1: A Postscript

"Deep Woods" - by Paul Turner Sargent - (1880-1946)
"Deep Woods" - by Paul Turner Sargent - (1880-1946)

Our furry friends have lessons they can teach us in the most unexpected ways at times. Shall we call these SquirreLessons and see what we derive from them?

First let me mention that my friend and fellow Hubber, Suny51, started me thinking recently when he visited my hub, Paranoid or Just Plain Squirrellyand left a charming comment which I enjoyed immensely. He described sitting among his flowers and trees while squirrels approached almost near enough to reach out and touch! What a visual!  Thank you again, Sumy!

That commnet not only reminded me that my squirrel episodes may be incomplete, but it stirred a particular remembrance of something which happened so many years ago, I'd almost forgotten it! It was also a personally poignant remembrance involving the furry creatures.

I began to recall various details about it and some revelations resulting from that experience with squirrels when I was a new bride of 22 and was visiting my new husband's large extended family in his home territory of Southern Indiana for the very first time that September in 1954.

Come along with me .. . .

A starry-eyed Bride

I designed and made the wedding ensemble.
I designed and made the wedding ensemble.

And so my Fairy Tale began

Of course I was a typical new bride, full of left-over dreams of girlhood, hope in a hope-chest, lyrical visions out of Brides magazine and had also familiarized myself enough with Town and Country to be able to visualize just the proper attire to wear for a country ball, a stroll or a trek in the woods if woods turned out to be the country to be strolled, not that I had the slightest what that really involved!

But after all, I was fastidious and fashionable, and though I was provided no information about what to plan for regarding what we'd be doing and where we'd be going, I knew that my trousseau met basic protocol and it should be appropriate for any occasion which might arise, or at least, I thought it was; - well, except for that one silk dinner dress I hadn't quite finished making.  I did think to  bring it and my Featherlite portable machine along and was actually expecting probably to need the dress and to be able to get it finished. Brides are not generally known for being practical in every way!

As it turned out, expecting to EVER wear that dress or to need to finish it would prove absurd in this new life I'd enered. But please let me emphasize that I was more than willing to alter or abandon those trivial expectations for the sake of the marriage. My major vision was focused upon being a worthy woman who would work toward becoming the best possible wife and mother I could be, if I should be blessed with children. Meanwhile I was intent on being the good wife.

I know. I was pretty naive. So were the times, I suppose, though every gal I knew wasn't quite so ridiculously idealistically like-minded, certainly, but neither was I regarded as a freak!. In any case, it just didn't occur to me that the earnest desire and resolve to fulfill that ideal could fail to make my vision blossom into reality. I do sometimes marvel at the degree of naivete I harboured,

My exposure to glamour in college and in my work was superficial and minimal in importance in my eyes compared to those lofty ideals. Having a serious contemplative mindset, coupled with a generous smattering of creativity and joyful disposition made it simple to "go for it". Soon other more oppressive external pressure would fortify my own resolve. But at this juncture, I was simply inspired by my own high expectation for myself. 22 in 1954 would probably translate to about 12 or so in today's world..

Also being accustomed to complying to others' demands and expectations, having been the youngest of 4 in my family, merely intensified the clear view of my ideals and helped prepare me for the next development. A major tragedy which took the lives of the eldest of my siblings and her family played a large part in both my misjudgments and my fierce determination to meet my own standards. They WERE my own misjudgments as well as my own set of ideals, a risky combination at best. But all these factors went into strengthening my dedication and fortifying my perseverance to meet ungodly pressures with fortitude beyond the outskirts of sensible self-preservation, by calling out every resource within me.. Even when out to be required to be literally willing to try even to alter who I was, that is what I tried to do. Of course through that, I learned one cannot successfully do that, however willing to try. It proved me to me as nothing else could have.

I had, of course, misjudged most everything and misplaced my loyalty and dedication. I chose the wrong husband for, as it turned out, for the wrong reasons. My only excuse is good intentions and stubborn determination. Ah, so.

The net result was that sometimes, as I was to learn, even the most sincere willingness at that deep a level is simply not enough and then the failure to recognize that it's doomed from the get-go becomes one's own full responsibility for whatever may have followed or does continue to follow, if it's left unresolved.

I also learned that fully accepting that responsibility is what finally saves and frees one from impossible demands and life-sucking predicaments born out of one's poor choices as well as from permitting them to continue and to expand or to be perpetuated by anyone else.

Accepting that responsibility allows one to rectify it, as well as to preserve the true self one is and should become. It's an oversimplification, of course. And that It need not take a toll on anyone else who is also willing to own up to his/her responsibility is a fact. That fact, however, one also learns, is not something one can control or even influence, because it IS the responsibility of that other person. No amount of sorrow, self-sacrifice or accepting or dealing out wrongful treatment can lift one's own or anyone else's own burden of responsibility. Only by accepting it for what it truly is can it ever be lifted so that life can truly blossom. In the final analysis, one must do what must be done and let others do theirs.

But I'd not intended to wax philosophical at all, but simply to tell another rather charming squirrel story, so let me digress no further than necessary to set it up and get on with telling it!

Please continue to bear with me. . .

A military ceremony - not what you're thinking ;-)
A military ceremony - not what you're thinking ;-)

Reality set in

But this is not the featured story. It's just beiing mentioned in order to set up the contrast of my illusions and my reality which was just beginning to unfold at the time of the squirrel incident which IS the featured story here!

I had only recently graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics and a minor in Fashion Design and Art when I met my future husband in Houston where I worked in a glamorous prestigious downtown store as a Bridal Consultant, and where wealthy brides-to-be and retinues of families and friends came from all around Texas and other countries, especially south of the US, to find and buy the most beautiful expensive gowns available, as well as their trousseaux and all their wedding parties' finery. My work involved all phases and the coordinating which I so loved, with wonderful clothes and bridal arrangements with which to work.  But it involved such all-consuming application of myself and my talents that i scarcely had time to do anything else. I was happy enough with it as it was.

My future husband was a cadet at the nearby Air Force base. I was urged into meeting him because my roommate and her fiance felt I needed a social life. He had a bearing, a charisma and an emphatic drive which impressed me, though they didn't necessarily attract or magnetize me.

But though in retrospect we obviously had little in common nor solid grounds on which to build beyond dancing well together, still there was to soon happen that major tragedy in my life which knocked my foundations out from under me and which drew me closer to his confident strength and which provided him a position in my life which surely would never have happened otherwise. I mistook strength for character, confidence for substance and I totally failed to verify anything resembling real compatibility. Plus I ignored caution and advice from his detractors, including even those who had introduced us and my parents, whose own grief had shaken their foundations at the death of their eldest and dearest daughter and her family

For me it was a kind of rebound situation, but certainly it was not the usual kind. Even my own inner warnings and occasional retreats from it failed to prevent my headlong plunge into what turned out to be disaster.

But whatever storybook aspects there were or might ever have been, on that chilly mid-September morn following that marital plunge I took on the 10th, any story-book illusions were about to be exposed and would hit the ground with a thud much like the squirrels he liked to shoot from tree branches and carry back as trophies, which I truly abhorred in my heart of hearts!

This episode with squirrels which follows was but a tiny preview of the next 18 years of my life and that marriage. However, it bears sharing for its own really special moments.

. . . as you will see . . .

In heels, hat, & holding the gloves-arriving in Indiana
In heels, hat, & holding the gloves-arriving in Indiana

Worlds apart

It happened to be squirrel hunting season and he was an avid lifelong hunter. Now, squirrel season excitement is probably second only to Hoosier Hysteria basketball in Indiana, and both were pretty new to me, and especially at the pitch to which the enthusiasm for them rises there, in the case of basketball, it's in the closed gyms' ear-splitting punishment and in the case of squirrel season's, it's in my pure antipathy goes with deliberately shoot these little creatures.

Let me mention without apology that, In my maturity and through diligent study, I have developed some limited tolerance for the practice within specific parameters, especially related to larger animals whose very survival is at stake when their proliferation outgrows their habitat to a danger point and they can be protected best by supervised culling of their numbers in order that more of their species can survive, rather than dying of painful starvation and predation due to depletion of food, weakness, loss of teeth and seriously ill health. But it is a tenuous balance, at best and must never be taken lightly. I detest killing for "sport", and more so when there no sport to it, but merely manipulated violence toward helpless animals, which it becomes in many cases. That is an abomination, in my opinion.


The combined relentless noise here is ear-splittinig!
The combined relentless noise here is ear-splittinig!

A fateful Juxtaposition

So it was that he expected and insisted I attend the high school championship basketball tournaments, too. Though I love watching good games, particularly when I know the teams or have real interest in them - and when not being physically punished by the experience or pressured to "enjoy", the bottom line was that those I was forced to attend over the years were mostly punishing.

But the immediate challenge to be faced on my honeymoon was the expectation and insistence that I must accompany him into the woods for the First Day of Squirrel Season. This is an almost sacred ritual there. And I was literally expected to - no, required to go with him into the woods that first day of squirrel season armed with a gun which I was provided. It was the first gun I ever even held and it had not been among my trousseau accessories for very good reason!  I didn't want one!

Furthermore, the real kicker was that I was expected to like all of  it as much as he obviously did! That was definitely where it got sticky and clearly illustrated how little we had in common - and seemingly how little he cared so long as I complied. Frankly, a better provision for my excursion and a more loving one, if I had to go at all, would have been some sort of battery-operated heater or even a blanket in lieu of the gun!  At the same time I honestly know of nothing that  I could have done more to express my willingness and to honor what I could understand of his preferences, short of grabbing the gun and shooting squirrels.

 However that is not the issue. One could truthfully say no one was at fault - except either or both of us for the misjudgment of our compatibility.   I had no control over his, but i did over mine. I had to take hold of it eventually with as much determination and dignity as was left me when it finally became unavoidable and clear that there was no hope. Another story, of course. Not for here and now.

But it was clear from the beginning that he really knew very little about me or what I needed or preferred and that it was immaterial to him, except perhaps he'd noticed that I preferred to try to be a good wife and he was willing to encourage that.  . I must simply have missed some specifics in Home Economics classes as well as overlooking them among Solomon's lists of required wifely virtues. But I never saw or heard that shooting things for fun was among a good wife's list of requirements. But short of that, I summoned my best determinations and accompanied him into the woods, feeling as though I wee surely already the hostage of Little Red Riding Hood's big bad fox or at least of Snow White's evil stepmother!  I was hungry too and didn't even have a shiny red poisoned apple to consider eating.

Perhaps to him taking me with him that day represented a sincere effort to include me in his favorite activities, and so to share his life with me from the most visceral level.. I would have much preferred to finish my unfinished silk dress with or without an occasion for wearing it or just to stay back at the house with the other women and sip coffee while trying to get acquainted with them.  In any case, the woods that day was to be the first, last and only invitation to accompany him on thousands more such expeditions during our marriage, often lasting for days and weeks at a time and sometimes to fish or catch poisonous snakes as well as to hunt for anything living that was legal to kill..  

Again, ample evidence that our priorities and principles were out of sync.

But so began the tragi-comedy involving this day's early encounter which included squirrels and which I am about to relate. . . (promises, promises!) I really am!  Still with me?. . .


Continued: Please see next segment of this story. Click-> 2: Post Postscript

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saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Nell if our hindsight was taken at the time of such a huge decision as marriage, many of us would have saved the expense, heartache and headaches of having to divorce. I to was married for 18 years to a woman of split personality. If only I had listen to my brain instead of to my rampant hormones and sexual desires. I paid the price and it was costly in to many ways to detail here. Nevertheless we carried on playing the role of husband and wife and went through some similar situations as you described in yours. I almost felt I was walking in your shoes but of course from a man's pair. hah. I look forward to reading more to find out more about where the squirrels continue to play a part in this fiasco. Great read, and you looked great in that wedding gown, very lovely woman indeed. I rate this UP for awesomeness and beauty.

msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

I love that you keep repeating that you took responsibility for your life, Nellieanna.

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SilverGenes 6 years ago

Nellieanna, there is so much in here that is so sweet, poignant, funny, sad, earnest that it's hard to know where to begin. I do love the photos of you. Your sparkle has never faded. I think you were married the day my sister was born - September 10, 1954. Marilyn Bell swam Lake Ontario that day and Hurricane Hazel was soon to follow. They really were innocent times. I can just see you out in the woods, doing your best to be a good wife but seriously wishing for Snow White's apple. This should be going into your memoirs which of course, you are writing! ;-)

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

I really liked this hub as I can so identify with it. I also married and was so idealistic. Boy, I am now single and so happy and so realistic now.

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SilverGenes 6 years ago

I forgot to mention how much I liked the paintings you chose on both the Postscript hubs. The colours really pop and it looks great on my monitor!

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Hello, Nellieanne, and thank you for a wonderful hub. I think you have a important point being compatible and this the point we mostly overlook and yet it is the most important point. I too got married and divorced and to me it is hell and still is. You wrote about so many points and so clearly which made me see a lot of my own life. Your wedding dress is fantastic and you look beautiful. Thank you again for comprehensive and inspiring hub.

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

It's interesting, isn't it, how we set out to do one thing and something else consumes us entirely? I'm itching to go read the squirrel story but I have been diverted by all manner of things in this hub...you made a lovely bride...you tried so hard to be a good wife even at the cost of your principles...you learnt from your mistakes eventually...and had the courage to move on. This is so you, Nellieanna. :)

And now for those squirrels...

M Selvey, MSc profile image

M Selvey, MSc 6 years ago from United Kingdom

Nellieanna, it is amazing how many things you can do! Your wedding dress is beautiful! I will continue reading to the next segment but it is a shame that your husband was determined to mold you into something that you were not rather than seeing and appreciating the beautiful, talented person you are!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ken, I know where you're coming from. The sheer weight and effects of a bad choice of a mate is beyond estimation. In any one of those 18 years - - or of however many any badly paired couple (or one of them!!) must endure it, there is almost a lifetime of incredible anqjuish there. Tthere were some good moments, and those of us who are inherently positive try to remember those, but the fact is that just being in a futile marriage and knowing you are, being constantly reminded - even if you grow numb to it at times - is overwhelmng. Well -my hero during a lot of those years was The Birdman of Alcatraz, so that sort of sums it up. My own committment to being there not only in the usual "for the sake of the children", but under an actual threat and duress of consequences for both them and myself, held me as surely as invisible bars and virtual isolation did.

Relative degrees of misfit and kinds of misfortune that mark a bad marriage are not the issue because ANY degree or kind being experienced is excruciating for those involved. It's not gender specific, though ways it plays out take advantage of gender vulnerabilities and consequences, though many are surprisingly similar.

I feel very fortunate in many ways because of being able to bring from that whole ordeal many lessons and values which I might never have known otherwise. It can be likened to the difference between raw iron ore and steel,in having been melted with an intene heat and pressure to become more firm and better developed, primarily one's own best qualities. If one is fortunate enough to avoid developing one's least good ones - or worse - taking on those of the other person, then one has won big.

Isn't it a shame, with all the training given for being fully cognizant and proficient in every skill and mastery of everything from math and grammar to the humanities and the sciences, that it hasn't occurred to anyone to teach people how to choose a life partner, how to be one, and how to nurture the relationship and both oneself and the other to be all each can be? With all the tests and efficiency level requirements in those fields before being licenced to actually practice in them, why hasn't anyone thought to train and test both partners about to embark on marriage BEFORE licensing them to practice? When it comes to parenting skills, there should be some sort of fitness required BEFOREHAND. Again, not everyone should be allowed to get married, at least not to eadh other, which opens another kind of fitness testing for specific compatibility. - Certainly not everyone is equipped to be a parent and agan - it's usually a two-parent situation in which THEY specifically need to be compatible in parenting too.

Thanks for your great comments, Ken I knew you'd key in to what I wrote. Nothing maudlin or pity-partying about it. Just the reality of it and the good that can and must be derived from it if one is to live a satisfying, productive life. I feel sure that your story has given courage to others or has at least made them thankful. You're fine steel and honed as a result of going through the fire. That's the main thing, isn't it, not the grueling process but the successful results!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Melinda - you got the main message, accepting one's responsibility for having made massive errors in judgment or in application of judgment.

One learns that fully accepting it is the ony way to overcome them and prevent repitition. It replaces whatever weakness or illusions whic hallowed them with with courage and the means of overcooming them to take control of one's life and choices, bring clarity to what one had been been confusing and unawareness of one's own power of choice, and more proficiency in exerting it. If it also brings wisdom and serenity rather than overreaction and overcompensation, all the better. Unfortunately sometimes those are the result and other problems get stirred up caused by too much aggressiveness or defensiveness. But at least of responsibility is being taken for those too, there is a better chance of a real solution evolving.

Or if it turns out that one can't handle sharks, then the best choice is to stay well back on the shore. That is not a coward's way out but common sense ruling wisely. Everything at its base is a choice. And choice = responsibility for it. So simple but sometimes so hard to learn and apply!

One needn't dwell on the unpleasantness, just face facts to learn from the experience and possibly to touch others' who are facing it. There are often consequences and losses that can't be fully undone but that may be modified and surely must be avoided in the future. Therefore they need to be fully understood and anticipated as much as possible. Anyway - it's not always easy but it's usually fairly simple if one gets the hang of it! LOL It sure does no good to kid oneself.

Thanks for your great and meaningful comments!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

SG - you're so gracious! I appreciate you more than I can say! That's interesting how many memorable events occurred on that day!! Oh yes - it was a vivid experience for me that day in the woods too I guess I am writing memoirs in a way. Funny but the prospect of deliberately writing memoirs is intimidating but just writing the stuff that would be in them isn't. I seriously debated about publishing these two hubs and even after I did, when I left the PC to catch up on neglected stuff, I nearly ran back and unpublished them, wiith all kinds of doubts and reasons running through my mind. I'm becoming stronger at clicking the "publish now" button but sometimes second thoughts happen. It's sort of fun and interesting to see myself as an observer going through that. I'm naturallly more comfortable quietly doing my thing than I am at putting it forth. There's always a question of whether I'm being foolhardy or finally getting with it. Then come thoughts like - 'what the heck?' or 'if it's silly, so what?' and so forth. . . I've certainly gone through other metamorphises in my time!! haha Anyway there is something sort of fun about watching one's own first baby steps at any age or any level. it makes me smile! Just now, I went away to put laundry in the dryer, still thinking about this. I had to laugh out loud because while thinking how nice it was of you to say "this should be going into your memoir which of course, you are writing" I recalled sooooooo many instances when I've heard "you should write" or "you should be a writer" - (and also things like you should paint/be a painter or design/be a designer") and remembering thinking 'I DO write! What do you think this IS? What am I now, sliced bread?' etc. Of course what they meant was really that I "should" publish and sell what I do and become recognized by someone other than themselves! haha. But what a vast difference between those messages and yours! I cannot begin to tell you how gratifying that is! By the way, by way of opposite example: I play-at the piano and have done so all my life with only slight improvement. I love doing it, it's been a life-saver for me in many ways and it's not totally intolerable to hear, but no one ever says I should be a pianist or be on concert, although that would be an accurate implication because I'm not a pianist and it would be meaningful & a step forward were I to become one! There may be only subtle differences in messages but they are major ones. Almost the difference between personified and being objectified. Anyway -thank you so much. That was gratifying!

Thanks, my friend. And yes! Isn't that artist great! There are several more of his paintings whch thrill me, too. I just happened across them and was so excited. Just a local artist, apparently, but he captured such spirit of the scens he painted.So you're using one as your monitor background? Is that right? What fun. :-)

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Healing Touch - Since I didn't know you or your background I popped over to your site to meet you. And I was so impressed! You write with such ease and grace and your service work sounds just awesome. I clicked becoming your follower and left you some fan mail. You have a sincere admirer! I'm also happy for your personal epiphany. After my first marriage's failure, I was happily single too, and after awhile I married my soulmate. We were together 30 good years, 25 of them with matrimonial sanction. He passed away almost 2 years ago and is missed more than words can say. So the message is to find the right ones to be with, including one's own self. Nothing wrong with being single. Other than missing my George, I'm quite happy being single. I consider myself an optimistic realist and also a realistic optimist. I expect the best but "keep my powder dry" as they said in the distant past, It describes it well. Once one has learned from having been unrealistic, it's hard to overlook what is real! But I love to draw the good reality to me and I suppose it helps to be able to greet it with optimism. Anyway - it's nice to know it's not just either/or.

I truly appreciate your reading and commenting on my hub! You can expect me over on yours too!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

hello, hello - thank YOU. It's alwasy a pleasure to see you and read your comments. Yes compatibility is essential for a good relationship to endure and thrive. And it's not really something one can "make up". It's either present or it's not. So it is vital to be sure of it BEFORE becoming committed to a person and the relationship. You'd think it would be easier to spot with the more relaxed way people "date" these days, but I suppose that if one is blinded by other factors that are involved as well - the attraction, the status, the "fun" and other reasons people get together, that they are just as much smoke-screens now as ever. Maybe some divorces are averted by more people not bothering to get married. LOL. But marriage is also a kind of business contract and a license to run it. So there is a lot riding on choosing someone whom one can work with in it, as well as someone personally suited and liked. It's a lot to think about and so often in the throes of romance people don't think very clearly. As you describe it, though, it is hell when it runs amuck. And it's almost guaranteed to if its a mismatch. And, would you believe it, I'd have continued no matter the hell if circumstances had not forced my hand. That is an even more sinister chapter of it. And also as you say - hell continues in some form or another. It isn't a one-time incident. In my case, it has been the fulfillment of the threat that kept me keeping on no matter what - the loss of my children. Well, my daughter returned to me but my preciouos first-born son has been estranged now for 38 years. That is hell with a capital H. And my poor daughter's life was affected by it too. All I can say is --- well - more chapters. You understand. But one person each of us must pull out of the fire is ourself. It's our job and one we can't relinquish no matter what. Thank you for the compliments! That wedding dress was used by a couple of other kinswomen and I reworked the parts that were damaged by the multiple uses and even wore it again myself for another kind of function years later. I still have it and it's still an amazing dress. Swiss embroidered organdy. I designed it as a project in my college design course and got the fabric and made the pattern. Then I made the dress when I was ready to use it (or made that fateful plunge, I should say!) Since it was so summery a fabric, i decided to line it with slightly off-white silk shantung to give it a bit of an ivory look. The cumberbund and headpiece were made of the shantung. I made the veil as well. It was a stunning dress, I thought and I'm glad you noticed it and telllng me so. Most of all - I appreciate you coming by!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

FP - I always value your comments so greatly. Last night I was thinking about what a gracious soul you are. It was in connection with your deliverate concern for folks' feelings when you make it your policy never to call attention to even a tiny typo publicly which might embarrass the person. It is truly a hallmark of the gentle caring person you are. I don't make it a practice to do that but have done so on rare occasion. Your fine example, which should be for all, inspires me to never do it under any circumstances. Takes a little more effort to address it privately, but that should be the measurement of its worth doing it Thank you for that!

And very many thanks for taking time to read the hub and sharing your comments. My goal of being a good wife WAS the cornerstone of my principles, though, so I could justifu modifying lesser ones in its pursuit. However, two things clarified: One, I couldn't relinquish other vital principles or values. Even during the most extreme challenge of that, which fortunately, didn't last long before the end blew it all up, but I'd concluded that I could not sacrifice my being in order to meet a certain requirement, but I couldn't fail to meet the requirement, either. I chose a modification of a principle to resolve the dilemma. It was a small price to pay for a very large issue and came close to delaying the end of the marriage. However I realize that the way it ended was not the end he had planned, in which I'd simply have become a non-issue for him to be free to do whatever he wanted with what it gained him. It just happened that he overstepped and put his plan at risk enough that it took a different turn which resulted in my still being here.

But I had become convinced, anyway, that NOTHING I could ever do or refrain from doing would be able to satisfy what I realized was a neurotic need in him - for control, power, approbation, some kind of love only a superbeing or a non-being could supply, and an incredible greed that could never be filled - at least, not by this person. I also realized I had a responsibility which only I could fulfill to myself and to my children, if they allowed me to. Their wellbeing had been my main impetus all those years.

But he managed to destroy that & to make them believe he was their only choice in order to fulfilled his original threat that had held me captive, that if I ever defied him or left him, I would lose them - and this was the result of his own deed, not mine. It just happened to free me when my brother stepped in to stop the plan that had been prepared for me. My ex's error was announcing it to my brother, thinking it would clear him of liabiity for what he had in mind for me. Another chapter.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

FP - I always value your comments so greatly. Last night I was thinking about what a gracious soul you are. It was in connection with your deliverate concern for folks' feelings when you make it your policy never to call attention to even a tiny typo publicly which might embarrass the person. It is truly a hallmark of the gentle caring person you are. I don't make it a practice to do that but have done so on rare occasion. Your fine example, which should be for all, inspires me to never do it under any circumstances. Takes a little more effort to address it privately, but that should be the measurement of its worth doing it Thank you for that!

And very many thanks for taking time to read the hub and sharing your comments. My goal of being a good wife WAS the cornerstone of my principles, though, so I could justifu modifying lesser ones in its pursuit. However, two things clarified: One, I couldn't relinquish other vital principles or values. Even during the most extreme challenge of that, which fortunately, didn't last long before the end blew it all up, but I'd concluded that I could not sacrifice my being in order to meet a certain requirement, but I couldn't fail to meet the requirement, either. I chose a modification of a principle to resolve the dilemma. It was a small price to pay for a very large issue and came close to delaying the end of the marriage. However I realize that the way it ended was not the end he had planned, in which I'd simply have become a non-issue for him to be free to do whatever he wanted with what it gained him. It just happened that he overstepped and put his plan at risk enough that it took a different turn which resulted in my still being here.

But I had become convinced, anyway, that NOTHING I could ever do or refrain from doing would be able to satisfy what I realized was a neurotic need in him - for control, power, approbation, some kind of love only a superbeing or a non-being could supply, and an incredible greed that could never be filled - at least, not by this person. I also realized I had a responsibility which only I could fulfill to myself and to my children, if they allowed me to. Their wellbeing had been my main impetus all those years.

But he managed to destroy that & to make them believe he was their only choice in order to fulfilled his original threat that had held me captive, that if I ever defied him or left him, I would lose them - and this was the result of his own deed, not mine. It just happened to free me when my brother stepped in to stop the plan that had been prepared for me. My ex's error was announcing it to my brother, thinking it would clear him of liabiity for what he had in mind for me. Another chapter.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

margit - - thank you! I wonder how many people - boys and girls - go through the experience of not being very sure who they really are and whether they can really DO anything well enough to be counted. I did. I was overshadowed by grown siblings, all of whom did know who THEY were and what they could do well. I always did a lot of things and in retrospect I was a pretty accomplished kid. But I had no sense of being one. I'd made doll clothes and Mother required me to make a quilt block to earn show money, which was only 10 cents entry! I had a feeling for sewing, but Mother and my eldest sister were great seamtresses and even my brainy sister was good at slipcovers and practical sewing projects. But when my brother was due to return from army service in the Philippines after WWiI, I wanted to design and make a special dress to greet him home. I did it - and it was not all that good but I was proud of it and I was only barely 13. I decided to apply myself to getting good.and started to study every book I could find about every technique and method. I thought about doing it and "did" it in my head and practice. I examined "ready-made" clothes for clues. I'd always watched Mother sew and became more attentive. She preferred teaching by example anyway. So I got better! When I was 14 I decided to make a fully tailored suit. Mother let me get a Vogue Designer pattern and supported my efforts the whole summer it took to accomplish it. It was truly a well-made beautiful lady's tailored suit. After that I KNEW more who I was and KNEW absolutely that I could DO something well. Over a lifetime I've made more clothes and other things than I can hardly remember. It was my first-love in a sense of accomplishment. I've loved to read and write all my life and they feel like doing what "comes naturally" though they require applying myself, too. My next most gratifying accomplishment is my web site because it, too, calls for both technical and creative juices and even incorporates other areas of "doing things" I enjoy. I guess one never totally fulfilled is as long as one takes breath, huh?

As far as being molded, perhaps I sounded too passive. He did miss knowing me, I guess. But I was "there" all along. I suspect he saw and knew but was uncomfortable with it. Hard to say. Well - too MUCH to say and needs to go into the book. lol

Thank you for your special thoughts and attention. I appreciate you.

Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago

Hey Nellie!

Ending on a cliffhanger? What a tease!

Your discussion of responsibility is nearly existentialist.

Making the wrong choices in life is certainly frightening, as we have so little of life. For better or worse, everything is so connected that every good thing that occurs after those wrong choices would likely not have happened without them. Nature's way of rebuking regret.

Catch you in the sequel! hehe

Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago

P.S. I was just reading your reply to saddlerider, and I was reminded of an essay I read in an Ethics textbook that proposed parents require a license before they can have children. Despite the issues of practicality (do you sterilize the failures?!) there's also the issue of freedom. It's a great idea to teach finding a partner and being a good partner, but requiring the passing of tests is getting into totalitarian territory. You can't legislate goodness, kindness, or intelligence, unfortunately. To try to do so is risking a 1984 scenario. Without freedom no-one will have the opportunity to understand that responsibility you discuss so eloquently.

Oh, and I love the old photos you include. Are they all of you?

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

A.W. - thanks for the thoughtful and thought provoking comments.

I suppose it is existentialistic. I'm wary of "ism" labels because even if they seem to fit a part of one's perspective, they can't encompass it all, plus the all and its parts are probably in flux most of the time anyway, if one is alive, aware and somewhat responsive. Being a little batty may contribute as well.

But yeah - people are responsible whether or not they know, believe or accept it. Cosequenes almost invariably do "come around" once set going around and up back to haunt the sender and all contributors as befits what was set in motion. But of course - so right - the network and progression of cause and effect continues to move linearly, laterally and radially and there's no exact accounting for the original source(s) or choice(s) which may have set it/them off and going around.

Makes it almost imperative to bring a force beyond self into the picture, some sort of coordinator or general manager, whether it be thought of as God, nature or Accident - whatever, and I have no preference, but there seem to be impersonal-to-oneself forces exerting cause-and-effect on various things in progress at any given time(s). I'm comfortably past chid-bearing age (and no need to marry) to be free to look at it all from multiple perspectives and to latch on to none or all of them simultaneously while still keeping my feet on the ground, so to speak.

In any case, regret is such a tiresome, awkward, ponderous, unproductive thingy anyway. It needs rebuking and rebuttleing from any and all sources. I can rebuke it all by m'self. And I have the scars to prove it.

Forgive me. I'm high on life, Ozarka water and 100 degree temperature. And somehow I feel I can expose my sillly side to you. Why is that? Perhaps it's a skill you picked up from monk training when they weren't stoking your guilt?

About the Ethics and other major issues of requiring people to measure up to any standard, and probably especially in the realm of what God has joined together being non-asunderable, (hehe) yes - that's a very sticky wicket. But still - no one gets bent out of shape due to having to pass a Graduate Records Exam (is that what's still used - been awhile since I took one!) - to get into grad school. I know that when the measurements get more personal, though - not just mind contents beinig examined - or even not just body requirements for, say, blood donating (they'd have to rule out blood laced with bad chemicals or germs - or even having insufficient red blood cells or too many white ones!) and people accept that probing into their personal rights, but if it gets anywhere near sex and reproduction freedom, everyone becomes strong advocates of moral ethics involved and especially of endangerment of personal freedom and right to choose - as well they should.

I must admit I would oppose such requirement for myself for most of the usual reasons and you stated the important ones well.

But it is sensible, when one thinks about it. The 1984 picture was mistimed perhaps but arose from a sense of the direction the populace is allowing to move by their own lack of accountabiity and willingness to buy into glitz and go for anything touted as FREE even if it's obviously a trap! Orwell (or was it Wells - not Orson but H.G?) must also have noticed that the eventuality would approach when people get too irresponsible to think for themselves, - that a power of some sort WILL take over the chore and will surely find more efficient ways to resolve a lot of resultant problems created by irresponsibility, from excess garbage ('cut down on people, cut down on their garbage' kind of reasoniing, for instance) to housing shortages (same solution) and to many other such mundane but threatening problems when allowed to overgrow the parameters of the given globe on which we've been cultivated from its dust. Not that it's the only resolution to those kinds of problems though.

I does occur to me that more effective self-control would to wonders to eliminate the need or place for external controls to step in and evolve into some kind of totalitarian rule.

So it's sort of a case of "if you don't want the tests -then rise above the need for tests by being your own effective regulator. In other words, be more sensibly responsible yourselves, folks!" Or something along those lines.

I'm so in favor of freedom to self-direct all the way - meaning it needs to be effective and working and so long as it must live among others with the same freedoms, it has to be considerate of more than the end of its nose- or whatever projectile is involved. So even more emphatic than your closing sentence in the paragraph about this: without first the understanding of the responsibiity and using the opportunity to demonstrate it which having it earns, - freedom is doomed at the onset. When it reaches the "tilt" level, it will overtake itself unless we ourselves keep it in balance realistically. We are so lulled by the ease with which reality is maniipulated by digital art and vivid imagiinations - which is all fun as ART - but generations are coming along who don't even question what is real and what is art because to them - they really are interchangeable - especially with those adept texting thumbs at the side of their hands and the freedom to play all day and night if they want without having to stop to wash a dish or do much else. But our species is going to need to get our horses and carts lined up logically. Sometimes it alnost looks like they're felt to be a choice - that the cart can pull the horse. But in practice the idea falls through. See my point? I'm sure you do!

This freedom to think out of the box is priceless - it creates new boxes and non boxes in profusion - it carries the mind beyond the limits of mere reality. I love it - I'm sort of a denizon of it my own self. But one has to be able to distinquish the difference between some reality and some that's not.

Yes of course the photos are of me - except for trees, squirrels and basketball players, of course. Snapped in 1954 @ the tender age of 22. Not the best photography. I think I looked somewhat better - in reality - lol But other photos from that time period in which I do look better had no connection whatsoever with the story in progress in the hub & I couldn't seem to devise an excuse for posting them anyway; so I didn't insert them just for that other purpose -hehe. Had I known you'd be looking at them, I might have reconsidered though. Thanks for the nice compliment.

Thanks especially for your good comments, Arthur. It's reassuring to know you read with perception. With youngsters like you around, I think I can lay me down to sleep without worrying how things will go on without my off-beat wisdom and lengthy hubs. hahaha Right now I may be too drowsy to have replied in intelligible form but 1) I trust you to make sense out of it if there's any material to make it from and 2) I'm fine with discussing it further any time! These are important things to consider and a blithe or even a gutsy statement would never fully cover or conclude the issues involved. What is best about living is being able to keep thinking about it all so long as one does (live) - one hopes.

Of course the mind cannot really turn inward to think about itself and that may sometimes be where the blockage to solutions exists, I don't know. So far, so good with mine/mind. I think (Therefore I am? - hahaha)

I'll go see if anyone has read the Post Postscript. ;-)

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Oh, kind Nellieanna, you are the one who deserves to be called gracious, the way you take the time and effort to make a meaningful response to every comment that comes your way. :)

Arthur Windermere profile image

Arthur Windermere 6 years ago

Of course! Of course it's you in the photos hehe I was sure you'd said you never got to wear the dress, so I'd just assumed it was a model (hear that? A model!) you'd gotten to wear the dress. You're going to have to find an excuse to share more of your old photos, Nellie. :D

Thanks for addressing the issue in depth. You know I admire your mind and I had no trouble understanding your points. I think fundamentally I agree with you that it's really education that's needed. There's a long enough history of psychology on matters of relationships and parenting that to some extent it's teachable. In college (I had signed up for a Psychology of Sex course, but dropped out when during the first class I found that I was the only man who had taken the course! Not only that, but this was in the midst of my Catholic Fever.)

I guess my worry about legislating for marriage and reproduction is that it's tantamount to eugenics. I'm aware that 'eugenics' is a buzzword; it's been stigmatized. One still has to prove that eugenics is a bad thing. For sure there are times when I read about atrocities in the world and think, "These are people who should be sterilized." The fact is, people with low IQs (especially around 70-80) have difficulty comprehending moral responsibility. No matter what they do, they shift the blame. Testing for suitability as parents would pretty much preclude everyone with an IQ below 90 from having children. There are obvious benefits to this from a utilitarian point of view. But my softer side is uncomfortable with the idea; it goes against ethical principles of respect that I value. I think the best one could hope for is to educate these people as well as possible.

At any rate, the problems of the universe are fortunately not on my shoulders. lol

Oh, and I think you know you can be silly with me because, as we both know, I'm kind of a goofball. hehe Alright, moving to the post-postscript now. Hopefully you don't lay you don't to sleep for a good long while; we need your wit and wisdom here!

suny51 profile image

suny51 6 years ago

Nellianna mam-Now this is my turn to say -thank you ma'm,every thing else has already been said,should I go to find out another idea for you so that I sit pretty right up their on that colorful tree like that little squirrel there watching fairies, and you.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

FP - see what I mean? That's a most gracious reply! And thank you for it, sweet lady!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Suny - hahahaha! You're as witty as you are nice and good at inspiring! Thank you!! And I'll take any inspirations you throw my way!! This one has received many comments, too!! (curtsy!)

Hugs - and keep writing your lovely hubs!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah, Arthur, now I understand. No, the dress for my trousseau which I hadn't quite finished making was a simple navy blue silk dress suitable for dinner or a show. HA! "Dinner" there did not require a silk dress, (boxing gloves maybe!) but what did I know? If it had known, I would've needed that navy blue dress for THAT honeymoon, which would have been averted, I'd hope!. And of course up there a "show" was either a ball game or a walk in the woods! haha.

But I did finish the wedding dress before the wedding. Might've been better if I hadn't! Maybe I'd have thought more about going through with it and saved it for a more suitable marriage! Drat hindsight. . . .but as you mentioned previously - many of the things that have enriched my life & continue to would not have happened in that case No regrets, really. Besides I'm not inclined to pursuit of just-any-old futility without commitment to it - lol.

What a lovely lovely compliment! Surely it's not mere repentance for some long-past quilt of having tripped an old lady who rudely rejected your offer to help her cross the street! I'm vain enough to opt for its sincerity. Thank you, thank you! (You'll notice my understandubg if the principles involved in being a senior citizen who does receive valuable help AND gracious compliments when offered!) ; - ) I'm MOST gratified, though, that you "get" my mind, which may be the more difficult area to admire. I'm so sure no one could or would pretend to admire it; that it must be with sincerity! ; - > THANK YOU, kind sir.

As it happened, I did have an occasion to model the wedding dress years later. There's a picture of that (but only a shoulder-up shot), along with some other pix of me at earlier times, on my website in my Attic pages. Those pages are preceeded with pages about my family and moi as a child, but the growing up & grown up pix begin on this page & its continuation plus the next couple of pages and continuations: http://nellieanna.com/attic4.html - if you care to see. That's the best excuse to share them I can come up with on this short notice! hehe And thank you for the encouragement to!

Now I'm picturing you in that psychology-of-sex class with just gals and you in your throes of Catholic Fever (I am assuming I know what that might entail. . . trying to live up to your own ideal goals for yourself? being severely challenged to in that class environment among all those young women with lectures droning on about sex? Sounds like a challenge no less, perhaps more, than being expected by my new husband to shoot squirrels to please him in order to fulfill my aim to be a good wife! :-<

Of course the direction toward Eugenics as a reality is fast approaching and it scares the bejimmies out of me. The possible uses of it beyond its initial denying of individual freedoms in order to breed & USE people or their parts for research, etc. (in lieu of animals, which already raises moral issures) is no less far-out, "innovative", invasive and WRONG loom as real possibilities. And I almost dread it when I can so easily imagine something utterly far-out, because so many things I've imagined from early in my life onward, long before any expressions of them in reality - have become expressed in reality. It's scary as heck.

Of course those things wouldn't be pursued without someone thinking they have justified or justifiable value, possibly not weighing in the dangers in misuse. Science tends to be amoral, as imagination most frequently is. After something is imagined is when one begins to weigh it for morality and consequences and their morality. Often any choice has faded into the history book about it.

But if something is imaginable, therefore - possible, it needs to be moved from possibiity to reality, is sort of the scientific motto. That has much value, actually. It's also the major basis, perhaps, for the battle between religion and science on all fronts and in all fields.

Science tends to tolerate -even expect - religion to sort out the moralities of its discoveries while religion tends to want to stop science from discovering and then burdening it with them; wishing the blockage to be accomplished "at the pass", so to speak. Not too dumb of them, either - because once unleashed, discoveries take on lives of their own, with or without adjustments or approvals; and relgion is usually ill-equipped to do much more than adamantly re-emphasize and pontificate its basic tenets (probably already weakened by the discoveries), castigate the immorality of the discoveries and their discoverers, assign them ulterior motives (which is more typical of religion in promoting its dogmas), to keep urging and fanning the fires of faith to be practiced (as though it were a choice rather than a spontaneous response of the heart to something which seems plausible and desireabel to a person) and urging members to ignore and avoid considering of any other "facts or figures" to the contrary.

Sadly these countermeasures have done religion little good in the real battle with science (unless accompanied by strong threat or actual punishment for recalcitrant members who may feel a need to at least consider things(, it's lost some of its own thinking adherents and those it's kept are mostly ones more willing to switch off any thinking capacity or more easily intimidated.

It seems sad and wasteful to me, because religion has been and could become just the ballast needed for now and the future as science and other factors keep introducing more and more moral questions it should be able to address and still maintain the essence of faith as well as intellectual dignity. But if religion turns its back on that, not only does religion lose face, but from somewhere else will come answers sought, from sources which probably lack morality but excell in practicality, as far as possible to foresee. Lacking morality supported by faith in it, which has enjoyed the advantages of crossing many lines, keeping order - more or less - and lasting through many challenges over many eons, new solutions may come and go as quickly as - and possibly as ineffectively as - new prescriptions for heartburn and gas do now.

The practical advantages of the results of testing for parentability you point out illustrate it well, in fact. But who's to say whether this is the simply nearing the next stage of evolution, one required to be more consciously chosen rather than honed by chance and the unconscious or instinctive need to find ways & to adjust in order to survive? But the idea of choice in it doesn't 'sit right' with most of us, does it? We're appalled by hurricanes and volcanic eruptions but we are totally furious at man-made catastrophes such as the current oil spilling into the clean waters of the Gulf. As we feel we should and can be!

So we naturally reisist and really don't want to choose anything as major as our own evolutionary steps for survival and be wrong - and have to bear the burden of responsibility. I certainly don't!!

Though indeed, if wrong, perhaps there would be no need to face up to it; we may all de-evolve back to before consciousness or sense of shame evolved for our species if it went amuck. However if it were successful and became the way it "is", people would cease to question either its morality or to have further reason to applaud its practicality which would simply be the new reality since it would be resolved, unless the side-effects which hadn't been anticipated began to raise new issues to be resolved, which seems likely. At the same time it seems unlikely mankind would make the connections with previous choices which set it in motion. So far he's best demonstrated an extraordinary abilit to overlook that kind of reasoning. Otherwise it might have occurred to the "western world" why the rest-of the world resents us so. But in the realm of projections, these things can be juggled at whim and left to float around till some more productive moments. And that's what thinkers and philosophers do so well, isn't it? Yea! for us!

But possibly, the entire rise of religi

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California

LOL, Nellieanna, I haven't encountered digression like this since Swift's "A Tale of a Tub." But I am going to find out what the squirrel story is if it takes me three more hubs to get there. I am determined! lol. (Your writerly voice is fun to read anyway, so I don't mind. I'm just teasing. Oh, and you looked hella hot in that wedding dress!!!) Ok, the squirrel, there must be a squirrel coming up...

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

You're most kind, Shades! I'm delightfully flattered and devastatingly insulted at the same time. There are worse things to be, though, and in such admirable company, too! Digression has its place, does it not? Swift's went down in literary history, I believe. I've no ambition to achieve satire and stature at such a level, but it surely is enough to have caught your attention by my feeble efforts. I'm teasing too, of course. ;->

Thanks for the compliment on my 56-year-old wedding picture. Hot, huh? (you've no idea!) But there can be no guarantee of more squirrels. I may try to produce other banality to amuse you, however. Hugs and thanks for a fun comment. I expect no less from YOU!

billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Nellieanna you always right from the heart and share your lifelong experiences, the good and the band. Your writing is so easy to follow and that makes it touch the reader. There are many lessons here in responsibility, understanding and respecting others. Life throws us plenty of curve balls and it is how we react and adapt and develop from that inspires and carries us forward. I can see that reading this hub after all of your other great poems and hubs. Thanks again Nellieanna for sharing with us all.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you for such strong supportive comments, Billy. Yes, it is what one distills from experience that matters. Telling of the experiences themselves merely illustrates from whence came the distillate - of those lessons such as you mention.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, first of all I just wanted to say that they may have been innocent times, but I always think of that time as very elegant and ladylike, you look so serene and pretty here, I have watched old films and always envied women that looked and acted like you at that time. We have lost something these days, with our jeans and loudness, it was a truly feminine time, and of course I understand about choosing the wrong man! lol but we learn from our mistakes and even though we start out innocently, we soon pick up on what we do and do not like, where the squirrels are concerned, I would have felt exactly like you did, not wanting to do it, but feeling obliged, I am going over to read the rest now! thanks nell

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Aw, Nell, thank you, as a kindred spirit here. Those were rather elegant times. I loved design and had worked in a fine store as a Bridal Consultant. I studied the clothes, inside and out - and they were so beautifully constructed. I'd learned to design and sew like that. Exquisite details. Later - after 18 years, I again worked in that business and I was horrified even then to see how much things had changed, and that was still 1972, almost 40 years ago. Even then, instead of appliqued lace, it was glued on wedding gowns. Now they are more like prom dresses, if that.

It's not that clothes are so important, but they do reflect attitudes about deeper things.

Of course, it's the deeper things that matter and those are always personal choice. We can always choose the better of what's available and be sure we are, ourselves.

Thank you for your lovely comments!

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