O.K. This is the one time I remember my father getting angry at me: At some point in the very early sixties, my father bought a golf club in Greenwich, Connecticut, called Green Hills. One of the great things about being the kids of the owner of the club was that we could take the golf carts out after hours, and drive them around the course. I can’t really believe I did this, because I couldn’t have been more than, say, six. I do remember flying over hills with my brothers once or twice, and I remember feeling some anxiety at the speed. Just to put it into perspective, I now drive, as my ex-mother-in-law used to say, like a foot. I am very careful.
Anyway, I knew how to drive a golf cart, and one day I was out there on the course with my father and some of his pals. They were up on a little hill, as I remember it, teeing off. Or maybe they weren’t teeing off. But they were standing on this little hill, and I was waiting down below, in the driver’s seat of the golf cart, all of their golf clubs in bags in the back of the cart.
I’m pretty sure I was alone that day. And what I remember is starting up the cart and suddenly taking off around the little hill as fast as I could, around and around and around and around. I remember laughing. It was hilarious. It was like a cartoon: In my memory, the turn was so sharp that the cart was up on two wheels, screeching in circles around that hill.
In real life, I went so fast that many of the clubs flew from their bags and were strewn on the grass behind me. That’s what I remember. And that’s the one and only time I remember my father getting angry at me, coming down off the hill irate.
It reminds me of a news story I heard on the car radio years back, after I was an adult. Some mom had killed her little daughter—probably not much more than eight. And when they asked her why, she said, “Because she was doing cartwheels in the living room.”