At the beginning of the 1960s, Long Island potato fields gave way to suburban neighborhoods. Rows of cookie-cutter ranch and split-level homes, with front lawns and backyards, lined the newly paved streets. The white middle class, looking for greener pastures for their ever-expanding families, had headed east of New York City in droves. Our family was no exception, and in 1960, the Donnellys settled in Deer Park.
Entrepreneurial by nature and with a small loan from his parents, my father started a trucking business that quickly flourished. The most lucrative contract he had was with E-Z-Do Pools, manufacturers of in-ground swimming pools. In no time, the company was thriving, and my father had a fleet of a dozen trucks that drove up and down the East Coast, delivering pools.
Our home reflected the unconventional 1960s and my father’s newfound wealth. A new, curved sectional sofa, drapes in vibrant colors and bold patterns, and a Zenith color television adorned the living room. My mother had wall-to-wall carpeting installed; it was all the rage and epitomized comfort and class.
Pine cupboards, a Frigidaire, and wallpaper in eye-catching yellow sunflowers enhanced the kitchen. A large Formica and chrome table, with six vinyl-covered chairs, became the focal point of the Donnelly home. We had two cars in the driveway, and a housekeeper came twice a week. We were living the American dream.
EXCERPT FROM A SAINT AND A SINNER