That Was Then, This Is Now Characters
See Mrs. Douglas
Cathy Carlson is Bryon’s girlfriend; it is out of his love for her and concern for her brother M&M that Bryon decides to turn Mark in for dealing drugs. Cathy is a shy, innocent teenager, who comes back from private school when she runs out of money. Unlike Bryon’s ex-girlfriend, Angela, Cathy does not get jealous and is a good influence on Bryon. This influence puts her at odds with Mark, who feels he and Bryon are starting to grow apart. This becomes more noticeable after Charlie dies saving Bryon and Mark and Cathy understands Bryon’s feelings of guilt, whereas Mark does not. Cathy worries that her brother, M&M, whom she loves very much, is smoking marijuana and, since he is so trusting, may end up taking LSD as well. She says that M&M is not happy because he gets so much harassment at home over his hair, and so M&M has started hanging around other places. Cathy is distraught when M&M runs away, and she and Bryon drive up and down the Ribbon every night for a week, looking for her brother.
After Bryon gets beaten up by the Shepards, Cathy comes to see him at home, where he lets her know he has got a lead on M&M’s whereabouts. When Bryon gets better, Cathy goes with him to the hippie house where M&M has been staying. She is horrified when she sees the effects the LSD has had on her brother but still finds the strength to call her father and drive M&M to the hospital. Cathy is distraught when the doctor tells them that M&M may never be the same but is comforted by the love and affection that Bryon shows to her throughout this ordeal. This makes it all the more difficult for Cathy the next day, when she goes to see Bryon, after hearing that Bryon turned Mark in to the police for dealing drugs. Bryon is no longer in love with her, and she can tell. They never speak again, and she starts dating Ponyboy Curtis, although M&M says that she liked Bryon the most.
Mr. Jim Carlson
Jim Carlson is Cathy’s dad, whose constant criticisms of his son, M&M, help to drive M&M out of the house and into using drugs. Bryon first meets Mr. Carlson when he picks up Cathy for their date, and he can see how he antagonizes M&M over the length of his hair and because he is flunking math and gym. When M&M leaves home, Mr. Carlson thinks that it is a phase and that he will be back, but as Cathy projects, he does not. Mr. Carlson likes Bryon, especially after Bryon helps find M&M and gets him to the hospital. Mr. Carlson is a wreck when he sees the effects that the drugs have had on his son and is concerned that the news will devastate his wife.
M&M Carlson, Cathy’s thirteen-year-old brother and one of Bryon’s friends, has a bad experience with LSD, which motivates Bryon to turn in Mark for dealing drugs. Even M&M’s family call him by this nickname, which he earned for his addiction to the candy of the same name. M&M is the consummate hippie. He wears his hair long, wears an old, loose-fitting army jacket everywhere he goes, and has a metal peace symbol on a rawhide cord around his neck. He is extremely trusting, and even tough characters like Charlie think he is nice, if a little weird. He is thankful that Bryon and Mark save him from getting thoroughly beaten by Curly Shepard but is frustrated at Mark’s hypocritical suggestion that they beat somebody else up that same night. M&M tips off Bryon that his sister is home, which helps Bryon figure out who Cathy is when he first meets her.
M&M is not happy at home, mainly because his father constantly criticizes him about his long hair and his bad grades in math and gym. As a result, he starts hanging around more often with other hippies, who introduce him to marijuana. After M&M gets fed up at home and runs away, he moves into a hippie house, where he earns the name “Baby Freak,” since he is several years younger than everybody else in the house. It is here that he experiments with LSD, a much more potent drug. When Bryon...
(The entire section is 3,831 words.)