Happiness Was

Barbara Stoner
2 min readAug 22, 2021

I was perfectly happy once. I know because I wrote it down. I was 34 years old in 1977, had two children in whom I was very well pleased, and lived in a house on a farm that I loved. My possibilities seemed endless with no pressure to become anything but other than what I was becoming.

I was happy in my marriage of 8 years. It was, I wrote, not “one of those good marriages where you agree on everything and always like and respect each other and hide a host of grievances under a façade of modern love and understanding. We fight at the drop of a cat or a coat or a spoon or the baby or whatever. [And yet], even when he drives me straight up a tree, every other man looks impossible. I am so glad I’m not married to or living with or dating anyone other than [the man I married].

“I am so glad I am not single and thinking about men and sex and new relationships. It takes so much energy, so much time. When would I crochet or weed the garden? When would I read or study or work crosswords or Springbok puzzles? I’d have to fix my hair. Well, I wouldn’t have to but I probably would. All that ugly, time-consuming single insecurity would creep up on me. I’ve been single twice before. I’ve been single single and divorced single. You can have it.

“I’m a housewife in the women’s movement. Happy as a clam I am. Where do I go from here?”

Reader, I divorced him.

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