Time for Children - Chapter 16
Time for Children
"My son, Blake, was born at Saint Vincent's Hospital in February 1961: I was twenty.
My delivery was easy for which I was very thankful. When Blake was four days old, we went to live in a lovely new upstairs apartment near Mel's parents' home in Lakeside.
The new grandmother was so thoughtful and generous. Her pet name was "Nonie". My mother and family had moved back to the old home-place, so I was blessed to have such a sweet mother-in-law.
During the summer, Mel had to go to France when his Air National Guard unit was activated. After Mel was deployed, Blake and I lived in the apartment by ourselves; just the two of us.
Mel's mother was disappointed when I would not move in with her and her husband, but I discovered I was very independent, and was happy on my own.
I found a job at the Southland Natural Gas Corporation as a cashier, and went to work when Blake was eight months old. I had a baby sitter as the cost was reasonable at the time: twenty-five dollars per week!
Blake was a strong, healthy baby boy who grew quickly. We lived happily together until Mel's dad suffered a heart attack. The American Red Cross brought Mr. Rosenberg's only son back home.
Mel had discovered women in Paris, France and he told me he did not want to be married any longer. Our divorce was final in June, 1962, a few weeks before Mr. Rosenberg's funeral.
I could not afford the rent, so Blake and I had to move. One of my girlfriends knew some fellows who helped me move into an upstairs apartment for half of what I had been paying: only $52.50 per month.
James was one of the guys who helped us move.
He liked what he saw: a pretty mother who took good care of her son, had a decent job, a nice car and an apartment full of furniture.
Of course, I did not understand the lure of my situation until years later; young women are so naieve' and I led the parade.
James was very thoughtful at first, bringing freshly bought supper over each night. He brought a new fan for the den as there was no air conditioner. He even liked to play with Blake who was now eighteen months old.
I was having fun dating new fellows but they did not like it when I didn't smoke, drink alcohol, or have casual sex. I had slept with Charles, Blake's dad, one time and had become pregnant. I learned well: no casual sex for me.
James was a product of the streets and we were complete opposites in many ways. I was like Doris Day - outgoing, with a happy attitude, and he was like James Dean - a product of the streets and sullen ( these were two popular movie stars of the day).
James parents were split up and he had no place to sleep. He liked my sofa and when I needed a baby sitter for Blake, he would stay over. He was genuinely fond of Blake and kind and attentive to me at that time.
One of my neighbors was a truly nosy woman. She called my mom in Savannah, and told her that I was living with a man in my apartment. This was the early 1960's and a twenty-one year old living with a man simply was not done.
When my mother called, James took the phone and told her we were married! We made it legal in a simple home ceremony a month later.
I continued working at the gas corporation making about $600. monthly. I drove a blue and white 1955 Chevy; all of my furniture was paid for; I had no outstanding debts.
James moved in with the clothes on his back.
The first time that I realized that James did not know how to be faithful was at a New Year's Eve party. I was pregnant with James' first child.
At midnight I found him locked in a heated embrace with one of the girls from work. It was the beginning of a lost of trust that I tried to get back for years. I was young and carrying his child. I did not understand how weak men are when it comes to having a fling with some random woman.
Our son, Chase, was born in the spring during the month of March. I had my third son, Dave, one year, one week, and one day later. I chose to stay home and raise my three sons although it was very hard at times. It was only by the love of God and my faith in Him that I had the strength to endure the hardships of the marriage.
My first husband had been an only child from a wealthy family; my second husband was an only child from a working class family. Only sons do not share anything: not their time, not their money or belongings. They even think that casual questions about their day is prying.They are very possessive about their wives. It is not a healthy environment.
During our marriage, James had many life issues that stemmed from being the only son of a mean, alcoholic father who did not show love and who did not provide for his wife and son. He would call James a bastard and blame him for the negative happenings in his own life. The anger that James felt for his dad soon was transferred to me in James' mind. He felt badly much of the time due to severe asthma, and I found myself looking for ways to make him happy, just like I used to do for my mother.
The one positive thing that came from all this, was that James showed affection to the boys by hugging them. He was never afraid to say "I love you" to his three sons. He officially adopted Blake and never showed any difference in how he treated him. Our children had the love and approval of both parents.
James went from one job to another. He was convinced to try the life insurance business by a long time friend. When I helped him to learn "You'll Earn a Fortune", I was the one who learned the importance of life insurance.
James could not manage his time and did many things...but work. Sometimes he would play par three golf during the day and play poker at night. Why wouldn't James stay home with his family?
Years later I found out that it is difficult for a male to accept being second place in his wife's routine with the new baby. Many new fathers have their first affair just after the birth of a child to boost their damaged ego. It is impossible for a wife and new mother to understand this.
When James was suppose to be collecting his debit, he had an affair with a member of my ladies' Sunday School class. I found out when the woman's cousin told me.
Because he was doing everything but tending to his job, James' pay check dropped to less than $50. per week. At Thanksgiving he brought home a few Krystals for us to eat. The minister's wife saw my plight and brought some groceries for my babies.
Then the Lord made a way. A nice neighbor, with three sons of his own, asked James if he would be willing to work at night loading and unloading trucks for Roadway Trucking. He went to work for $8.50 per hour.
We were so far behind on our rent that the landlord asked us to move. I had made a conscious decision to stay home to care for my sons, whom I loved dearly. I was not earning an income and I hated not having the money to pay our bills. The expression "praying through the storm" had true meaning for me, and tending to the needs of my children had kept me focused on the positive.
I was very thankful that James had a decent job and I started looking for a suitable home to rent that would be closer to James' work."
My emails concerning my marriage to James were a real surprise to Richard. He kept asking "What happened next?"
CONTINUED in CHAPTER 17