"Four Corners of the Circle" Synopsis

TIME: 1969
Location: Clarkston, Arkansas

Why has John traveled all the way from Chicago to attend the second wedding of his childhood friend, Sylvia Hamilton?  Is it because he hopes to reignite an old love or is he just merely an observer?  Seven years earlier Sylvia’s first husband, Tracy, divorced her without an explanation.  Their two daughters are Gerti and Connie.  Gerti has just graduated college and is considered by her mother to be a hippie because she wears jeans, has long hair and protests the Vietnam War.  It was always expected that Gerti would come home from college and help Tracy run the family’s textile business.  Connie has recently been chosen Queen of the town’s Cotton Festival and has a strong attraction to another girl in the festival.  The festival is taking place the same weekend as the wedding and Sylvia is annoyed that her daughter will take too much attention away from her big day.

John, who has been in love with Tracy since high school, is surprised when Tracy confides to him that he is planning to move to New York City to live a gay lifestyle.  Because he is forty, Tracy wants to make the move quickly before he is too old to make a change in his life.  Gerti is not ready to run the mill.  Tracy is desperate to leave for New York so he must persuade Sylvia to help Gerti run the mill.  He knows Sylvia is capable because she used to help him run the mill when they were married.  Sylvia is reluctant and continues to resent Tracy for leaving her without explanation.  Visiting John finds himself in the middle of all the commotion not only as an observer but as a confidant as well.  He also realizes that the years have not diminished his strong attraction to Tracy.

“Four Corners of the Circle” takes place the same year Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, the first Vietnam Draft Lottery began, Women’s Liberation was maturing and the Stonewall Riots occurred.  Yes, 1969 was a year full of changes for the country as well as for the Hamilton family in Clarkston, Arkansas.