Disclaimer: Set after Season 8 – AU – all fiction! I don't own any products or celebrities or nothing!
Ten years later, Eric Forman is a celebrated photojournalist looking to come home and begin a new life. His old friends had moved on with their lives…some happy…some not so happily. Eric just wants to find a place to call his own and spend time with his parents in their golden years. A real estate agent is determined to find him a new home and a love life to go with it. What could possibly go wrong?
Chapter 01 – Pictures in Time
January 1, 1980
Just as quickly as you could say "New Year's Day", and with the stark realization that Donna was in fact starting college, Eric Forman turned around and left Point Place taking the first flight back to Africa. His mother, Kitty was dismayed and Red thought his son was being a gigantic dumbass of all mother dumbasses. Eric's friends were left bewildered and after awhile just accepted his leaving as nothing out of the ordinary.
Hyde and Sam just purchased a bigger bed for the basement. Kelso left for Chicago to be nearer his daughter and Brooke. Jackie and Fez continued to be roommates only. Life in Point Place carried on.
Eric adjusted the lens on his Nikon 35MM camera and smiled at the small crowd of fourth graders. He said, "Smile." and all 14 pairs of eyes shined for him. Little faces with crooked teeth wearing colorful native attire posed for his picture. Eric signaled for the children to continue to play while he changed his film to black and white for some contrast photos.
Eric sat on the low brick wall outside the schoolhouse and tucked the used film into his bag. He watched the kids play while he thought about the plane ticket sitting in his room. Two more months and he would have completed his two year stint for this scholarship. He would miss teaching the children but having spent this time in Africa he developed a new passion - photography.
He had submitted several photos to National Geographic magazine and they published. He was paid a very minimal sum of money but it wasn't the money that thrilled him, it was looking at aspects of life through the viewfinder. His bathroom was suddenly transformed into a darkroom. His jaunt last weekend on a safari was now hanging on the line with clothespins separating the giraffes from the pride of lions.
He would always have his teaching certificate to fall back on but he was going to set on his future sights on a career as a photojournalist.
Jackie smiled happily. She just closed her fifth sale. She was still new to the real estate business but her agency admired her dedication and the long hours she put in to complete a sale. Point Place was slowly coming back to life after the disastrous 1970's. Many homes had been foreclosed due to layoff's at local plants and businesses that had been forced to shut down. Now with the job market improving, the workforce in Kenosha wanted to live in the suburbs and Point Place fill that niche perfectly. Jackie Burkhart was ready to sell another house.
The Point Place City Council met the first and third Saturday of every month. Alderman Red Forman joined the council when he got tired of complaining to City Hall and no one was doing anything. Kitty encouraged her husband to run at the next City elections and Red Forman snagged the remaining Alderperson slot.
Frank Lamont was chairing the meeting and after everyone was seated, he called the meeting to order. "First order of business will be to agree to disagree."
Red frowned. "Frank, just speak English okay? We're gonna disagree, we always do. You don't have to make it an order of business." Red turned and winked at Jackie sitting in the corner. He mouthed "dumbass" and she laughed.
Frank ignored Red's comment and continued, "We have had several complaints about storm drains issues and the noise coming from Ed Hauser's wood chipper."
Red raised his hand. "Excuse me. Ed needs to use the wood chipper to get rid of the wood everyone complained about at the last meeting when all the dead trees were an issue. When he's done cutting wood the noise will not be an issue."
Frank banged his small gavel on the little wooden plate. "Good. Two issues solved…."
Jackie enjoyed watching Red at the council meetings. He was gruff and quick to make his point and like harassing the "suits" as he called them. Jackie always made sure to attend –oftentimes hints about properties for sale were discussed or zoning problems might become a predicament. She just wanted to know where potential troubles may arise when she sold her next house.
Kitty sat next to Jackie taking meeting notes with her perfect penmanship. Jackie would later take Kitty's notes and type them up for her for prior to the next meeting. The last year and a half had been difficult for the older woman. Eric came home for one day in 1980 and left again after mere hours. Kitty was desperate to spend time with her son but only got postcards or a monthly phone call. Still, she lived for those moments. The council meetings gave her an outlet.
The councilmen were looking at a blueprint for an upcoming construction project which gave Kitty the opportunity for gossip. She turned to Jackie and whispered, "Don't tell Red, but Eric is coming by for a visit next weekend."
"Really? Is it because of Donna? I mean that's why he left."
Kitty frowned, "No, he's got this new job in Florida photographing some NASA events. But he's going to spend the weekend in Point Place."
Jackie smiled, "Well, I'm glad for you. Does Mr. Forman know about this?"
Kitty whispered, "No. Eric asked me not to say anything until after he gets a hotel. I told him he could stay with us, but he wants to be independent."
"Let me know where he stays and maybe I'll catch some coffee with him." Jackie replied. Kitty patted the young girl's hand. "I sure will sweetie. With Donna being pregnant again, I don't think it's a good idea if he sees too many old friends. Steven and Samantha are going to Milwaukee so maybe you'd like to come over for dinner instead?"
Jackie liked that idea. "Well, you call me after you get tired of talking and I'll talk his other ear off."
Kitty smiled. 'Thank you sweetie - I forgot to tell you, the Swizter house is going to be on the market soon. They're divorcing and she's moving back to Ohio."
"Thanks Mrs. Forman, I'll just have to drop by and see if they would like me to put the house on the market for them."
"I thought you'd like that dear." The banging of the gavel brought the rest of the meeting back to order.
Eric's plane landed and he was waiting at the luggage carousel for his equipment and bag. The airport seemed so much smaller than it had when he left. The tired faces of his fellow travelers would have made a great picture but Eric was tired of flying. He just wanted to get in a cab and see his mom.
He pulled her last letter out of his pocket and smoothed out the creases.
Point Place sure does miss you! Your dad is fine and still fighting over that cat the Anderson's have. I've started a part-time daycare.
I've been watching Donna's two-year old, Amanda (I call her Mandy) and then Brooke drops off little Robbie on her way to work. I keep telling Donna that little baby Jeremy needs to spend time with the other baby but Donna takes him to work with her. Oh well!
Steven and Samantha are upset because your dad raised their rent. I asked Steven why he didn't just move and he said the sweetest thing. "Mrs. Forman, if I moved out, then you wouldn't have me to cook for anymore." Such a sweet boy...
Well, I'm certainly looking forward to May 15. I know you'll only be here for a couple of days, but I am your mother so I'm going to spoil you rotten!
Eric smiled. His mom would probably be baking up a storm and cooking everything in the house. His dad's foot would probably be shaking with the need to connect with an ass. Such was life! Eric toted his equipment and bag through the terminal and caught the first taxi that pulled up.
Eric's pictures of tragic moments had been sold to the highest bidding magazine. He had spent most of the spring in 1981 haunting Washington D.C and was there with the crowd when President Reagan was shot in the chest. Eric's camera was in the perfect position for the incident and Time Magazine bought the pictures and the negatives. That was a money shot for Eric Forman!
From Washington, Eric traveled to New York to check out galleries and the competition. In September of 1981, when Simon and Garfunkel performed in Central Park, Eric and his heavy video camera recorded The Concert on film in front of a half a million people. The New York Times magazine paid grandly for that movie.
January 1982, Eric flew back to Washington for museum photographs and was stopped in a taxi next to the 14th Street Bridge when Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the bridge and fell into the Potomac. Eric's video of the tragedy was played on a network new station that evening. As his bank account grew, it wasn't all devastation and disaster that he filmed or photographed. There were parades and ceremonies, sporting events and movie stars that wanted the Forman lens to shine on them. He was gaining his own celebrity in the journalist's world.
Kitty heard the cab pull up and patted her hair, laughed her nervous little Kitty Forman laugh and leaned against the sink like there was nothing out of the ordinary. Then she saw her son. He seemed taller. More filled out. His hair was shaggier and lighter. Then he smiled and the green eyes were all Forman. He held out his arms and Kitty ran and hugged her not-so-little boy. "Oh, look at you all grown up!" Kitty held him at arms length and looked for scars or signs of damage.
"I missed you too mom." He said sincerely. Kitty led him to the table and pushed a plate of brownies at him. "I saw your picture of the president shooting. Oh Eric, that must have been scary."
Eric bit into a delicious warm brownie and knew this was the freshest of the batch. "It was startling but once I had my zoom lens I could see that everything was going to be okay. The Secret Service was there…it was something I'll never forget."
Kitty brought over a glass of cold milk and listened as her son told his tales of life in Africa and the world of photojournalism. The hours sped by and she forgot to make dinner. "Oh my…your father's going to be upset."
"Mom, let me take you guys out. You shouldn't have to cook. We can spend more time this way." Kitty looked uncertain. "Well, your father should be pulling up any minute. We'll ask him."
"I say anytime my boy wants to buy me a steak – I shouldn't be a dumbass." Red declared as he tucked his napkin on this lap. "I was talking about you with some of the suits down at the hardware store. They couldn't believe that my boy got some of the footage of that airplane crash."
Eric looked at his dad. It sounded like praise but with Red Forman, you could never be sure. "I guess I just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time."
Red smiled. "You did good son. You stuck it out in Africa and got your teacher certificate. You have a future ahead of you and I don't have to worry anymore."
"Wait, you were worried about me?"
Kitty patted Eric's hand. "Son, we always worry about you. We worry about your sister too, lord knows where she is. But you are growing up and we couldn't be more proud."
Eric digested that piece of information. His dad was praising him and it felt good! Maybe he should come home more often!
The next Saturday, Kitty drug out the photo albums so Eric could see pictures of what he missed while he was gone. He saw a picture of Kelso sticking the rhino-horn out of his ear that New Year's Eve. The same New Year's he went back to Africa. Best decision he ever made even though his heart was breaking.
There was a picture of Donna and Jackie against the backdrop of what must have been Donna's dormitory. Fez was acting like a monkey in the background and Eric smiled. He touched Donna's face and wondered how much she hated him in this picture. If she only knew how much he had to leave Point Place and find his way in life. Donna still went to Madison with or without him – Eric guessed her priorities hadn't changed either.
There were some photos of his Dad barbecuing and drinking beer wearing a pointed birthday hat and scowling at the camera. Eric laughed, his mom loved taking pictures. That was probably some latent gene he inherited from her.
His mom poked her head into the living room. "Oh honey, I have a surprise for lunch. One of your old friends will be joining us." Eric smiled and prayed it would be Fez. He missed the old brown comedian and could use a good laugh these days.
A/N: The historical events are real – who is the author to say that maybe someone like an Eric Forman wasn't also there at these major events? Everything else is fictitious – well except for Kitty Forman making the worlds best brownies!