The bestselling author of A Midwinter's Tale returns with a heartfelt sequel
Father Andrew M. Greeley returns to the saga of the O'Malley family with his signature blend of humor, classic American values and heart-rending storytelling.
Charles "Chucky" Cronin has come home to Chicago in one piece after a chaotic tour in post WWII Germany. And though his family thinks he's "become a man," Chucky knows he still has a lot of growing up to do. Anxious to attend Notre Dame and get his life back on in order, Chucky is quickly sidetracked by the beautiful, raven-haired, haunting (and haunted) Rosemarie, a girl as fresh-faced and clever as she is doomed. Conflicts with a mob boss and a tendency to ruffle the feathers of those in charge combine to land Chucky in even more hot water. Luckily, a quick wit and an old fashioned sense of right and wrong (along with a dose of Heavenly help) save him when tensions reach the boiling point. Can Chucky come of age in a difficult and heady time, holding on to his integrity while discovering the secret to love?
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About the Author
Priest, sociologist, author, and journalist, Father Andrew M. Greeley (1928-2013) was the author of over 50 bestselling novels and more than 100 works of nonfiction. His novels include the Bishop Blackie Ryan series, including The Archbishop in Andalusia; the Nuala Anne McGrail series, including Irish Tweed; the O’Malley Family Saga, including A Midwinter’s Tale; and standalones such as Home for Christmas and The Cardinal Sins.
A leading spokesperson for generations of Catholics, Father Greeley unflinchingly urged his beloved Church to become more responsive to believers’ evolving concerns. He chronicled his service to the Church in two autobiographies, Confessions of a Parish Priest and Furthermore!
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
Younger than Springtime
By Andrew M. Greeley
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 1999 Andrew M. Greeley Enterprises, Ltd.
All rights reserved.
That first summer after I came home from Germany was one of the worst times in my life. At first, I could not find a summer job, not even at O'Hanlon and O'Halloran, the accounting firm that had promised me work next summer. I was no longer the sergeant who knew how to get things done at the HQ of the First Constabulary Regiment in Bamberg. Rather I was an unemployed veteran, uneasy about the prospect of college. I still felt guilt about my German lover who had introduced me to passion and then disappeared after I had saved her and her mother and sister from the fate of women "war criminals" turned over to the Russians. I also longed for the pleasures of our love. Or lust. Or whatever it was. She still haunted my dreams, sometimes confused with my mother and my sister Peg and Rosie, my kind of foster sister.
Moreover, I had wasted my time in Bamberg, a picture-postcard medieval city out near the Bohemian Alps, only forty kilometers from the Red Army. Bamberg had eaten up two precious years of my life. I had joined the army to earn the right to a college education under the GI Bill because I had assumed that after the war the Depression (now called the Great Depression) would return and that my parents would not be able to afford college tuition for me.
I had been spectacularly wrong. When I was discharged, honorably enough, in the spring of 1948, America was in the midst of early phases of the greatest economic boom in its history, one that, despite some fits and starts, has continued for almost a half century. My father's architectural skills had made our family wealthy again. For him and my mother, the Depression was merely an unpleasant interlude that had ended. For me it had been the matrix of my life. I had been in a rush to finish my education and find a safe and secure job before the Depression would return. Now my parents could afford to send me to college (though I would not accept their money). I had wasted two precious years and committed more mortal sins than I could count.
And everyone said that I had grown up!
Even my priest, John Raven, who should have known me better, insisted that I had been a hero in Bamberg and that women adored me.
Dad had decided to build our house in Grand Beach. I thought that the idea was the worst familial folly yet. We couldn't afford it, I was sure. And when the Depression came back?
"Oh, we can afford it all right, son," he laughed. "No doubt about that, although I can't give you the precise figures. That's your mother's department."
Which was like saying that a drug addict was responsible for controlling the flow of drugs.
"And if the Depression comes back, well, all that can happen is that we'll lose it. When you've been through that once, you don't worry about it the second time."
While the house was being built that summer, we rented a house across the street from the site to supervise construction and enjoy the beach. Dad had designed one of the first "modern" homes in that section of the Dunes, a redwood house that might have fit just as well in Marin County, with sweeping porches and vast windows letting in the sun and the wind. Many of our neighbors lived in homes that seemed to react to the beauties of summer on the lake by enclosing their inhabitants in cramped darkness.
I was quickly converted to the South End of Lake Michigan, one of the best vacation sites in all the world — though not so spectacular that I improved my swimming, that summer or subsequently.
Dad drove back and forth to Michigan City from the site of the new St. Ursula every day. Mom and Michael and the girls spent the whole summer there, looking brown and fit and happy.
Dear God, how much difference a little bit of money makes.
And yet how little real difference it made.
My children and nieces and nephews, who weren't there, regard the late forties and the fifties as "Dullsville." Ozzie and Harriet and tail fins, and "togetherness." They cannot understand the excitement of those times because they weren't there when tens of millions of American families climbed out of poverty for the first time and many millions more slowly became convinced that they would never see hard times again.
Before I got my job at the Board of Trade that summer, as I impatiently walked the beaches and the dunes, I believed the conventual wisdom still: there had to be another depression. All the cars and washing machines and dryers and dishwashers and cameras and new homes and television sets, whose screens were little bigger than the holes at peep shows, were a trick. The bottom would drop out soon. It had to. There was always a depression after a war. Everyone knew that.
A few people didn't know that and they amassed vast wealth because they perceived that the pent-up demand of fifteen years of depression and war combined with the money saved during the war had changed economic history. I learned to be skeptical about what everyone knew to be true.
In 1948, however, I did not share the exuberant confidence of my contemporaries that a new era was dawning, an era when the good life would be available for almost everyone.
One late afternoon as I ambled down the beach, my Leica (a present from Trudi, my former Hitler Jugend lover) in my pocket, feeling very sorry for myself, I heard women laughing on the porch in front of our rented house, no doubt at me, at poor sad Chucky Ducky. I climbed the steps wearily.
That summer all the women in the family had taken to wearing two-piece swimsuits. I hasten to add that they were not the sort of garb you might see on Baywatch, indeed the amount of fabric involved might exceed that of the contemporary bikini (against which I personally have no objections) by a factor of ten. They were more like the structured, padded bras and corsets that women were required to wear under their clothes. However, underneath and out in the open were two different matters; and the extra couple of inches of womanly flesh now laid bare to sunshine and male eyes were, I thought, legitimate matters for attention.
"Here comes the sergeant," warned my sister Peg (née Margaret Mary), "we'd better clean up our conversation."
Peg was a sonatina in brown, hair curled around her face, snapping brown eyes, an elegant mobile face, dark skin with a string of small freckles across her nose, a tall, elegant Irish countess whose intense affection for me had sometimes kept me out of trouble and sometimes got me into worse trouble. I returned that affection in kind. Neither of us were prevented by our mutual affection from constant verbal conflict.
"He's just out archiving the rubble," Rosie Clancy observed. "So people will know what Grand Beach was like before the Irish moved in."
"I don't think we ought to ask him to join us in Michigan City tonight," Peg replied. "We'd be accused of contributing to the delinquency of a minor."
Rosie — or Rosemarie as I now insisted on calling her — was only a foster sister. Three years younger than me and the same age as Peg, she had drifted down the street as a small child and adopted our family, because her father was a rich jerk and her mother a drunk — or so I saw it then. She and Peg had become inseparable allies, usually against me, except when someone was picking on me. I often thought that Peg was a cougar slinking through a forest while Rosie was a timber wolf charging at prey.
That wasn't exactly fair because they were both lovely young women and not forest animals. Well, not exactly.
Rosemarie was an inch or two shorter than my sister and more slender. Her skin was buttermilk white, her hair midnight black, her eyes as blue as Lake Michigan on a whitecap day. She had been a pretty child. Now she was the most beautiful young woman I had ever seen.
"He does look like he's fourteen," my sister Jane added.
Jane, two years older than I, was a graduate of Rosary College and a teacher at our parish Catholic school. She wore a diamond ring garnered from Ted McCormack, a former Navy pilot who was now in medical school. More voluptuous than Peg and Rosie, she was also more exuberant and infinitely less complicated. Or so I thought then.
"Now, my dears," my mother, April Mae Cronin O'Malley, reproved them gently. "Don't pick on poor Chuck. He's adjusting to civilian life."
My mother, one of the great Dr. Panglossas of the modern world, could see the good side of everyone, including her pint-sized son with the wire-brush red hair. She was also a stunning beauty in her very early forties and the only one of the four who was wearing a strapless two-piece swimsuit.
I finally realized when I had returned from Germany that she and my father — a once impoverished and now very successful architect — made love often. At first, that shocked me. Parents weren't supposed to engage in such dirty behavior. On reflection I was delighted. How could anyone sleep in the same bedroom with such an elegant woman and not make love to her? I had not shared this insight with Peg or Rosie and probably wouldn't.
"I am shocked," I announced solemnly, as I sank into a vacant chaise and liberated a bottle of Coke from a cooler, "at the deterioration of the morals of American women in the postwar world. Prosperity and immorality, I have always said, go hand in hand."
"What are you talking about?" Peg demanded, her nose wrinkling. "We're not immoral!"
"He means our swimsuits." Rosemarie's pale skin flushed the attractive light pink that it acquired at the slightest hint of embarrassment.
The incest taboo — or whatever — forbade erotic fantasies about the other three women. However, foster sister or not, Rosemarie was an appropriate target for such desires, especially when she blushed.
"But darling," my mother argued, "they wear these two-piece suits even at Miss America pageants."
"Ah, we're having a bathing beauty contest here at Grand Beach. Well." I put my Coke aside and rose to my feet. "It's easy to pick the winner."
I kissed my mother on the forehead.
The younger women applauded — for the good April, not for me.
"Chucky," she said with notable lack of conviction, "you are simply impossible."
"No, just improbable," Rosemarie commented. "He's even worse than before he left for Germany. ... A little cuter maybe, but worse."
Rosemarie and I had maintained the pose of bitter foes for much of our lives. I don't think we fooled anyone, not even ourselves. However, we had begun a correspondence while I was away. I wrote her a note of sympathy for her mother's death. The letters were remarkably gentle and affectionate. We had both sworn that we would abandon our conflict style when I came home and act like adult friends instead of quarreling siblings. We were now testing the limits of our new relationship.
Rosemarie would be irresistibly appealing, I told myself often, if only she didn't drink so much. I was also not quite sure I approved of the conspiracies of everyone in my family to match the two of us permanently. Everyone except my brother Michael, who was studying to be a priest and seemed to be unaware that there was such a thing as marriage.
I ignored Rosemarie's suggestion that I was cute.
"For a moment I thought I had wandered into the foundation-garment section at Sears," I observed.
I almost said "Marshall-Field's." "Sears," however, conveyed a slightly lower social class and hence was more effective as a troublemaking statement.
"Chucky!" they all protested.
"Mind you," I continued blandly, "I wouldn't mind wandering through the foundation-garment section of Sears. I think it would be great fun. But now one can find scandalously undressed women on a porch overlooking Lake Michigan."
General outraged laughter.
"Chuck, darling," my mother insisted, taking off her prescription sunglasses and glaring at me as she giggled. "You're a prude!"
"No, ma'am, good April Mae. My whole point is that I'm not a prude. I applaud, as any healthy male would, the decline of womanly virtue. I merely observe that you would never have dared to appear in public in the costumes your daughters affect when you were their age."
"If you think we're so wonderful, Chucky," Rosemarie said with an impish grin, "why don't you take pictures of us instead of dead fish and driftwood on the beach?"
Score one for the foster sister.
"That would distract me from studying for my admission to Notre Dame," I said lamely. "Which reminds me, I must beg back to my books."
They laughed again as I rose to enter the house.
"Mind you," I added, turning at the door, "my wondrous foster sister has suggested an attractive idea."
Now I would have to take some pictures of them, especially of Rosemarie.
At that time I was obsessed with the notion that I had wasted my time in Germany and that I had to make up for the years I had lost. I was twenty years old and I figured that I should at least enter Notre Dame as a second-semester sophomore. That would reduce my lost time to a semester.
Early the next morning, I grabbed my Leica and started a sunrise patrol of the beach. My plans were to archive the debris washed up on the shore from the lake and left there by Friday-night parties.
I walked all the way to New Buffalo and back. As I approached our construction site I saw a swimmer cleaving the quiet waters of the lake with a tough determined crawl. I paused to admire his stroke. I did not often wish I were athletic, but that particular morning with thunderheads already rising in the sky and curtains of humidity descending on the hot sands, I thought it would be refreshing to swim that well.
The swimmer came ashore near where I was watching. He was a she, in an eye-catching black two-piece swimsuit. Still a long way from a bikini, it disclosed a good deal more of Rosemarie than the one she had worn yesterday.
"Hi." Rosemarie pulled off her swim cap. "What are you watching, watchman?"
"Venus arising from the sea."
A blush suffused her face. I could cause that pretty easily, couldn't I?
"Silly! I have a lot more clothes on ... do you think this suit is scandalous? I'm afraid that the good April does."
Scandal is in the eye of the beholder. My eye at that moment.
"She'll probably have one of her own before the summer is over."
We laughed together, the companionship ratified and restored instantly.
My prediction was, needless to say, perfectly accurate.
"Why don't you take a picture of me with that cute little camera?" Rosemarie had noted immediately that I was not carrying her gift. "Is it German? And you never take pictures of me anymore. Why not?"
"Afraid so much beauty would shatter the lens."
"Now you're being really silly." She walked toward me as I clicked away. "Do I make a good model?"
"I think you know the answer to that question."
I look at the pictures today. Indeed she made a wonderful model — a very pretty young girl in a swimsuit from which the armor of the vast, heavy bras and extensive girdles had been removed. "Finished?" She smiled crookedly.
"Almost ..." I thought of a pose, banished it from my head, and then said, "Would you mind slipping the straps off your shoulders?"
"Uhmm ... glamour." She complied instantly. "For your room at the Dome, I bet. To show off the wicked girl you know who will lose her faith and her soul at the University of Chicago. Lower? All right, but no lower than this, understand?"
She was having the time of her life posing. My fingers were trembling uneasily as I fixed the telephoto attachment over the lens. In subsequent years I shot pictures of many unclad and underclad women. My fingers always tremble. You never get over some things.
"Not quite right." I walked over to her and pulled the top of her suit a little lower, exposing a hint of the tops of her breasts. She stood, quiet and passive, only the tightness in her jaw and her silence hinting that I was frightening her. I pulled the bra down a little bit more.
"Chucky ..." she exclaimed nervously.
My fingers still trembling, I finished my arrangements with one more gentle tug.
"Are you really afraid of me, Rosemarie?"
"Well." Her chin rested on her chest, her hands were clutched behind her back. She looked at me out of the corner of her eye. "I'm always a little afraid of you, but" — she grinned maliciously — "I don't think you have the nerve to strip me right out here on the beach."
"No one around."
She glanced quickly up and down the beach.
"Go ahead and try!"
It would be delightful activity for any number of reasons. I lost my nerve, stepped away, and looked at my model through the viewfinder.
"Not this time."
Excerpted from Younger than Springtime by Andrew M. Greeley. Copyright © 1999 Andrew M. Greeley Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsCharles's Love Story,
John's Love Story,
Charles's Love Story,