YES, I MOST CERTAINLY AM ILL!

Dear Friends, Thank you for your patience during my absence these past couple months. There have been numerous life challenges, but no excuses. It’s time to return to our journey with Jalane and Chuck.

Chuck’s college graduation was imminent, so the enthusiasm for their future temporarily lifted the strain of their loveless and abusive marriage. Jalene eagerly planned a celebration for Chuck’s family and friends to share in his joyful milestone.

One of the highlight of Chuck’s graduation was the R.O.T.C. commission service, also known as a pinning ceremony. As the graduating seniors take their oath of office, their new rank is pinned by a loved one symbolizing the beginning of their military careers. Chuck’s handsome appearance in his Army dress uniform reminded Jalene of her rationale in accepting the initial date with Chuck. Following Chuck’s graduation he had obtained his B.B.A. in Accounting and was now a Second Lieutenant in the US Army.

Jalene was hopeful Chuck’s desire for their future was comparable to hers; to have a home and family while fulfilling their goals and desires for successful careers. She also remained optimistic that an addition to their family would “soften” Chuck’s harshness toward her.

As the summer progressed, Chuck awaited his military assignment as he worked in his uncle’s auto business. Jalene continued her employment with a local oil company.

In late summer of 1971 Jalene was jubilant to learn in the spring of 1972 she and Chuck would become parents. Her joy was contagious as Chuck’s Dad, Ben learned he would become a grandfather. Because Ben and Chuck’s Mom, Lorraine had become parents later than most couples, they possessed uncertainty of becoming grandparents.  Ben’s euphoria was uncontrollable when he learned he would become a “PaPa.”

Jalene’s elation was slightly diminished when Glenn and Lorraine informed Chuck and Jalene they had no desire to be grandparents.  Jalene believed because of Glenn’s lack of love and his extreme abuse toward her, he would not accept her children. Noting he had no desire to become a grandfather was a validation of this concern. Nonetheless, Lorraine’s and Glenn’s attitude didn’t deter Jalene’s enthusiasm for her future into motherhood.

Reflecting on that era in the workplace, it now displays evidence of disrespect and maltreatment of employees. Jalene endured severe nausea and vomiting for the duration of her pregnancy, which commenced almost immediately upon conception and ended only when their daughter was born. Jalene never left home without her emesis pan which also accompanied her into the delivery room.  The medical community of the 1970’s provided no treatments for expectant mothers suffering from such symptoms. As a result, Jalene tried all “old wives” treatments, including crackers, ginger and peppermint. Nothing helped!

Jalene’s employer mandated that all pregnant women cease working on the first day of their 5th month of pregnancy.  However, she was counseled frequently about the numerous times she “left her desk” to become ill in the ladies’ room.

Jalene vividly recalls the spies whom her female supervisor mandated to follow Jalene into the restroom to validate she was indeed becoming ill. She would enter the stall and within seconds, a fellow colleague would enter the ladies’ room and stand outside her stall until she opened the stall door to depart.

The actions of her employer, supervisor and fellow colleagues were a tremendous form of stress for Jalene. She communicated her concern about their actions, but it didn’t alter their hostilities against her. Her illness appeared to be a personal affront to her supervisor and department director. She was perplexed when she was informed if she didn’t cease visiting the ladies’ room to become ill, they would deduct her paycheck. Fortunately such archaic actions of employees are no longer tolerated.

These unscrupulous actions against her caused Jalene to vow earnestly she would return to college to complete her degree. She realized she was deemed as merely one of “many in the hive”, not as an individual with legitimate personal and physical concerns.  She was aware there was not a perfect work environment, but none would be as hostile toward her as this company had been.

Management threatened to terminate her following her major surgery. Additionally, Jalene was threatened with termination when her pregnancy inflicted significant illness upon her body. She believed this company had to be the exception to the rule. She was correct. Never again did she experience such merciless behavior from an employer. She encountered numerous aggressive, saber-tongued supervisors, but none as willing to treat her with the contempt as she encountered at the oil company.

In November 1971, Chuck and Jalene bid farewell to their families and headed southeast toward their new home in Ft. Benning, GA. Please follow me as Chuck and Jalene continue their journey.

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