How he saved my mind
He now has a son of his own, so he knows joy as well
It sometimes seem as though a stronger hand is guiding you
When he said to me “Don’t give me an ultimatum, you won’t like the results”, I had no clue how true that would become. My ultimatum given to him was “Marry me or we break up forever”. I expected him to say “Goodbye”, instead he said “Pick the date”. We had our ups and downs, his and my views on life didn’t quite mesh. He felt that good things happened only to the lucky, that he shouldn’t have to make an effort to see his son from a previous marriage, and cheating was not cheating if it happened in a different zip code. I disagreed.
We were married so quickly that the friends of my Mom thought for sure I was pregnant, no matter how many times it was denied, they waited for me to pop out. We took our honeymoon at his parents home in Missouri. It was a week long of, well, not so much fun. I guess he didn’t believe that newlyweds should consummate as many times as possible during the honeymoon. Prior to us being married he felt that we should get in as much sex as possible. As soon as the I Do’s were said he apparently changed his mind. I didn’t understand, it was legal now! We could do it as much as we wanted. I later found out there wasn’t nearly as much excitement for him because it was legal.
We had discussed children, I wanted kids. He told me that kids were great he wanted no less than 1 but no more than 3. I could live with that, as long as I got some kids!
Bad things happen to good people
He wasn’t mean to me in the beginning, other than holding out on me with the sex issues. He would give me sex once a month ‘whether I needed it or not’. I no longer took birth control, I thought that’s the way it worked, you got married and had kids as soon as possible. I tried to be a good wife, cooking and cleaning for him, creating new and delicious dishes to make him happy.
Every now and then we took showers together, one time he decided I needed a bar of soap in the mouth. I truly do not know why, I wasn't swearing or even back talking him, just taking a shower. He offered me a bottle of beer, I accepted and as I was taking a drink he felt the need to smack me in the back of the head, chipping my tooth a little bit. I asked him "What was that for?" He had no answer for me, he just felt like it. After we were married about two months he told me “I will never go through another divorce again, I would kill you first.” Whoa… where did that come from? I had no idea but it sure did scare me, and from the look on his face, I believed him.
Prior to us being married he liked my parents and wanted to hang out with them, after we were married, they became the enemy. He started making little comments to me about them. They liked to have a few beers here and there, that made them drunks in his eyes. He wanted no part of that, we quit going to visit together, I would go by myself.
As a wedding gift, my folks paid off my car for us, the only thing they asked was we pay our car insurance. We gave them enough for 6 months. When an argument erupted between him and my parents, they wanted to put the car in my name which meant I had to get my own insurance. He demanded they return the money we gave them. They did, taking out for 2 months. He then told me I had to sell my car, he couldn’t afford the insurance. He had insisted that I quit my job because “No wife of mine is going to work!”, so quit I did. Therefore I didn’t need a car either, if I didn’t have a job.
We sold my car and bought a van, he decided we needed to get out of dodge. He had heard there were jobs abounding in Texas working on oil wells, so that is the direction we were headed. We packed all of our belongings along with our kitten Midnight into our van and away we went. We stopped off in Missouri to see his parents, and ended up staying. They heard of a job at the local lumber yard that he would be perfect for. They felt since I didn’t have and children, I should work too. So they found me a job and even arranged rides for me, at a local shoe factory. I had high hopes for our future.
We found a place near my work that we could rent. It was a cute 1 bedroom house, that had once been a chicken coop way out in the country, we moved in right away. Within 2 months I got laid off from my job. So I sat there during the day while he worked. I didn’t have a TV (we had sold ours before moving) so I did a lot of reading from the books I did have, reading them repeatedly. From time to time he liked to wrestle, one time he almost broke my arm and then got mad because I cried. Another time I was making noodles for dinner and accidentally dumped the pan of boiling noodles on my arm, burning myself severely. He got mad at me for that too, he said we didn’t have insurance so I couldn’t go to the hospital. I treated myself, peeled the burned skin off when I could, and I had no lasting scars or infection.
When it was clear I wasn’t going to be called back to work he found a house closer to his job, so we moved yet again. He found a 3 bedroom house right in the town that he was working in, it was lovely. The only problem, it didn’t have a water heater, stove or refrigerator. We moved in anyway. He got the water heater from his work, I to this day don’t know if he ever paid for it. It was cooler weather so I stored cold foods in the shut off front room. I had to shop daily but since the store was only 5 blocks away that was no problem. I used my electric skillet and crock pot to do all of my cooking.
We finally were able to get a fridge, and he gave me $30 per week to buy groceries, out of that I had to buy 2 cartons of cigarettes, these were $6 per carton in those days. So essentially I had $18 a week for groceries. I bought a lot of hamburger since it was only .99 cents per pound, and hamburger helper. There wasn’t much money to buy other items to cook or bake with. I never really knew how much money he made, he didn’t feel it was necessary for me to know these things. When bills came due I told him, he would either give me the money to pay it, or tell me to explain to them I didn’t have the money.
Midnight our cat had grown to be a very nice cat, he was unique in that he had an extra toe, kind of like a mitten. He was an indoor cat and as most cats, he liked to explore his surroundings. Every now and then he would come to one of us with cobwebs in his whiskers. This didn’t set well with him, he didn’t feel the cat should be roaming the house, so he tied him up. He put him upstairs in the area we didn’t use, with his litter box and food. He told me that I was not to untie him, that lasted until he was out of the house. Of course I got caught, apparently the number of knots were not the same, I guess I forgot to count. The towering rage that was shown to me would soon not be forgotten. I hoped that Midnight would forgive me one day for not untying him.
I served him a bowl of pudding for dessert one night, apparently there was something in the bowl, it wasn’t clean. Rather than just tell me about this and get clean bowl, he threw it at me. I was a good ducker, it missed me and hit the wall. He told me never to serve him from a dirty dish again. I didn’t.
I did a lot of letter writing to my mom and others, I had written a letter to my Uncle a Baptist Minister and got his reply. I needed to understand what he was saying, so off I went to look for a church. It was in regards to my Grandmother being a Christian Science believer. I did a lot of walking in those days so a mile or so trek was nothing. I found a religious book store and went inside, I found a nice lady who was willing to talk to me. She was a minister and took pity on me. She was a ’visiting’ minister and was looking for a place to rent, lucky for her there was one nearby to where I lived. She soon discovered that I could ’see’ certain things and wanted me to tell her everything I saw, particularly if it was in regards to her. She wanted me to leave my husband and go off with her, I was appalled! Why would I do that, just because he was mean to me from time to time didn’t mean I should leave him. She also felt that I should not get pregnant, it would not be in my best interests. We seemed to disagree on a lot of things, and I soon found myself making excuses to not talk to her. My husband didn’t like me going to church, but as long as I didn’t include him, and found my own ride I could go. It was here that I found my future child’s name.
We finally got a stove in April and I was required to help move it. I was 2 weeks late starting my period, so I thought I might be pregnant. Shortly after moving the stove I got my period. When I told my husband about this he said “So what, we didn’t need a kid yet anyway”. I just cried. It was going to be hard for me to get pregnant only having sex once a month and I just figured my chance had come and gone.
In June my brother was getting married in my home state of Michigan, I really wanted to go. He told me that he wasn’t going to go and if I wanted to go I’d have to find my own way. Two days before the wedding I got an unemployment check, I didn’t even remember filing for it, it had been so long. It was just enough for a bus ticket home. I told him “You said if I could find a way to go, I could, so I’m going to take the bus”. Off I went. A 21 hour ride home, Mom met me at the bus station on the day of the wedding.
I didn’t really want to go back home. I spent the extra money I had, so when he called he said “You have to find your own way home”. My friend decided she wanted to see the town I was living in, so she offered to drive me back. I guess I felt guilty, he really hadn’t done anything wrong to me, being mean is no cause for divorce, right? So I went home. I still hadn’t gotten my period since the last time, so I really did think I was pregnant this time.
A couple of days later after getting back home, we were leaving in the truck, I was just sort of staring out of the window, not really looking at anything. The next thing I know there is a big arm smacking me across the chest with such a force that it knocked the breath out of me. I grabbed my chest looked at him and asked “What the heck was that for?” He said, “I saw you looking at that guy, you like what you see?” What guy? I had to look out my window and around to see who he was talking about. Yep, there was a guy walking. Too bad I didn’t see what he looked like.
In July he brought home another truck, I was excited now I would have something to drive. I had been to the Doctors and yes I was pregnant, I was truly excited! I’d have a baby of my own! With a truck I could drive to the Doctors instead of walking the 4 miles to the office, and back. My dreams were short lived, he said the old truck was no longer working, he didn’t know why, so it sat there in the driveway. I thought whew! We were lucky he bought the new truck, otherwise we’d have nothing to drive.
On Saturday’s I’d go to the laundry mat, he’d give me $5 for our clothes. Since I had no other money, I’d stuff as many clothes into as few washers as I could to have a little change left over. This worked great until he started asking for the change back. Of course I gave it to him, after all it was his hard work that brought in the money.
There were times I wondered why he even liked me, I was a fat girl. He didn’t seem to like fat girls, or so his comments seemed to me. So I asked him he replied “Because if you’re fat, no one else will want you”. Oh. Well that answered that didn’t it? Now I understood why he fed me pizza, beer and coke while we were dating, he didn’t seem to mind the 50 lbs I’d put on.
Every now and then he would slap down a $5 bill on the table. When I’d ask what that was for he’d try to take it back with the comment “Well, if you don’t want it…”. Of course I wanted it, I needed shampoo and conditioner, and girly stuff.
With not having a TV I had to do something with my time, so I found a local library. I’d go and get 4 books at a time, that’s all I was allowed. I read the entire Agatha Christy volumes they had. Then I started in on another genre. After a short time he decided I was spending entirely too much time at the library, so I was limited to once a week. I snuck in a few visits anyway, what was it hurting? He never paid attention to my books, or so I thought. After a couple of weeks I got caught, he did pay attention to the titles. He never actually hit me when he raged, but the fear certainly was there that he would do so.
As my baby grew inside me I talked to him. I knew it would be a boy, because that’s what I wanted. I wanted a big brother for my little girls. He told me that I’d better hope it was twins because I wouldn’t be having anymore. I asked him what about the “No less than 1 no more than 3”? He said he changed his mind. He wanted a daughter, so that’s what he said I was having, he didn’t want a son because he already had one. That he never seen, I thought to myself. I of course never said that allowed, I didn’t want to anger him. One bar of soap in the mouth was enough.
I walked and walked all over the town, I found one of his cousins worked at a local jewelry store, so I spent many hours visiting her there. My friend (the one who brought me home) decided that she wanted to move near me, so I was excited! I’d have a friend, someone to hang out with. She was a widow and had a daughter, and I was pregnant. We had been best friends since we were 10, this would be great. Things were fine for a while, she’d come get me, we’d go to the coffee shop, she always had to buy because I never had any money. Soon she found someone of her own, and I didn’t get to see her as often. It was OK, I wanted her happy.
I borrowed her sewing machine and made myself maternity clothes with the fabric my Mom sent. I had enough left over to make a baby blanket for my baby. I was happy as I felt and watched him move inside of me. Sometimes he would do these neat little flips that made me catch my breath. I’d lay down on my back and watch my tummy move, while talking to him and laughing. He seemed to like the sound of my voice. I could get him to move just by talking to him. We would discuss how he was going to be a good boy and protect his sisters, when he got them.
It was frowned upon if I made new friends, I didn’t think that meant neighbors. A nice older lady who was a widow talked to me often. When she found out I was pregnant and it was apparent I wasn’t getting any maternity pants, she bought me a pair. This angered my husband greatly. He thought I was begging neighbors for help. He yelled at her so badly I thought she was going to have a heart attack. I felt so bad, I wouldn’t have taken the money if I would have known how he would react. She wouldn’t talk to me after that, I can’t say as I blamed her.
I was alone, but I never really felt lonely, I had my baby and that was all that mattered to me. Well at least I had the idea of the baby that I would soon have. The hopes and dreams I had for his future, were what I lived for. Every month when I walked to the Dr’s we had good long talks too! I also had to walk to the WIC office, which was right next door to the Dr’s, so I got my exercise in.
When I was about 8 months pregnant he was laying on the couch, I went to sit next to him. He was playing with the drapery drawstring. which had a bell on the end. For no apparent reason he swung the string at me and the bell hit me across the face. I didn’t understand this, we weren’t arguing I didn’t do anything wrong. Why? I just walked away and cried.
My Big day finally arrived
He decided that we could no longer afford this house and we needed to move, I was just about 3 weeks from being due at this time. I got everything packed and we moved to a smaller mobile home. He managed to get the old truck started, it must have been a miracle or something because it hadn’t been started in over 6 months. (Ok, I know now that he disconnected the distributor cap so it couldn’t be started)
We got settled in our place and 1 week after our move I went into labor. I had been sitting at the table writing another letter (My only form of communication) when I felt the need to use the bathroom, I stood holding on to the kitchen counter and said “I have to pee really bad and I don’t think I can hold it.” He said “Well, what do you want me to do?” So as quickly as I could I made my way to the bathroom, dribbling all along the way. Yep, I made a mess. I changed into my night clothes, knowing that I may be in labor, I’d felt a pain and looked at my watch. I marked the time. 10 minutes later another pain hit. Yep, I thought I might be in labor. I went out to the living room and told my husband that I thought I was in labor. Again he said “What do you want me to do about it?” I told him that I thought we should at least call the hospital. I got dressed and we went to use a pay phone, they told me that they couldn’t tell me anything over the phone, I needed to come in.
He dropped me off at the emergency room, I’m not sure where he went, but I was by myself. Yep, I was in labor the nurse said. She wheeled me to the prep room and went about the motions of preparing for birth. All the fun things of those days. My husband didn’t feel I needed any pain medication prior to labor, but when he showed up in the room I told him “I’m not as tough as I thought I could be, I need something for the pain”. By this time it was too late, I was dilated to 8. They wheeled me into the delivery room, it seemed just a short time later my son was born, 4 hours from the first pain until I had him. The Dr. asked me what his name was, I said Matthew Timothy. He asked me what I had picked out for a girl I told him “Dawn Marie”. He said “I like this much better, it’s very biblical“. I got my boy! I was happy as I could be. It didn’t matter that my husband wanted a girl, I got what I wanted.
He weighed 8 lb 2 oz and was 21 ½ inches long and a head full of blond hair. Since he was 3 weeks early, he had this fine blond hair all over that made him glow in the light. He was beautiful and I loved every inch of him.
When he was 18 hours old they sent us home. I was terrified. Was I going to be a good mom? I had planned on breast feeding so that wasn’t a problem, I had prepared. There were diapers, and I had a bed for him. But it was all of the unknowns, all of the what ifs that I was unprepared for. I managed just fine, we took it day by day. When he was 5 months old his father and I parted ways. We didn’t quite see eye to eye on things, his cheating was the last straw for me.
As a mother you love each and every child, maybe a bit differently depending on what is going on in your life. Each child means something different to you. With my son, he was my sanity, he saved my mind. He was there for me to talk to when no one else was. He kept my hope for my future up, he made me decide a few things, just by his being. Without him in my life, I have no idea where I would have ended up.