A Personal Detour

451 W. Belden Ave., Chicago 1974

As I began to get my feet wet in private practice in the early 1970s, for the first time I felt I had stable employment for the long term and earnings sufficient to marry and have a family. While that remained a distant goal, it was still not a near term one for me my first three years out of the Army.

In 1972, as I was settling into my life in my Belden apartment, Judy Arndt decided to leave her staff job on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and move to Chicago. Initially she lived not far from my Belden Avenue apartment with her sister Connie and her husband, my law firm colleague Bill Singer. At this point we began to date one another again, though not exclusively.

Sometime later, she said she wanted to move along from her sister and brother- in-law’s apartment and broached the idea of moving in with me, I thought that would be just hunky-dory, as long as both of us were free to still see other people. Living together in this fashion seemed to be a good idea to both of us at the time, but it worked only for a time and after a while she told me she wanted to move along from the relationship if it was not going to lead to marriage. Initially, I was shocked. That wasn’t what we’d initially agreed to. However, as the reality of possibly breaking up with her sank in, I had to confront the depth of my feelings for her in a very direct way. I really didn’t want to lose her. While I had been completely adverse to making a lifetime commitment to anyone up to that point, it gradually dawned on me that it was past time to get over my earlier wariness of marriage. Judy and I proceeded to inform our families of the news and we began planning a wedding.

We married in June 1974, but married life did not stay hunky-dory for long. My earlier dillydallying in arriving at the commitment to marriage seemed to have lit a slow burning fuse in Judy and before summer’s end and she abruptly moved out of our seemingly happy home without a word of explanation. This gave me a whole new appreciation of the famous line in Paul Newman’s movie Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach.” The separation was followed in due course by counselling, a brief reconciliation, and a divorce.  I was upset and mystified by the abrupt change in circumstance, but it happened to coincide with my leave of absence from Roan & Grossman to work on Bill Singer’s mayoral campaign. There’s nothing like the chaos of a political campaign to take you mind off a little chaos in your personal life.