Chapter 10: Stacy, 1983

It’s a happy though stressful year for Stacy, who is finally fulfilling her childhood dreams of planning a wedding. Though there are still a few holdovers from her days as a nine-year-old spying on her sister (like a tall, tiered wedding cake), she’s adding some updated, personal touches (inviting some punk friends, for instance). And naturally Evelyn is not happy about them.

The rest of the family are excited about their own lives: Tommy has recently married a photographer, and Autumn lands a scholarship to film school. As the family celebrates the latter event at a premiere of her latest movie at the local punk house, it becomes evident that Autumn’s success has triggered her dad Don (who has mostly patched up his life but periodically falls off the wagon). He and Stacy have another one of their knock-down, drag-out arguments/heart-to-heart talks that ends with Don both sorrowful and reflective–and Stacy realizing once again she has to make some changes of her own lest she end up like him.

Stacy and Greg meet one of Autumn’s fans at another house show, a gay journalist named Jeff who uses a wheelchair after a sports accident. On impulse Stacy decides he and her brother Matt might hit it off (and they do). So when Stacy invites him to the the wedding, Evelyn is beside herself. As Stacy’s “dream wedding” unfolds, full of music and dancing and love, Evelyn punctures her joy by accusing her of staging a “spectacle” and humiliating the family. Though hurt, Stacy responds in her own way–fulfilling another dream by having her wedding party “parade through the village” of Arboria Park. Everyone joins in, even her dad and Greg’s family–except Evelyn, who is left alone by choice.

As the festive part of the day ends with a champagne toast, Stacy and Greg end up on the playground gazing at a sunset, their honeymoon and  new life ahead. Like Matt, who is now “out of the closet” despite his mother’s dismay, she chooses to move on ahead rather than dwell on the one blot on her “perfect day.”

Stacy has hired a DJ for her wedding reception to play a wide variety of songs for family and friends to listen and dance to, and they have all made their own requests. Autumn and the punks organize a mosh, and even Don (happily attending with a girlfriend and hanging out with ex-wife Mary and JC) arranges a dance with Stacy to “I Knew the Bride.”

If the DJ wanted to draw from the top songs of 1983, he would have a lot of interesting choices. The MTV era is in full swing, with all kinds of songs and videos hitting the charts. Michael Jackson is at his best with “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” There are one-hit wonders with fun videos, like Men Without Hats, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and After the Fire; ’80s heavy hitters like Duran Duran, the Human League, Culture Club, and the Eurythmics; classic stalwarts like David Bowie, Joe Jackson, Hall & Oates, and the Kinks. Eddy Grant dances down “Electric Avenue”; Don Henley airs some “Dirty Laundry.” Thomas Dolby blinds us with science, and the Police have the number 1 hit of the year with the anthem of the stalkers, “Every Breath You Take.” There’s something for everyone, and with one sad exception, Stacy’s wedding succeeds in providing a universal good time both for her invited guests and the larger neighborhood.







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