Note: I was watching an interview with Julie Andrews recently. She was promoting her new book, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years. When she was writing it, her daughter was doing the transcription. Reading the manuscript made her realize just how “dark” her early life had been. It had never dawned on her before. She asked her daughter if it was too depressing. I’ve wondered the same thing about relating the ugliness of my life. It was the reality and was part and parcel of making me who I am today. I’ll continue on. Be forewarned that it gets worse before it gets better.
During the time I was living alone, I would travel over the mountains most weekends to spend time with Mother, Pop (my stepfather) and the boys. It was always sad to leave them and go back to the empty apartment but I couldn’t afford a sitter on what I was making. My wages were worth a lot more then than they would be now but they would only stretch so far. They were both established in school, too, and DS2 was loving kindergarten. DS1 enjoyed the socialization. He never let his schoolwork get in the way then. Or later. I was doomed to live the life of a single married woman.
The weekends I wasn’t able to leave, I’d go to visit a couple who had become my close friends. I’m sure I wore out my welcome but they never let me know. They lived in an old house in the country over some gravel roads. One day when I was going back to town, I checked both ways at the intersection and pulled out after making sure it was clear. I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw a sports car bearing down on me from behind at a high rate of speed. I pulled to the far left while the other driver pulled right. He ended up in the ditch on that side while I ended up in the opposite ditch. The little sporty job was brand new and not as well built as the Rambler I was driving. It was pretty much a basket case with the undercarriage damaged and one wheel broken off and lying on the road. He used some choice words to describe how he felt.
The police showed up from somewhere and since there were no witnesses, it was decided neither one of us was at fault. The other driver had clearly been speeding because he wasn’t visible over the rise when I pulled out but he was going too fast to avoid having an accident.
It wasn’t that far back to my friends’ home. The policeman gave me a lift. I walked into the house, crying, and told them I’d wrecked my car. They went with me and some way we got the car out of the ditch. It was built like a brick outhouse and was hardly the worse for wear. I drove home a much older and tired-er woman.
The next day, I was at their house again. There was more than one way out so I decided I’d play it safe and not take the chance of being assaulted from behind again. The other road had an “S” curve and I managed to meet a car (speeding) right in the middle of the “S”. To keep from getting hit head-on, I chose a telephone pole. Once again, the Sherman tank came in handy. The damage was cosmetic. The other driver didn’t stop and I was in no mood to turn around and pursue.
Even though there was no apparent damage from the first accident, later on it wouldn’t go into gear. The first time it happened I was supposed to go see my family and I was bitterly disappointed. I called one of the members of my Support Team and he came right over. I was in tears and it was a good thing he was the kind of man who wasn’t terribly upset by an emotional woman. He assured me everything would be okay and crawled under the car. In no time, he had the gears back where they were supposed to be and I was on my way. It held for the trip over and back but it would pop out periodically and I’d have to call him again.
I became a regular at my friends’ home. They were very patient with me and would have probably let me move in if I’d asked. I’d go out after work, driving very carefully and aware of everything around me, and go home in time to go to bed. The wife was Lois and she had a cat that was very vocal. Especially when she was in heat. She would roam the house and screech, “LO-ISS, LO-ISS!” It was pretty funny and I needed to laugh.
They were carnivores but willing to try eating meatless meals so I would cook for them. I had some “fake steak”, “phony baloney” and “not chicken” that I shared and they loved all of it. When I fixed for them, I ate something other than my cereal, eggs, and toast so it was a win-win. It still wasn’t enough to help me gain back the weight I’d lost. My exercise program was non-existent so any gain would have been fat, anyway.
It was getting close to Christmas and I was beginning to think I’d spend my second one as a “happily” married woman without my husband. The phone rang, though, and put that belief to rest. He and his best friend were starting back in an ancient BMW. But would they make it? I’ll have to let you know next time.