Jalene settled into her routine while the weeks and months passed, as a mother of two under the age of two. Jalene was now realizing the impact of living with a controlling and angry man.
Shortly after Chuck fulfilled his full-time military obligation he had accepted his first career position as a staff accountant for a small oil company in Enid, OK. The pay was not as he had anticipated. However, he understood this when obtaining the job. Because Chuck was not receiving the salary he anticipated he blamed Jalene, citing he had not accepted the job he expected.
Exasperated at Chuck’s chronic complaints she queried, “you were not offered the job. How can you blame me for not accepting a job you anticipated when it was not offered to you?” Chuck’s reply to these queries never faltered, “I couldn’t accept that job because you were pregnant and you expected me to help care for the baby”. This fabricated response was distressing Jalene, because she knew if Chuck had been offered the job, he would have accepted. Money was the paramount decision for all his actions.
They owned only one automobile as Chuck demanded a brand new, custom ordered vehicle. Other young couples purchased used vehicles they could afford. Chuck’s façade of being a prosperous and successful man began early in their marriage. Jalene had been too naïve to discern Chuck’s immense desire for the appearance of success accomplishment and affluence. For their entire marriage Chuck expected Jalene to work outside the home to provide him with money for an abundant life-style.
The verbal confrontations between Chuck and Jalene were frequent and intense. Chuck’s chronic complaints of the finances caused the stress in Jalene’s life to seem insurmountable at times.
She maintained her small in-home sewing business and also sold Avon to help with the family finances, but they were still unable to provide the basic necessities for their family.
Jalene reminded Chuck of their conversations prior to and during their marriage of her desire to be a full-time mother to their children. She also had to frequently remind Chuck of his mandate for her to drop out of college to work full-time while he completed his college education.
Even though Jalene enjoyed sewing, the pleasure was negated as the income for her custom sewing was extremely negligible given the extensive amount of time spent on the sewing projects. Additionally the meager income from selling Avon was more stressful than productive. If she were being required to earn an income she had a desire to perform a job which paid for the time committed to the project. She realized if Chuck had allowed her to compete her college education, she could earn an appropriate income.
Jalene had flashbacks of her childhood and going bed hungry. The family of her youth existing on government commodities echoed in her mind often as she struggled now to have enough money to purchase groceries and prepare the meager meals for her own little family.
From the time Christian was a few weeks old, he had been a sick baby with frequent physician appointments. His hospitalization when he was less than five months of age not only deeply concerned Jalene, but compounded the stress. Jalene understood that Chuck’s exasperation over the lack of income intensified each time Christian was ill.
In the early years of marriage Chuck began displaying his frustrations toward Jalene physically and emotionally. However, because of the severe abuse she had endured at the hands of her father, she accepted Chuck’s behavior toward her as normal. It appeared to Jalene that men were controlling and abusive when they desired to have women do as directed.
Jalene had been diagnosed with migraine headaches when Marie was five months old. However, she could not tolerate the medications available for migraines in the 1970’s. With Chuck’s frequent outbursts of anger and his perpetual complaints of the lack of income, sustaining a harmonious home became impossible and her headaches worsened. Nonetheless, Jalene was diligent in her attempt to make her home a happy one for her two precious children and the husband she deeply loved.
Jalene was exuberant when they received a significant tax refund following Christian’s first birthday. She realized the burden of “scraping by” financially to make ends meet might be lightened. Bills could be paid and money set aside for some of those “rainy day” emergencies which seemed to happen far too often. Medical bills had taken a toll on their monthly budget.
Furthermore, for over three years, Chuck and Jalene had never dined out for even a holiday or special event. Chuck would not allow even a 19 cent icy drink from the local 7-11 store. He dictated that Jalene bring in an income and deliver the entire amount to him. When she went to the grocery store, she was mandated to bring all receipts to him; accompanied with any change received from the money allocated by Chuck.
Chuck began this procedure within days of their marriage and he would not deviate from his control. Jalene was mandated to work and she would adhere to what he allowed her to do. Now, as the check sat on the coffee table from the tax refund, Jalene was excited. “Chuck, we have the money to go out for a meal as a family to celebrate that we have a little extra money.”
The smile quickly subsided from Jalene’s face. Chuck was harsh. “No”, he retorted. “I have plans for this money and it doesn’t include going out to dine.” He reminded Jalene she would cook. There was no need for a frivolous meal of dining out. Because Chuck had not allowed a “meal out” in three years, Jalene didn’t feel this was excessive. Also, dining in Enid, OK in the 1970’s consisted of inexpensive diners, not “five star” quality restaurants as would boasted in the large cities.
Please continue with me on this journey as we leave Enid and start “anew” in another city and state. If you are joining me for the first time, you may wish to read my blog from April 2016, the early days of my childhood to this time in the 1970’s.