By the end of the year in 1992, Chuck informed me, we would be moving to FL in less than a year. I sobbed, “What? Why can’t you seek a job here in the area? This is where our children are. We’ve lived in this community for the past twelve years. We are involved in our church and have friends there. Why must we continue to move? This will be our 11th move in a little over 20 years. I don’t want to move.” As Chuck did when he wanted me to realize he was totally in control, he cited, “this is not a topic for discussion. We are moving.”
I went to the guestroom and cried. I wondered why everything always had to be for the whims and desires of Chuck. I knew in a city of over 1.2 million people there were indeed other jobs. Sometimes I wondered if Chuck mandated all these moves just to cause me more sorrow. Years later when I realized Chuck had spent most of our marriage not loving me, my assumptions would be validated. For the moment, it was 1992 and I realized I must succumb to Chuck’s command to prepare ou home to be listed for sale.
When Marie enrolled at the University of Central Oklahoma in the fall, she could no longer remain at Hallmark as they needed a full-time assistant store manager. She located a part-time job at a local dry cleaner. Although, not a job she desired, she realized it was short-term until she could return to the University of Oklahoma.
Shortly after beginning her new job at the cleaners, Marie met an outgoing, exuberant colleague whom was her age and recently married. Shurlyn loved sharing her excitement of wedded bliss with Marie. Marie listened with great interest. Marie also noted she had no intentions of marrying for a while as she wanted to complete her college education, explaining to Shurlyn her current job was a detour. Marie explained she would be back on track soon and returning to O.U. to earn her degree in marketing.
One day while Marie and Shurlyn were working together, a man walked into the store and went directly to Shurlyn to begin a conversation. Marie quickly learned this was Shurlyn’s husband. “Wow”, Marie exclaimed, “he is really a knockout.” Shurlyn proceeded to tell Marie, her husband, Skip had three other single brothers. “Do they all look like him?”, Marie quipped. Shurlyn said “sure, they are all very handsome.”
When Shurlyn returned to work the next day, she brought her wedding album for Marie to view Skip’s three eligible brothers. Marie and Shurlyn laughed like two teen-agers as Marie selected which of the three she would like to meet for dinner. Shurlyn was delighted to be playing “match maker.”
The blind date dinner with Shurlyn and Skip was a great success. Tom and Marie “hit it off” from the first word to one another. Tom, two years older than Marie, was graduating the next spring with his degree in engineering.
Over the next few weeks Tom and Marie were inseparable. Shortly after they began dating, Marie confided in me that Tom was going to propose. Almost breathless,I proclaimed, “What? Sweetheart, you just met him. I dated your father for two years.” Marie didn’t hesitate, “yes, I know Mom and look how much you and Dad fight and argue. Tom and I know we “are made for each other”. For us it is truly love at first sight.”
“Okay baby, but I just don’t want you to rush into something. When are you thinking of getting married?” Marie quickly responded,” because you and Dad are moving, we will have to marry sooner than we planned, but we are thinking about July.” Marie and I tearfully hugged one another. I asked, “is Tom going to ask your Dad for permission to marry you?” Marie had expected such a question, “of course, Mom, he will do this soon so we can begin to plan the wedding.” Marie also requested that I would share this news with Chuck so he would be prepared for Tom’s request to meet with the two of them.
Within days of Marie sharing the news with me, Tom sat in our living room, Marie at his side. My eyes began swelling with tears as Tom and Chuck conversed, for I realized my baby girl was soon to be someone’s wife. Marie would no longer be living at home but making her own home with her husband.
Christmas was one of the most memorable we would have for years to come. Not only was our family of four at home for the holiday, it appeared it would be the last one in which Marie would be a Wood; next year, at this time, she would be a Moller.
The holidays flew by and the Wood home was bustling with the events which would change the entire family’s future. Please continue to follow my journey. My autobiographical blog began in April 2016 from my childhood.