Is It Merely a Hole In The Floor?

With two toddlers in tow and a few meager, possessions, Chuck and Jalene settled into their new, temporary home in Arlington, TX.  Chuck’s ego escalated when he realized he would manage the tax department at Champlin Petroleum Company in Ft. Worth, TX.  For a short interim his increase in salary would allow Jalene to realize one of her greatest desires; to be a full time wife and mother.

The rapid sale and price of their small 1,100 square foot home in Enid, OK, allowed them to have enough equity to have a new home custom built in TX.  Upon arrival in Arlngton, because the house would not be completed for several months, it was necessary to move into an apartment. Now in their fifth apartment in less than six years of marriage, jalene was always hopeful it would be their last. The challenge of the unpacking and re-packing was assigned to Jalene. She had to anticipate what items were necessary for the short-term residence and which they could place in storage. Inevitably there were stored items which were desired or needed. Occasionally, this required a trip to the storage unit to unpack boxes until the item was located.

Shortly before Christmas 1975, they moved into the new house. With delight and jubilation, they were eager to host their family in their home, new city and state.  Because most of their family had resided in OK for much of their lives, this was not only a new experience for Chuck, Jalene, Marie and Christian, but also for the Maher’s and the Wood’s.  Due to the strained relationship between the families, the visits were staggered during the holiday season.

Little did Jalene realize at the time, that Christmas of 1975 was the very last which she would celebrate with her Maher family and her own little family of four. Jalene’s parents, her brother, Clyde and his family of four, as well as her sister Sharon and their family of four was a full house. The holiday would be memorable in several ways.  The exultation of the new house and the family holiday was dispirited when Sharon deliberately dropped a burning cigarette onto the kitchen, laminate tile floor, leaving a considerable hole in the flooring.

Sharon, five years younger than Jalene had been envious of Jalene for most of their lives, even when children. By the time Sharon was 20 years old, she had been married, divorced and the mother of a young child. Now at the age of 22 with another husband and child, Sharon’s life’s decisions were significantly different from Jalene’s. Months following the cigarette incident, Sharon proudly admitted she had brought the damage to Jalene’s new home because of her jealously against Jalene.

Jalene would later realize this was a minute frustration, as the conflicts within the family became far greater than a cigarette burn in the flooring of a new home. The financial division between the Maher’s, a family on government commodities and poverty and Jalene’s new little family would remain for the duration of their lives.

Jalene had attended college in an effort to better herself. Even though Chuck had mandated Jalene “drop out of college” to provide for the young couple while he earned his BBA degree, Jalene knew she would eventually return to college to also complete her degree. Jalene also understood she and Chuck would have a better financial status than either of their families.  Now Sharon’s pleasure in accomplishing damage to Jalene’s home, validated the “divide.”

Time passed swiftly over the next few months as the Wood family settled into their home, community and church.  However, less than a year after their move to Arlington, Chuck once again wanted to move back to OK. This time he wanted to return to Oklahoma City; the city of his birth and family.

Jalene would come to realize his frequent career and home moves would be the “normal” for their family. They would never be able to “root” anywhere they “called home” for Chuck was always too eager to obtain what he always believed would be greater success. Jalene was devastated. She loved their church and the friendships they were making. Arlington was also an excellent family community.

When Chuck accepted the job, he left Jalene and the children alone to sell the home in Arlington, while he moved to Oklahoma City to live with his parents. Please continue on the journey with Jalene as she and the children are uprooted again for the pleasure of Chuck.

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