9. Counterculture

1977 Stan and Genie Godges

Stan and Genie Godges, brother and sister, at home
in Redondo Beach, California, in 1977.


STAN AVOIDS THE SOCIAL TEMPTATIONS of high school in his quests for a student deferment from the Vietnam War and financial security for the family. He follows in his father’s footsteps by attending Loyola Marymount University. He bristles at the ferocity of the campus anti-war protests, but he is relieved to learn that some Jesuits reject the vow of poverty. He dates a good Catholic girl and marries her in traditional fashion. The only way that he can afford to finish dental school is to enlist in the U.S. Army, and so he bites the bullet in 1975. He grows deeply indebted to the military.

Genie becomes the most popular girl in high school. She enrolls at Loyola Marymount University only under duress. She scoffs at the timidity of the campus anti-war protests, but she finds an inspiring literary community on campus and starts to date one of the English professors. He is agnostic. She surreptitiously moves in with him. But one of the anti-poverty Jesuits admired by Stan tattles on Genie. As a consequence, Joseph decides that Genie must be disowned from the family. He excommunicates her in 1978. The younger children learn unintended lessons.