Merely a Brown Paper Bag

The Maher’s had barely settled into their new residence of the small travel trailer when Jayne took a job as a drapery seamstress in a nearby city. Glenn found a temporary job as a carpenter working with his father and brother, Don whom had now returned from the military.

This left Glenn Jr. and Louise in the care of Jalene before and after school. Even though the house cleaning was now minimal in a small trailer, Glenn and Jayne mandated that Jalene would still do all the ironing and become not only the nanny for her younger siblings, but also the chef for all family meals.

Jalene realized that aging merely increased her household duties. It didn’t provide her with an opportunity to devote time to her studies or to participate in extracurricular school activities and events, which she so eanestly desired.

After several months of residing in the trailer on Grandpa Maher’s property, the family moved to a small rental house in Midwest City. The dilapidated house was home to not only the Maher’s but countless rodents and insects.

There was no explanation necessary when Jalene’s deafening screams were heard throughout the house and land. The rodent residents of the Maher home consisted of more than small field mice; rats were regular visitors. Jalene became fearful of opening any cabinet, closet or door;realizing there were most probably two eyes, a foul smell and a long, nasty tail awaiting her.

Glenn touted the creatures were smaller than members of the Maher clan and consumed less food than anyone in the family. Therefore, Glenn believed Jalene’s behavior was unnecessary and unwelcomed. Nonetheless, Jalene’s hatred of such creatures would remain with her throughout life.

Also during their residence in this home, the family became a government statistic. They were now the recipients of government commodities which were the pre-food stamp era. Glenn quit his job as a carpenter, opting to begin college as a new student, now in his 30’s. Jayne’s meager pay provided the sole full time income for the family.

Glenn would occasionally accept a part-time job, but quickly resigned from the position. Glenn had no apprehension about having his wife and children live in poverty status, while he was unemployed. Glenn received dontations from Grandpa Maher to  provide the college expenses, while he was now carefree to fullfill his desires.

Glenn and Jayne continued to relocate from rental home to rental home as they had done while residing in OH. There was never an opportunity to become rooted, as Jalene so earnestly desired. She craved not only close, loving, family relationships, but also friends. There was no opportunity for childhood friendships as Jalene’s commanded responsibilities remained those of full time nanny, maid and chef.

When Jalene was in high school the family once again increased from five to seven. Grandma Rose whom had been released from the state mental institution had been residing with Jayne’s brother, Richard in OH. However, Richard and his wife needed a respite from caring for Rose so inquired if Glenn and Jayne would temporarily care for her. Jayne reluctantly agreed.

Shortly after Rose’s arrival to OK, Glenn received a telephone call that Don whom had moved out of the state, was now at the downtown bus station, alone and stranded. Don pleaded, “Glenn, I have nowhere to live. Can I come and live with you until I find a job and get settled again?” Glenn was angry at the request, but realized Don couldn’t call upon Grandpa Maher whom was now elderly.

Jalene’s sympathy for Uncle Don overtook her as they arrived at the bus station and his sole possession was a small, brown paper bag. In a concerned tone, Jalene queried, “Uncle Don, where is your luggage?” Don quickly replied, “This is it. I have nothing, but this bible which the Gideons gave me and a toothbrush from a homeless shelter.” Jalene’s tears flowed rapidly and plentifully.

She had much compassion for anyone less prosperous than the Maher’s. It took very little to be less fortunate, with the family’s poverty status. Jalene knew they were poor, but she also realized she had a bed to share with her sister and a few government commodities to eat. She had very few possessions, but more than merely a bible and toothbrush.

The next few years of Jalene’s life were the darkest of her upbringing. Glenn had continued to be excessively abusive to Jalene, but it had all paled to what was awaiting her.

Please continue to follow me on Jalene’s difficult and painful journey.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s