the author of over 50 best-selling novels and more than 100 works of non-fiction, and his writing has been translated into 12 languages.
Father Greeley was a Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona and a Research Associate with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. In addition to scholarly studies and popular fiction, for many years he penned a weekly column appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers. He was also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter, America and Commonweal, and was interviewed regularly on national radio and television. He authored hundreds of articles on sociological topics, ranging from school desegregation to elder sex to politics and the environment.
Throughout his priesthood, Father Greeley unflinchingly urged his beloved Church to become more responsive to evolving concerns of Catholics everywhere. His clear writing style, consistent themes and celebrity stature made him a leading spokesperson for generations of Catholics. He chronicled his service to the Church in two autobiographies, Confessions of a Parish Priest and Furthermore!
In 1986, Father Greeley established a $1 million Catholic Inner-City School Fund, providing scholarships and financial support to schools in the Chicago Archdiocese with a minority student body of more than 50 percent. In 1984, he contributed a $1 million endowment to establish a chair in Roman Catholic Studies at the University of Chicago. He also funded an annual lecture series, “The Church in Society,” at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, from which he received his S.T.L. in 1954.
Father Greeley received many honors and awards, including honorary degrees from the National University of Ireland at Galway, the University of Arizona and Bard College. A Chicago native, he earned his M.A. in 1961 and his Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of Chicago.
Father Greeley was a penetrating student of popular culture, deeply engaged with the world around him, and a lifelong Chicago sports fan, cheering for the Bulls, Bears and the Cubs. Born in 1928, he died in May 2013 at the age of 85.
Read an Excerpt
"You might," the naked woman said to me, "make model airplanes."
"Ah," I said, as I caressed her firm, sweaty belly, an essential of afterplay as I had learned long ago.
"You always wanted to make them when you were a kid."
The full moon illumined the dome of St. Peter's in the distance and bathed us in its glow, as though it were doing us a favor. Over there the cardinals were doubtless spending a restless night in the uncomfortable beds in their stuffy rooms. None of them had a bedmate like Rosemarie with whom to play, worse luck for them and for the Church.
"You said…Don't stop, Chucky Ducky, I like that…You said that you were too poor to buy the kits."
"I did not!" I insisted, as I kissed her tenderly.
"You did." She sighed. "You don't have to stop that either."
My lips roamed her flesh, not demanding now, but reassuring, praising, celebrating.
"I did not!"
There had been a time, long years ago, when I would have tried a second romp of lovemaking in a situation like the present one.
"Or you could take up collecting sports cards. You told all of us that you couldn't afford that either."
"I never said that!"
"You did too!" She giggled as I tickled her.
"I guess I'm in my midlife identity crisis," I admitted.
"You can't be, Chucky Ducky darling." She snuggled close to me. "You haven't got beyond your late adolescent identity crisis."
One of the valiant Rosemarie's favorite themes was that I was still a charming little boy, like the little redhead in the stories she wrote.
"Mind you," she whispered, "I like you as an adolescent boy."
"Only an adolescent boy would be so nicely obsessed with every part of a woman's anatomy."
That would be a line in her next story. I wondered how the New Yorker would handle the spectacular lovemaking that preceded the line.
"A man could become impotent at the possibility that his bedtime amusements would become public knowledge."
"Ha!…I don't know about you, Chucky Ducky, but I'm going to sleep now."
She pillowed her head on my stomach.
"Chucky love," she sighed, now well across the border into the land of Nod, "you're wonderful. We really defied death this time, didn't we?"
That would be in the story too. I had become a character in a series of New Yorker storiesa little red-haired punk as an occasional satyr.
Rosemarie Helen Clancy O'Malley had found her midlife identity as a writer. Her poor husband had found his identity as a character in fiction. On that happy note I reprised in my imagination some of the more pleasurable moments of our romp and sank into peace and satisfied sleep.
Copyright © 2003 by Andrew M. Greeley Enterprises, Inc.
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