She is twenty-four. Paul is forty-six. Theirs was, as many friends and relatives were quick to point out, a May/December relationship. No one thought the marriage held much promise, but they were wrong and eventually most admitted it. Paul is quick to say that he never thought he was capable of loving anyone one as much as he loved Ann. He says that, even after all that has happened, he still loves her, but not in the same way. Both he and Ann were led to discover who they really were. Everything she said and did during the first two years of their marriage suggested that her love for him was honest, deep, and forever. They were incredibly happy. It's hard to believe, but there was never a quarrel, never even a bad word spoken or a day without expressions of tenderness and love. Although Ann worried about his gambling habit, she never mentioned it. Besides, Paul managed, during those first two years, to keep most of it from her.
He used his office phone and computer to bet on horses, ball games, and whatever else was available. One night a week throughout those first years Ann helped at the Catholic Youth Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant. She taught learning and coping skills to "at risk" teenagers most of whom attended because for them it was either go to the Youth Center or the Juvenile Detention Facility. Paul worried about her spending time with tough delinquents in one of the most dangerous areas of Brooklyn. But she never complained and had actually found ways to earn their grudging respect. Her volunteering also gave him his poker night. He played with a group of high rollers. There were six of them; Paul and five black guys. They were of different ages, but all seemed reasonably intelligent. One, Jim Albertson, was both a long time friend and the accountant for his trucking company. He introduced Paul to his friends, and they quickly accepted him because one of their regular members had moved to California. Each week one of the members hosted the game. When it was Paul's turn, he had them come to his office which was spacious and well appointed. At first, no one objected.
He had not only inherited a very profitable trucking company, he also inherited a large and lovely old Victorian house on a half acre in the Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn. Although there was no reason for Ann to work, she insisted on "being of use in the world". For those wonderful first two years she taught full time at the Paul Robeson High School for Business and Technology in Brooklyn. It was only a twenty minute drive from their house or short walk and two stops on the subway. Initially, Paul worried because like the young delinquents who attended the classes at the Catholic Youth Center, most of her students were black and Hispanic males from the projects. Many had criminal records for drug possession, drug dealing, robbery, or crimes of violence. But she was so incredibly naive, so sweetly innocent, so bright, so caring, that she charmed them, or most of them, into behaving and into feeling protective of her. So, at the end of those two idyllic years Ann had her black and brown students and Paul had his black poker playing friends.
Soon after their marriage, on the advice of his accountant, Paul had all of his assets; the company, the house, the cars, the cabin he owned on a lake upstate, stocks, and bank accounts placed in both names. He reasoned that because of the age difference he'd likely die before Ann did. Since she legally owned half of everything, she would avoid inheritance taxes and other complications at the time of his death. The downside of that arrangement was her signature had to appear on business transactions.
Toward the end of the second year of their marriage the economy began to plunge. Paul had to lay off a number of employees and sell some trucks. In order to cover those losses he, with the help of Jim Albertson, discovered a way to rig the stocks in his company at the ex