Marie’s Special Day

As I stood barefoot, the carpet felt like clouds. It seemed as though I were in a trance, in spite of the reality I now experienced. My daughter, Marie and I had planned this moment for years.

Now, as I beheld the magnificence of her before me, I reminisced over the first excited conversation about this day. I beheld her beauty as she stood in front of me. I knew she had indeed made the right decision. The dress was positively the finest choice. For a fleeting second, I saw my blonde, green-eyed infant in the hospital; the curly haired toddler of 2; the giggly grade schooler of eight, the prissy high schooler of sixteen; and now my beautiful daughter of twenty-one. Where had the years gone?

I had prayed so diligently for a baby, wondering if the Lord would ever bless Chuck and me with a family. Our years of trying to become pregnant and then receiving the gifts from God of Marie and her brother, Christian had passed so quickly. I wiped the mascara-drenched tears from my eyes before they left indelible drops on her gown.

Less than a year previously, Marie had run into the house, crying hysterically that the “love of her life” had just bid her farewell. I held her tightly, wiping the tears from her rosy cheeks, telling her then she would find someone to love.

I had lost my first love and felt I too was doomed to remain single for all eternity. I kissed Marie’s forehead and told her that anyone as beautiful as she would not spend the remainder of her life without a man of her dreams.

Less than two months later she again ran into our kitchen, as I prepared dinner, but this time jubilantly. Marie shared she had indeed found a new love; he was truly “the one.” I reminded her of my promise. Without a doubt, her prayers and mine had been answered. She believed she had found her unblemished mate. Wedding plans were made briskly.

As I now stood in our church parlor, nothing would transform the pride I felt for Marie at this moment. Years earlier when Chuck and I had planned our wedding, it was small and unpretentious. As poor college students who could barely afford our tuition, the financial burden of our wedding mandated it was simple. Marie didn’t wear a homemade gown, as I had done. The simple cake and punch reception of our wedding 24 years prior, was now replaced with an extravagant reception of an elaborate array of food.

In less than an hour Marie would be Mrs. Thomas Maltz, not only our daughter, but now a wife. I had waited twenty-one years for this day. Marie’s final preparations were made to take that long walk down the aisle. One last detail must be administered.

Not only had our wedding been modest, but likewise my first wedding ring. It was a diminutive ring, but I knew one “from Chuck’s heart.” After graduation from college, when Chuck was established in his career, I received a new wedding ring as an anniversary gift.

I saved the diamonds from my original wedding ring, mounting them in a necklace. I knew that someday, I would give it to our daughter on her wedding day, a token of the love her daddy and I had shared on ours.

I opened the green velvet box that had been in my dresser drawer for over 15 years. I placed the glistening diamonds around her neck and hugged her as I kissed her angelic cheeks. She stood alone in the doorway awaiting her daddy to give her away and asked, “Do I look okay, Mommy?” I could not restrain the tears as I replied, “You are beautiful.”

As she walked down the aisle, she could not restrain the tears. Mine fell in the bride’s parlor; now hers fell as she would no longer be our “little girl” at home, but she would become a wife within a matter of minutes.

Following the wedding, she and Thomas were whisked away in the antique Rolls Royce which had been the center of more than one lively discussion over the past few months. Nonetheless, Jalene and Chuck knew this would be the wedding which Marie and Tom would reflect upon for years to come.

Unfortunately, their wedding day in July 1993 was one of the hottest on record for that particular day. As the photographer attempted to take outdoor wedding photographs, Marie’s make-up began running down her face onto her dress and her bouquet was wilting as she and Tom stood for the pictures. Thus, the outdoor photos were not a component of the wedding memories, but the day would indeed linger in the hearts of Marie, Tom, Jalene and Chuck for all the years to come.

Marie has remained Mrs. Thomas Maltz for over 25 years and is now the mother of three sons and a daughter. Before she realizes it, she too will be standing before her children, beholding the beauty of the day and recalling her own wedding. As I did with her and she will do with her children, we will ask “how have these years passed so quickly?”

Please continue to follow Jalene’s journey which began in this blog on April 2016.

Can’t You Wait Until I Come Home?

Chuck and Jalene prepared their home for sale, while Marie spoke of her upcoming wedding plans. It seemed as though Jalene were in a trance, in spite of the reality she now experienced. Marie and Jalene had planned this special event for years.

Jalene’s job took her away from home 5 days a week, leaving little time to prepare for Marie’s big day. One day while at work, out of state, a staff member informed her of an urgent telephone call from her daughter.

Jalene’s palms were cold and clammy as she reached for the telephone. Before hearing Marie’s voice, Jalene was surmising the worst possible outcome of this call. Had something dreadful happened to her, to her father or brother? Had a natural disaster struck her home? Jalene was a typical working mother at that moment, anticipating the worst.

“Mom,” Marie uttered in an ecstatic tone. Jalene sighed heavily. Marie continued, “Mom, Are you all right? You sound upset?” As Jalene took a deep breath, she replied, “I’m fine. I’m not upset. I was afraid there might be a problem.”

Marie shrieked with excitement when she proclaimed, “No Mom, there are no problems. Everything is perfect. I found my wedding dress. It is the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen, and I must buy it today.”

Disappointment gripped Jalene’s heart. This was one of the occasions she and Marie had envisioned many times. This was to be part of the fairy tale day the two had discussed so many times through tears of joy and sorrow; the moment most little girls and their moms anticipate in their musings.

Jalene’s voice was quivering as she replied, “sweetheart, can’t you wait until I arrive home on Friday”? “No Mom, I’m afraid it might be gone.” Now she knew the authenticity of not only having a young adult daughter, but not being home for events such as this. Marie no longer needed her in making one of the most important purchases of her life; her wedding gown.

As Jalene placed the phone back on the cradle, she sobbed. This was another example of the missed joys and memories that accompanies a working mom. Jalene arrived home at the end of the week, saddened that she was unable to be with Marie as she had tried on dozens of gowns.

The aspirations they both had from so many years before, for Marie’s special day, had to be altered due to the swiftly approaching date. The reception, music and perhaps even the flowers had been altered to accommodate the forthcoming wedding. For years Marie and Jalene had planned a beautiful garden reception in their back yard. Nothing remained constant in the plans now, as they changed from day to day.

Each week as Jalene boarded a plane, leaving behind family and home, she was reminded that being a working mother was a necessity to make Marie’s day a special one. Without her working full-time they would never have the financial means to provide the wedding of Marie’s dreams. Years later when Jalene realized Chuck never truly loved her, the fact that he used her only for an additional “pay check” caused many sleepless nights and hours of tears.

Marie had her dress and even though that seemed to be the most significant aspect of the wedding to her, much was left to plan and decide before her big day arrived. Marie noted that she desired Chuck and Jalene decide much of the wedding details, since they were paying for the wedding.

Jalene was astounded. What bride didn’t want to decide every minute detail? On week-ends when she was home, Chuck and Jalene met with florists, caterers, musicians, etc. They amassed options for the wedding essentials, shared them with Marie and Tom whom then made the final decision. There were few wedding elements which the four of them didn’t agree upon.

Even though Chuck and Jalene were the primary “planners” for the event, Marie noted the options provided for her and Tom were perfect. The only conflict during all these proposals was the pricey antique Rolls Royce which Tom desired for their transportation from the church to the reception rather than driving Chuck’s one-year old Mercedes Benz.

Due to the expense of the wedding, Chuck felt this optional transportation should be the expenditure of the groom. When this became a source of contention between Tom, his parents, Marie, Chuck and Jalene, Chuck “gave in” and paid for a frivolous ride to the reception.

There would be many other ruts along life’s path. Chuck and Jalene didn’t wish to begin the journey with Tom and his parents with ruts they may have caused. Oh, the reality of having another “son” in their family with different opinions and values from their own!

Please continue to follow Jalene’s journey. Her autobiographical blog began in April 2016 from her childhood.

Does He Have A Brother?

By the end of the year in 1992, Chuck informed Jalene they would be moving to FL in less than a year. Jalene 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 Jalene to realize he was totally in control, he cited, “this is not a topic for discussion. We are moving.”

Jalene went to the guestroom and cried. She wondered why everything always had to be for the whims and desires of Chuck. She knew in a city of over 1.2 million people there were indeed other jobs. Sometimes she wondered if Chuck mandated all these moves just to cause her more sorrow. Years later when she realized Chuck had spent most of their marriage not loving her, her assumptions would be validated. For the moment, it was 1992 and she realized she must succumb to Chuck’s command to prepare their 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. Sherilyn 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 Sherilyn 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 Sherilyn were working together, a man walked into the store and went directly to Sherilyn to begin a conversation. Maire quickly learned this was Sherilyn’s husband. “Wow”, Marie exclaimed, “he is really a knockout.” Sherilyn proceeded to tell Marie, her husband, Skip had three other single brothers. “Do they all look like him?”, Marie quipped. Sherilyn said “sure, they are all very handsome.”

When Sherilyn returned to work the next day, she brought her wedding album for Marie to view Skip’s three eligible brothers. Marie and Sherilyn laughed like two teen-agers as Marie selected which of the three she would like to meet for dinner. Sherilyn was delighted to be playing “match maker.”

The blind date dinner with Sherilyn 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, 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 Jalene that Tom was going to propose. Almost breathless, Jalene, 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 Jalene tearfully hugged one another. Jalene 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 weddinng.” Marie also requested that Jalene 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 Jalene, Tom sat in their living room, Marie at his side. Jalene’s eyes began swelling with tears as Tom and Chuck conversed, for she realized her 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 Jalene would have for years to come. Not only was their 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 Jalene’s journey. Her autobiographical blog began in April 2016 from her childhood.

The Next Chapter

The day was near! One of the first milestone events of Marie’s life’s journey was rapidly approaching. The years of being a camp fire girl, music lessons, soccer games and tournaments, tennis and swim lessons, orchestra rehearsals and concerts, losing teeth, wearing braces and countless other childhood experiences were now memories and pages in scrapbooks and photo albums.

On the day of this celebration, Jalene happily and eagerly completed the final details for Marie’s pre-graduation brunch. Jalene was in her element when entertaining. The food and decorations had to be of perfection to delight not only the honoree but also the guests.

Cap and gown in hand, Marie pulled out of the driveway, parents family and friends following behind. Within a few hours this chapter of Marie’s life would be history before moving forward on her path. As pomp and circumstance played, Jalene’s eyes filled with tears and she felt certain Marie’s most probably were also.

As with most parents, Jalene recalled her own high school graduation, the hopes and dreams she too had for her future. As much as the tears for Marie, were Jalene’s tears for the great disappointments of her own life. Jalene had prayed that Marie and Christian would be able to fulfill their life’s ambitions more productively than she had accomplished her own.

Summer passed quickly while Marie continued her position as assistant manager at the local Hallmark store. This had not only been an excellent part-time job for Marie but provided remarkable experience for future jobs in her chosen career of marketing. The high acclaims for Marie’s skills as such a young assistant manager added to Chuck’s and Jalene’s pride of their eldest child and only daughter.

Jalene and Marie spent the summer purchasing charming dorm linens and décor. Though the dorm rooms were small, every collegiate wanted their space to be as comfortable as their rooms at home. The class schedule was finalized. Books were purchased and the big day had arrived; move in day as a Freshman at the University of Oklahoma.

Because Marie was the first grandchild to be attending college, this was an event for some of the extended family. Grandparents, an aunt and cousins all caravaned to Norman from Edmond to assist Marie as she moved the car loads of her treasures into her “first home” away from home.

Upon arrival and settling into her room, Marie realized some of the necessities were missing. With a trip to Target and several hundred dollars later, Marie’s room now held all the luxuries and necessities required for the next 9 months of her life. With hugs and tearful good-byes Chuck and Jalene left their precious daughter standing on the threshold of the next chapter of her life.

Doug remained a prominent part of Marie’s life. Even though she was attending a different university than Doug, their friendship remained strong. A fact Marie and Jalene were grateful for, on what was at that time, a most traumatic day for Marie.

Jalene was home when she heard loud and hysterical sobs from Marie. Doug was walking close behind, attempting to console her. Jalene was perplexed. “Sweetheart, what has happened?” Marie could hardly speak, as her sobs became wails. Doug spoke for her. She can’t return to OU. Additionally, she can’t enroll at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Why? What happened? Finally, Marie calmed down enough to say she had failed too many classes. Jalene was stunned. How could that be? It seems Marie had experienced what countless university freshman students experience. Much fun and little study equal failing classes. Jalene sighed, thinking quietly, Marie and hundreds of other students can no longer “squeeze by” as they did in high school.

Marie thought she could enroll at the local university, but when on academic probation from one university, the student must “sit out” for a semester or two before they are permitted to re-enroll. Marie had not discussed her dilemma with her parents, as she thought she could hide the details of the request to change universities. Now, she had to divulge the truth.

This was not a tragedy; merely a little bump along life’s path. Marie would move home, locate a full-time job and return to her studies when her probation period ended. Whereas, this was a major obstacle to Marie in her young life, years later she realized this was minor compared to other life impediments.

Please continue to follow Jalene’s journey. Her autobiographical blog began in April 2016 from her childhood.

Flying Fingers

Where had the years gone? Marie was now a senior in high school. The years of attending her orchestra concerts were now going to be memories. What a joy it had been when Ben and occasionally Lorraine would drive up to Edmond from Oklahoma City to also hear Marie’s concerts. Now the Wood family’s life was entering a new chapter; one which saddened Jalene tremendously. However, she realized some things in life are inevitable and time truly does not stand still.

As the termination of Marie’s senior year approached, Jalene queried Marie as to whether she and Doug, Marie’s boyfriend of the past year would be attending the senior prom. “No, Mom, I’m not going since Doug has already graduated and is now in college”. Jalene reminded Marie, “okay sweetheart. I just wanted to be certain if you attended that we had plenty of time to shop for a dress.”

Jalene continued with her schedule of working as a corporate dietitian and teaching as an adjunct teacher at the local college. She ran errands after work, dashed home to prepare the evening dinner and prepare for the next day’s routine. Jalene’s life held no excitement or intrigue.

Nonetheless, Jalene was also reminded daily her life was not like that of other Christian wives. Every day the dysfunction of her life seemed to vibrate in her head with each breath. Silently she would “cry out” to God, “why does Chuck not love me? What can I do so he will love me?”

Jalene knew how greatly Chuck desired money and that he admired the professional women whom worked for him. Jalene had voiced her true passion countless times during their marriage; she didn’t yearn to be employed. She longed to be a full-time wife and mother; to devote her time to her family. Nonetheless, it was imperative to Chuck that Jalene would bring in an income, which allowed him to continue to purchase the luxuries of life he so greatly coveted.

Chuck reiterated that Jalene must work in order to provide their children with opportunities. Jalene’s reply to Chuck never changed, “your income is more than sufficient to provide all the necessities and many desires for this family. You don’t need my income. Why do you insist that I must work outside our home?” Jalene realized Chuck’s reply would either be total silence, or he would argue with her.

The Mercedes in the garage was not a necessity, nor was the more expensive home which Chuck mandated they purchase. Jalene was tearful when she recalled the numerous calls from the realtor beseeching that Jalene allow Chuck to purchase their current home.

Jalene also reminisced her frequent replies to Bobbie, “we don’t need another house. I love our house. It is brand new and the one which Chuck wants is twice the money for the same size, but older home.” Bobbie continued to plead, “Chuck says Kickingbird is a more prestigious neighborhood.” Jalene knew once again that Chuck’s image was paramount to him. Jalene also learned that when Chuck wanted something her life would become intolerable until he achieved his goal.

Now, 9 years later, Jalene disliked the home as much as the day it became their new residence. However, there would be other situations with Chuck that his will would override Jalene’s desires. Jalene was grateful for Marie’s entrance through the garage door so that her mind brought her back to reality. Marie was jubiliant, “Mom, can you make me a dress. Doug and I have decided to go to the prom?” Jalene caught her breath as she replied, “Marie, it is only two weeks until the prom.” Marie was not concerned, “oh I know, but you can do it.”

Over the years Jalene’s sewing skills were not as honed as when the children were younger due to her outside employment and countless requirements for the family, but she delighted in presenting a sewing project to family and friends. Jalene was enthusiastic and eager to shop with Marie for a pattern and fabric to create the perfect prom dress. The family graciously accepted quick meals over the next couple of weeks as Jalene noted she would need “flying fingers” to accomplish this task on such short notice.

“Mission accomplished”! One day to spare! As this unforgettable moment arrived, Marie stepped into the evening sun with her handsome date. Marie was blissful. This was a memory which Jalene would treasure for years. Her beautiful daughter was radiant as always, but the dress handmade with love by Jalene was even more perfect that a $1,000 designer gown. The soft mauve peau de soie dress embellished with ruffles and fabric roses was exquisite for the momentous event.

Chuck washed, polished and waxed his car for hours. When Chuck handed Doug the keys to his Mercedes as their transporation to the prom, Doug was flabbergasted but radiating with excitement to be driving his special gal in her Dad’s Mercedes Benz.
Please continue to follow Jalene’s journey. Her blog began in April 2016 from her childhood.

She Just Needed to Be Punished

Over the next few years, the Wood family remained intact while the family’s schedule was routine and expected. With each of the children now teens, the family calendar was filled with assorted activities including concerts, golf and debate tournaments, as well as the occasional need for “parent volunteers”.

Even though Chuck continued to direct Jalene to work outside the home, she always cherished those moments of being with her children, as she knew those moments were fleeting. She truly missed her duties as home room mother, camp fire leader and parent chaperone for school outings. Chuck would occasionally help out with these events, but more often than not, he was working.

Red-letter events such as family birthdays and holidays remained a highlight for Jalene. Planning these celebrations concluded in days of preparation in decorating the home, purchasing special gifts, cooking and baking for all the guests. Whether it was a party for a few or many, Jalene loved to give her time and attention to every minute detail; making all those whom entered their home feel welcomed and appreciated.

In addition to the numerous celebrations throughout the year, Jalene had been offered the opportunity to open their home to international guests for up to 6 weeks at a time. After conversing with Chuck and the children, they all believed this would be an opportunity to “bring the world” to them, since their vacations and travel were limited.

Jalene also signed up to host local international college students in their home. The commitment mandated a monthly visit with the family and student(s). Jalene savored the occasion to share their home and culture with these students whom were removed from their family and friends thousands of miles away. Jalene also encouraged their assigned student(s) to bring their friends. Often times the Wood family’s home would be abuzz with as many as a dozen international students and their friends. Marie was grateful and appreciative for these opportunities as she often bonded with the guests. Although, Christian was not as welcoming to those whom the family hosted.

Chuck and Jalene continued to have frequent verbal confrontations. However, Jalene’s love for Chuck remained paramount even though she realized his love for her was not equal. With her strong religious beliefs and vows, she always had faith the marriage would be healed and some day Chuck would love her. There were also the occasional “good days” which caused Jalene to realize their marriage was worth saving.

Physical intimacy between Chuck and Jalene was seldom and this persisted to be one of Jalene’s greatest sorrows in their marriage. Sometimes she longed for even a hug from Chuck, but he believed she was asking too much.

Chuck was a good provider for the family, but Jalene often thought how gladly she would trade their luxury home and “extras” for a more modest home and life, if only she had a husband whom loved her as much as he loved his career and income. Jalene discerned she could not change Chuck’s desire for wealth and prestige, but she continued to pray his heart would be changed; to desire her as his wife, as much as she desired him to be her husband. Jalene so greatly missed what the other couples in their sphere of influence had; loving mates whom enjoyed the company of each other.

In future years Jalene would look at some of the lovely gifts which Chuck bought her instead of giving her the physical and emotional love and support she so greatly cherished. She would tearfully recall those moments of receiving his gifts, wishing for a loving touch, a warm kiss or embrace.

During one of the lingering conflicts, Chuck would not utter a single word to Jalene for 15 days. He knew this was causing her great anxiety and sorrow, but it was deliberate punishment. Jalene sought counsel from their pastor and a psychologist as her emotional anxiety increased.

Their pastor had requested to converse with both Chuck and Jalene for an understanding of such behavior. Chuck was unable to provide an explanation or rationale. He noted, he did so just to punish Jalene, but he couldn’t recall what she had done to bring such chastisement. This would be the pattern of their marriage for years to come. Jalene’s pleas to Chuck for an understanding of what she had done to cause such actions would always be refused.

During Chuck’s frequent absence from the family, Christian challenged Jalene’s patience to the utmost. His dishonesty of being with friends when he was actually into mischief became the “norm” rather the sporadic shenanigans. He remained an excellent student, in spite of his orneriness. Jalene would learn years later that her requisite to discipline her children in the absence of Chuck would have a lingering effect of their anger toward her, but especially from Christian.

Please continue to follow Jalene’s journey. Her blog began in April 2016 from her childhood.

I Don’t Care If She Starves

 

The Wood family’s schedule continued with jobs, school, sports, music lessons and countless church, community and school events. Chuck’s routine persisted to be arriving home long after dinner was consumed, the children had completed their homework and were settled in bed.

As Jalene  conversed with counselors and her pastor, she realized Chuck’s disdain for her only intensified. She maintained  her pleas to Chuck for an understanding of what she could do to be the wife he desired, but his isolation of her heightened .  The physical abuse strengthened as Chuck  shoved and restrained Jalene, while his emotional support and physical interaction were virtually non-existent.

Jalene’s counselor and pastor recommended she have a reprieve from Chuck. As the pastor queried whether Jalene had  friends or family whom she could temporarily reside with, she did not. However, she realized their counsel was correct. She could not remain as she was. She informed the children now a teen and pre-teen they would be moving from the house temporarily. They were adamant. They had no desire to move into an apartment and to leave their rooms and “things”.

Jalene was also stunned to hear Marie tell her that she knew “who buttered her bread” and if she left to accompany Jalene, Chuck would “write her off”. When Jalene shared these comments with her counselor, he informed her these were not the words of a 13-year-old. These were the words of her controlling and manipulative father.

Jalene pleaded with her children to join her, but at an early age, “things” became more important than relationships. Jalene grappled with whether to remain in the intense abuse or delay the inevitable. As she prepared to depart, Chuck physically and forcibly prevented her from removing anything from their home except her clothing and personal items.

They had additional furniture in the attic which sat collecting dust, but he reminded her it was his house and all things belonged to him. Jalene cited that she too was working, and they had achieved everything they owned with God’s love, grace and income together.  Other than their personal items, Jalene reiterated everything else was co-owned by each of them. Nonetheless, Chuck forbid her from removing even a dinner plate from their home. Abuse, control and manipulation were paramount to Chuck.

Jalene was dejected as she went from apartment to apartment to locate one which she could afford on her part-time income. In the 1980’s furnished apartments were not as plentiful and many too costly on her meager salary. After locating the apartment, she had to locate a bed, chair and table which she could lease short-term. Her anguish was the greatest she had ever felt. However, she was yet to learn of Chuck’s inconceivable behavior.

By the time she leased the apartment and meager furnishings and paid the deposits on the utilities, she was penniless. There was not even $1.00 for groceries. Working as a consulting dietitian in long-term care enabled her to eat lunch at the facilities where she consulted. That was her daily, sole meal. Survival became her utmost goal.

In less than 24 hours after she moved into the apartment, she learned Chuck had removed her name from joint savings and checking accounts. Fortunately, one of the banks required that a joint account be written as “and”, which negated Chuck’s attempt to remove her from that account.  However, she was eliminated from other accounts and therefore no access to monetary funds.

The week-end following Jalene’s arrival to the apartment she telephoned her children to come and join her for an outing. Christian refused, but Marie anticipated the outing. Upon arrival to Jalene’s apartment, as curious teens do, Marie began snooping in all the cabinets. Marie shrieked, “Mom, where is your food?”  Tearfully Jalene replied, “Baby, I can’t afford food. It took all I had to move into the apartment.”  Marie continued, “but how do you eat?” Woefully Jalene answered, “I eat my lunch at the nursing homes, but don’t eat dinner.”

Marie and Jalene enjoyed their evening together of watching a television movie and snacking on popcorn, which Jalene had purchased for Marie’s arrival.  When Jalene delivered Marie back home, little Marie was eager to let Chuck know Jalene had no food.

Chuck’s harsh and angry reply startled Marie, “I don’t care if your mother starves to death. She is the one that left.” After 15 years of abuse from Chuck, Jalene comprehended that no one mattered to him. His only concerns in life were his finances, prestige and image. As a tax director for a local oil company, his income was sufficient that Jalene should never have been mandated to work outside the home. However, Chuck’s rapaciousness and narcissism nullified any rationale for allowing Jalene to be the full-time stay at home wife and mother she so earnestly desired.  Additionally, treating Jalene with even the slightest respect was foreign to Chuck.

Please continue Jalene’s journey. Her blog began in April 2016 from her childhood.