During the summer of 1981, Jalene’s petitions to Chuck were numerous. “Why can’t we take a family vacation while awaiting the move into our home, especially with the lengthy home updates which await us?” Chuck was firm in his reply. “No, we don’t have the money for a vacation.” Jalene’s pleas and tears became sobs of grief. “Chuck, you mandated that we sell the home the children and I loved and move into a roach and flea infested apartment. Additionally, you are spending thousands to update the new house to accommodate our family’s needs. Yet you say we can’t afford a small vacation?”
“No”, As Chuck had done for their 12 years of marriage, his word was the law. The summer was filled with frequent and lengthy trips to and from Edmond for the children to participate in community events. However, there was no reprieve from the small, dingy apartment. Shortly before school began in late summer 1981, the Wood family moved into Chuck’s cherished home.
Jalene’s sadness remained regarding the move, as she realized not only was this not a home she desired, but the months of having the home in a state of disrepair would be a tremendous inconvenience for the family of four. For weeks the family kitchen was a microwave in the laundry room and a refrigerator in the garage. The dishes were washed in the small laundry sink. The house was filled with dust and debris as the contractors worked for months to restructure Chuck’s house to a home for the family.
Jalene understood that a house does not make a home. A family makes a home. Thus, she looked toward the day the renovation would be complete and the family could settle into their new house and neighborhood. Each of the children adapted rapidly. Christian met several neighborhood pals whom would become lifelong friends well into their adulthood.
As the holidays approached, Jalene eagerly planned the annual holiday parties. There was always a Wood family event with Chuck’s parents, brother and family, his aunts, uncles and cousins. There were parties for church friends and others for the children’s school mates. The month of December was spent with hours of holiday decorating, shopping, cooking, baking, cleaning the house and then enjoying the guests.
1982 would bring a new aspect to their family. Jalene had been completing her bachelor’s degree while simultaneously beginning her master’s degree. Because Chuck had directed Jalene to drop out of college to work full-time to enable completion of his degree, her education had been a challenge. Returning to college as an older student as a wife and mother of two young children, she was required to study late at night and early in the morning before the children awakened. Jalene understood because Chuck mandated she earn a paycheck, her degree would provide her greater career opportunities.
Jalene’s greatest desire was to remain at home and fulfill her role as wife and mother. Nonetheless, Chuck’s requisite for Jalene to obtain a full-time career fulfilled his greed for monetary assets. As Jalene applied for numerous career positions, she felt defeated and betrayed. Delaying the inevitable was not a possibility. Chuck searched the paper for potential jobs for Jalene. She either found a job she desired, or she realized Chuck would choose one for her.
Jalene rapidly understood that with her degree in Nutrition, becoming a Registered Dietitian (R.D) was necessary. The local university where she had obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree had not offered the American Dietetic Association (A.D.A) requirements for registration. Jalene was required to complete an additional 63 hours of post-graduate courses to meet the requisites for the A.D.A.
Without outside help on cleaning the home, Jalene’s responsibilities of the household chores and errands, as well as participating in church and community events, the children’s school events, working full-time and attending evening college classes exacerbated Jalene’s stress and migraine headaches. She yearned for the love and understanding from her husband. Yet Chuck had no empathy for Jalene. His goals of earning more success and prestige in his career and community were possible only if Jalene contributed monetarily.
Jalene’s job required that she frequently worked nights and Saturdays. This was especially difficult for her when she had to miss the children’s school and sports events. On one particular Saturday, it had been a long and difficult day. As she opened the door to enter the house, excitedly Christian ran up to her shouting, “Mom, guess what Daddy did today?”
Jalene was too exhausted to attempt a guess. She believed perhaps Chuck had taken the children for an outing, which she frequently pleaded with him to do. Chuck’s routine was to spend the day watching television while the children entertained themselves, unless they had a sports event. Jalene realized today was different. Christian, aged 8 was beside himself with elation. She knew it was something very special.
When Christian shrieked, “Daddy bought a Mercedes Benz”, she immediately felt faint. “What-why?” Jalene repeated the words to Christian several times. She was not believing what she was hearing. “Yes, Daddy, bought a Mercedes. Isn’t that awesome?” Jalene’s head was spinning and she felt her skin become flushed. “No”, she wanted to scream, but the words choked in her throat. This was not awesome. This was disgusting. Chuck mandated that she work, so he could purchase a Mercedes Benz. His arrogance had become far greater than his love for his wife or his children.
This was the beginning of Chuck’s obsession for prestige and the appearance of success. Jalene was merely a game piece for Chuck’s monetary desires. Please follow Jalene as she continues her journey with Chuck’s love for his assets and glory. This blog began in April 2016 with her childhood journey.