During my first marriage, I had a close friend who had a little girl who was the same age as my son. There was what I called a “naughty” movie that my husband and his friends had watched the night before. The film and the projector were left at our mobile home. Both my friend and I had no idea what it was, so we hung a white sheet on the wall and set up this film. As we finally figured out how to get this movie going, we both were shocked at what the movie actually was. We were in the process of turning this trashy movie off when my brother-in-law came in the door and looked down the hall and saw our sheet with the movie being played!
I never forgot that day, and I’m sure my friend did not either. Neither of us knew beforehand that movies like that existed. The fact that my brother-in-law thought that my friend and I were watching such a thing embarrasses me to this day. After I left that marriage, my friend was not allowed to see me any more. That’s the way it was in those days: husbands called the shots!
A few years later, a friend with three children was living with an alcoholic husband. She left him and asked if she could stay with me for awhile. I took her in with the children. To this day that husband blames me for his failed marriage.
In trying to deal with the problems in my life now, I sometimes ask myself the same questions that Aunt Jennie had asked me, “So is this my last chance to try to fix these problems? Do I end up losing everything again?” I don’t have any answers anymore. I find it very hard to smile. The few things that once could make me smile very seldom do now.
I started planning to leave my first husband when he broke his toe going through the doorway of our son’s bedroom to throw our son onto his bed because our son had walked in front of the television when Marty was watching it. All the other marital problems did not matter any more. No one was going to hurt my son ever!
I started by buying a clothes dryer and setting up a good babysitter to stay with my son while I was at work. My son would be starting kindergarten in September for half-days, so it would work for me to have a sitter for half a day. Marty was always on the road driving his truck, but his attitude was: what happened yesterday was done…why are you upset today?
I put all of my husband’s belongings on my porch and told him I was filing for divorce. I had changed the locks, so that he could not get in. It was Halloween, and I was out with my son trick-or-treating. My neighbor let me know when Marty was gone so that I could return home.
That next Sunday, I took my son to church, and when I went home, Marty was parked there, waiting for me, so I kept on going.
I had to hide in different motels for approximately a week. My son was not going to school, because he was with me. I got a restraining order, which finally got Marty to leave me alone, for awhile.
MARTY AND THE INCOME TAX CHECK
When I purchased the mobile home, my grandfather helped me with part of the purchase price. The remainder was a loan through a bank. When Marty had wanted to borrow $1400 from the bank and he put my mobile home up for collateral, there was no problem. He told me that when our income tax refund check came, we would pay off the loan.
When the refund came, I took it to the bank and paid off the loan. When Marty asked me if the refund check came, I told him that it had and that I paid off the loan. Marty got into the car and started chasing me around the five mobile homes, trying to run me over. There were no trees or other objects that I could hide behind, so as not to get hit. It wasn’t over until a couple of men who realized what was happening came out and stopped Marty! Obviously, he had other plans for that income tax refund.
MY LATE EX-HUSBAND
After my son’s father and I got divorced, there was an incident that took place that made the local newspapers. There was a company that had many large machines on its site. A gang of men went to the property and did a lot of damage. It did not take long before the police arrested some of the men, one of whom was my ex-husband.
Before this happened, my ex had brought my son home on a Sunday night and handed me $200 in $20 bills. I was very happy with the money, as he never paid child support. He then told me to switch the 20s with petty cash money where I worked and return the switched money to him, as what he was giving me were counterfeit. I gave him back the money!
Despite these criminal activities, he was able to stay out of jail by turning state’s evidence. For many years after this, I was petrified that someone would try to kill my ex during a time when my son was with him.
My ex started going out with a pretty girl who lived right up the street from me. She was very nice, and after their relationship got serious, she came to me to ask what had happened to break up our marriage. I often wonder what would’ve happened if I had told her the truth. Instead, I told her that we were just too young when we married.
This girl and my ex got married but did not live happily ever after. That marriage ended also. I know he really loved her, but he just could not change enough to make a marriage work.
My ex had to have heart surgery, done at a well-known hospital. I cannot remember what was his problem, but the surgeon told him that after the operation he had a heart of a 25-year-old. So that’s exactly what he did after the operation: lived as though he were a 25-year-old. Everything he should not have done, he did! Five years later he died doing what he loved doing, sitting behind the wheel of his truck. Thank God it was parked. He never got to see his grandchildren, for whom he would have been a fine grandfather. Sad!
As I write this, I just received a telephone call from my eldest granddaughter, Claire, telling me she has been accepted by the college in Maine that she most wants to attend. I’m so happy for her and want her to have a happy and full life. I pray for this for my three granddaughters every day.
Holidays are also when I do think of my son’s father. The one thing in life I think he would’ve done with love and done well would have been to be a grandfather. I think he would have been a great one.
I also think of my own father. He had one grandson, my son, but he never had a close relationship with him. I often had holiday celebrations at my home, and he and my son would see each other during these times. In later years, my son would have these holidays celebrated at his house. My father would attend, but he and my son never had the warm relationship of grandfather to grandson. So sad!
Now my brother has a beautiful baby boy. I somehow know that my own father, although deceased, is looking after my brother and his family. I would have liked to see our father with his new grandson.
How many mistakes we all make in our lives! If only we could go back and fix them, how wonderful that would be!
I am writing this section at Christmastime, that time of year when my father was dying in the hospital. My brother, my brother’s mother, and I would go every day to the hospital. The holidays have not been the same since then. My brother’s little boy was born in December, which has eased the pain somewhat for my brother and his mother.
My own pain has been eating away at me for many years. I am working at dealing with it by writing this. Sometimes I think it’s working, sometimes not. I must say at this point, that meeting with my writing partner, Douglas Cooper, every week has been very helpful to me: he has been through, and is still going through, so much in his own life, I know that he understands what I am saying, even if it comes out wrong. He just knows, and I know that he knows.
We are serializing on this blog the memoir KIDNAPPED TWICE: Then Betrayed and Abused, by Mary E. Seaman and Douglas Winslow Cooper, published by Outskirts Press, available as a paperback and ebook from OP and amazon.com and other online booksellers.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Stepchildren, like Mary, are much more often the targets of such abuse than other children.
My coaching-editing-writing site is http://writeyourbookwithme.com.
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