The 30 Year Old College Student

As Jalene approached her 30th birthday, her desire to complete her college education increased.  She realized that with Chuck’s mandate for her to earn an income, she preferred to perform a job she enjoyed rather than merely bringing home a paycheck. She would attend classes while Marie was in school and Christian was in pre-school three days a week.

Chuck balked at Jaelene’s plans. He had required she drop out of college 10 years earlier. Jalene was determined.  Chuck was not going to prevent her now from returning to college. She quietly stashed away some of her meager earnings, so with the upcoming semester she could enroll in one or two classes. When Chuck understood he could not dissuade Jalene from returning to college, he seceded.

Jalene’s days were long, but she endured. She awakened early to prepare her children for their day, awaited for the other youngsters to arrive and drove all of them to school. On the days Christian attended pre-school, she delivered him to his awaiting teachers and quickly dashed to her own classes. She departed from the university in enough time to pick up Christian, return home and await the arrival of Marie and her after school charges.

Once a week she co-led the Camp Fire Girls and often hosted school parties. Additionally, there were other school and church events which Jalene was involved with. By the time she tended to the evening routine of preparing dinner, assisting the children with schoolwork and their nightly baths and preparation for them to head off to bed, it was a long, full day.

Because Chuck seldom assisted Jalene or interacted with her or the children, her own college studies were during the early hours of the morning. She sometimes remained up until 2-3:00 a.m. to complete her studies after she had fulfilled her duties as mom and homemaker.

Jalene endured tremendous stress working part-time jobs to earn additional income for the family, being involved in the children’s school activities, maintaining all the duties of mother and homemaker and now the role of a college student. Nonetheless, Jalene knew the end results would be of great benefit to her, if she could just “get through this difficult time. Chuck became more abusive toward Jalene as he realized she was gaining a new understanding of independence.

Her scope of life was broadened with not only her college classes, but the opportunity of interacting with a diverse group of individuals. Frequently, Chuck would disagree with Jalene during casual conversation about current events or happenings in the community. It greatly angered Chuck when Jalene could validate what she had noted was true.

She was disquieted when the children would “chime in”, “Daddy is right”, even though often times he was not. Jalene quickly realized Chuck’s determination to make her appear inferior to him would always be the victor over the truth.

When the children were young toddlers Chuck informed Jalene that he had no desire to discipline the children. She was with them all day. Therefore, she could address any concerns she had with them. The children learned rapidly that they could speak to Jalene rudely or treat her with great disrespect and there was no one who whom punish them. Jalene was deemed  the “mean parent” very early in the chidlren’s lives. She attempted to instill morals and Godly principles in the children, but she had no back up from Chuck.

At age three, Marie put her hands on her hips and said, “I will tell my Daddy when he comes home.” She did and it remained for the duration of Marie’s life. Well into her 40’s and beyond, anytime Jalene said anything which Marie disagreed with, she “ran to Daddy”. Each of the children knew that whatever the situation and no matter the reality, Chuck would “side” with them.

Not having a husband whom loved, supported or cared about her always compounded her anxiety. Chuck was becoming more abusive with each passing year. Another young mother in the community, Sarah was aware of Jalene’s problematic marriage and the strain she endured. Sarah recommended that Jalene seek counseling.

As the sorrow of Jalene’s life cascaded onto the ears of the counselor, Jalene realized the past 30 years of her life were indeed atypical. She was born into a family of poverty to extremely abusive parents. She naively left home to marry an abusive, gay man. When attempting to have her marriage annulled, her parents and pastor informed her she must remain as she took vows before God and that is what was expected of her.

Now without physical or emotional love from her husband, she realized she must learn to live with the circumstances she was facing. Additionally, the more the counselor learned of the abuse from Charles, the more he became aware of the serious abuse of her youth and young adult life. Jalene was absolutely on a surreal life’s path.

If you have not followed Jalene’s journey, her story  began in April 2016 when she was a child in OH.

We Just Wanted To See You

Jalene was cognizant that Chuck truly didn’t have the devotion to her, as she did toward him.  Each week-end she would eagerly anticipate his visits, but he seldom came home to be with his family. He spent his week-ends with his parents or his brother. Jalene had flashbacks of their honeymoon when Chuck chose to spend it with his brother, Mike instead of her. Now, he was repeating his actions by refusing to come home to his wife and two young children, ages two and four.

Chuck and Jalene fought harshly and frequently when they were together, but one of their most combative arguments was on a week-end when Jalene had loaded the car with the two children and headed to OK for a week-end. She wanted to see her husband and desired that the children could see their Daddy. She was in absolute dismay when she arrived at her in-law’s home and was greeted with intense anger from Chuck.

He didn’t want Jalene there. He told her he would see her in several weeks, so why had she chosen to make a trip from TX to OK?  As she sobbed uncontrollably her chest heaved, “I just wanted to see you. I love and miss you.” Chuck was abrupt and harsh, “I said I would be home in a few weeks. I don’t want you here.”

Chuck instructed Jalene to “get in the car” as he didn’t want them arguing in his parents’ small home. Jalene had experienced Chuck’s abuse previously, but once again when they were in the car, Chuck’s rage increased. Repeatedly he queried her as to why she had come. Her reply never changed as she told of her love and devotion for him. She reminded him that she and the children missed him.

While driving down the street, the car door opened and Jalene jumped out, walking in the cold, dark night air. She prayed aloud as she walked, salty tears stung her eyes. Why did the husband she loved so deeply, have such disdain for her? As she walked, it was quite some time before Chuck came to look for her. If she could have known what the future held for her that would have been the very last time such a conflict occurred. However, it would be one of hundreds over the next years of their marriage.

While the children played with their grandparents during the week-end, Chuck’s wrath remained with jalene. She quietly cried as she returned home to TX; alone with only her children and void of the love of her husband.

Months passed and the TX home eventually sold. While seeking a home in OK, Chuck and Jalene located a new home under construction. They were able to make selections to complete the house with their personal tastes and influence. This necessitated moving temporarily  into another apartment. Jalene was hopeful the apartment residency would be worth the wait for the new home.

Within hours of moving into the apartment, the children had been severely bitten by fleas. Jalene’s little family didn’t posses a pet, but it was apparent the previous occupants of the apartment had. Also evident was the fact the apartment corporation had not properly cleaned and fumigated the apartment. The flea bites required a physician’s visit for the children.  The severe infestation in the children’s  bedroom appeared to be where the pet had been housed.  If the parasites were not enough of a problem, the apartment flooded during a strong rain storm.

Jalene was at her wits’ ends. Would her life ever be normal? Chuck’s chronic career relocations and residing in apartments was becoming a challenge. Jalene reminded herself that her pastor and parents noted she took a vow and must remain in the marriage; for better or worse. The enduring abuse and control from Chuck compounded with his inability to remain “rooted and secure” in his career caused Jalene to ponder often her decision to marry Chuck.

When the day arrived for the Wood family to move into their new home, the elation was experienced by all the family. The children were free from dwelling together in one room in a small, dirty apartment. They each had rooms of their own, which they had selected. Jalene had a huge, new kitchen to enjoy not only preparing meals for the family, but much space to entertain famiy and future friends.

Chuck and Jalene were the first residents of not only a new house, but a brand new neighborhood in Edmond, OK, a college surburb of Oklahoma City. Edmond of the 1970’s consisted primarily of long-term residents; families whom were business owners and professionals. Edmond didn’t readily accept newcomers. Nonetheless, Jalene rapidly became involved in the community, becoming a home-room mother, Camp Fire leader and Sunday School teacher, as well as contributing countless hours to other volunteer work.

Even though Marie and Christian were young and Jalene desired to be a full-time mother to them, Chuck mandated that she look for employment to assist with the family budget. She became a care-giver for children before and after school, as well as catering and cake decorating from her home.

Jalene resented the circumstances of Chuck moving from career to career for his personal desires, but always mandated that Jalene seek part-time employment. Additional income was not required from her. Nonetheless it was an opportunity for Chuck to control Jalene. With each passing month, the abuse from Chuck became more severe.

Please continue to join Jalene as she struggles to cope with Chuck and the abusive marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Commentary on Domestic Violence

Dear Readers,

Even though my blog is very early in my life’s journey, as the years passed and presently where I am in life (now in my 60’s), the tremendous sorrow and heartache of remaining in such a volatile and abusive marriage all those years has taken a toll on me emotionally.

I have maintained a close walk and strong faith in the Lord, but it has never diminished the heartbreak over the domestic violence and eventual estrangement of my children. I attended a faith based domestic violence workshop last week-end in Chicago. I learned then that it isn’t unusual for abusers to not only control their spouses, but also their children.

This has certainly been the situation for me. Additionally, my ex of 44 years has a very affluent career which will leave each of my two children and their families  wealthy when he passes. I was left with very little following the divorce, so all I can offer is my love, dedication and support.

For children whom are seeking financial security as they age, they feel it is the better choice to join their father’s camp, than to remain with me. Even though it doesn’t lessen the sadness, I have a better understanding of abusers like my ex, after attending the workshop. They control and manipulate any/all persons they can until the day they die. It is their nature; their personality.  As we learned during the workshop last week “ABUSE HAS NO PLACE IN LOVE.”

Thank you readers for following me on my journey.

 

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.

It is Normal for Men to Control

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.

A Belated Mother’s Day Reflection

EGreetings dear readers! A happy belated Mother’s Day to each of you ladies. Whether or not you are a mother if you have loved, supported, encouraged and/or mentored a child, you are indeed a “mom”, a figure of influence and position.

Mother’s Day is sincerely the most sorrowful day of the year for me. Even though I’m alone on all holidays and my birthday, Mother’s Day ranks as the “worst day of the year for me”. After a 23 year estrangement from my son and his family, I’m reminded that he has discarded me as much as my parents did and also my husband of 44 years.

All persons have some value. We are certainly esteemed to the God whom created us. Each of us possess strengths and weaknesses. We embolden some individuals, while it may appear we dishearten others. All personalities will not interweave with others. Yet, there is value in almost all of mankind.

As I have shared in my previous blogs, my parents were extremely abusive toward me; yet I always honored them for the position they held in my life. They were my parents. When I read The Purpose Drive Life by Rick Warren, I sobbed uncontrollably at his words on page 25 as follows:

“This poem by Russell Kelfer sums it up:

You are who you are for a reason.

You’re part of an intricate plan.

You’re a precious and perfect unique design,

Called God’s special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason

Our God made no mistake.

He knit you together within the womb,

You’re just what he wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones he chose,

And no matter how you may feel,

They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,

And they bear the Master’s seal.

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.

And God wept that it hurt you so;

But it was allowed to shape your heart

So that into his likeness you’d grow

You are who you are for a reason,

You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.

You are who you are, beloved,

Because there is a God “

 

How my heart ached as I read those words, for I didn’t then, nor do I now understand why God chose such unloving, unkind and abusive parents. Yet they were my parents and I honored each of them until the day they died. I never failed to honor them on a holiday, their birthdays and especially on the day we honor our parents; Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Because of the deep lamentation I endured with my parents, I unequivocally provided a home of love, support and encouragement for my own two children. My daughter, now the mother of four is beginning to learn more with each passing day that being a parent doesn’t instill in us a sense of perfection. Even with my imperfections,  her love toward me is a gift I deeply cherish.

As persons first and parents second, we attempt to do our very best. Nonetheless, our best is not always what others may desire. Their yearnings may be different from ours. Yet I can say with the utmost sincerity that my devotion and love for my family has always been foremost in my thoughts and actions.

Thus, I’m perplexed at the depths of hatred and anger Christopher displays toward me. Yet, it’s now the majority of the past 23 years that I never receive even a word from Christopher on any day; certainly not on a special day. The sacrifices Charles and I made for him to be the successful attorney he is today were made without hesitation.  The sorrow I now endure to know that we deprived our entire family of so many things in order to “give” our utmost to Chris is unrivaled.

Please continue with me as I return to the journey which brought me to my present life. If you wish to begin my journey with me, please read the blog from April 2016 which transpires through my abusive and difficult childhood. The journaling of my life has been slow due to the reality of coping with life as a single, senior. The challenges of living totally alone void of family and friends is arduous. In time, my life’s journal will be completed. Along, the way, I desire only to bless others whom have experienced similar obstacles.  Happy belated Mother’s Day!

IT’S A BOY!

Dear Readers

Thank you for your patience with my return. Life can certainly present obstacles, which preclude us from fulfilling our goals and desires. Hopefully, for now, I will be able to resume my routine blogs on my life’s odyssey.

As a refresher from the previous blog, Jalene was now expecting their 3rd baby in less than 2 years. When their daughter was only a few months old, Jalene lost a second baby in a miscarriage.

Whereas, their small cozy apartment was comfortable for a family of 3, Chuck and Jalene comprehended it would not suffice for a family of 4. They had recently purchased an older home in ill repair in the northern OK community of Enid, where Chuck had accepted his first career position following his military commitment.

We will now proceed with the next chapter of Jalene’s life. Because Jalene’s previous two pregnancies had been atypical, she chose to maintain her relationship with Dr. Perry whom had delivered Marie. This involved a commute to Oklahoma City from Enid for each of her appointments.  The Dr. requested Jalene be closer to the hospital during her last few weeks of pregnancy. He reiterated to Jalene that should there be a problem the 100 mile commute to the hospital would offer a challenge for a safe and healthy delivery.

Jalene dreaded staying with the Wood’s while awaiting the arrival of their new blessing.  She realized there were no other options, as Chuck was required to remain in Enid for his job. Jalene also knew Jayne and Glenn had no desire for her and Marie to stay with them. Ben became the father she never had, but with each passing year, Lorraine despised Jalene more than when she initially met her.

Relatives and friends of Lorraine’s rationalized her disdain of Jalene was because she took Lorraine’s beloved “Chuck” from her. As years passed, Jalene understood that Lorraine had always viewed Chuck as a substitute husband for his Dad. Ben and Lorraine had an extremely dysfunctional marriage, but Chuck was always there for all of Lorraine’s requests and demands. Chuck never divulged this information until years later as his own marriage was crumbling.

As Jalene completed her first week of staying with the Wood’s, while awaiting the birth of baby Wood, she began having stomach cramps. Unlike the labor pains with Marie, she felt it was nothing significant. However, because Chuck had come to visit over the week-end, he insisted she telephone Dr. Perry before returning home to Enid, to be certain the cramps were not a medical concern. Jalene was somewhat dubious of her doctor’s orders to go immediately to the hospital. She did not believe she was in labor, so was perplexed that Dr. Perry was concerned.

Upon her arrival to the hospital and the examination, she and Chuck were informed they would be parents to their new baby before the night was over. Jalene’s labor increased more rapidly than with Marie. At 11:59, January 13, 1974 Christian Wood completed their family of 4.  As with Marie, Chuck and Jalene were unaware of the gender of their precious baby until he or she entered the world. They were thrilled to hear, it’s a boy. Jalene now had her prayers answered; a daughter and a son. Would this change Chuck’s cold and aloof attitude toward her? She knew most men desired a son to not only bond with, but also to carry on the legacy of the family.

She remained as hopeful as she did when their daughter was born that Chuck would feel as blessed as she did. They were now parents to a toddler and new infant. Jalene was thrilled, but she also knew that if only Chuck loved her, the family she now had would bring an “almost” perfection to her life.

As Jalene had done less than two years prior with Marie, she held Christian on her lap for the 100 mile voyage to their home in Enid. Jalene believed Christian was as handsome as Marie had been beautiful. She was blessed! Her family was complete. Now what could she do so that her husband would love her?

Please continue Jalene’s journey as a wife and mother. If you are new to the blog, you may desire to begin the journey from Jalene’s early life. Jalene began this timeline in April 2016 from her childhood through today Thank you for following. May you be blessed as you share Jalene’s challenges of life.

Our Family Is Complete

After several weeks of the illness which Jalene had experienced with the two previous pregnancies, she made an appointment to see her gynecologist. He confirmed what she suspected, but nonetheless she was perplexed. Jalene and Chuck had taken not one, but several precautions against a pregnancy for at least another year.

Jalene had been pregnant for two consecutive years and with the frequent and intense migraine headaches, she realized her body needed a little more time to heal. Hysterically, Jalene said “Dr. Perry, how can I be pregnant when we were using not one, but two contraceptives?” Before, Dr. Perry could answer, Jalene spoke in broken sentences between the sobs, “I desperately want another baby, but had planned on waiting until next year to become pregnant”.

Dr. Perry explained that due to their infrequent sexual intimacy, contraceptives had a great challenge in fulfilling their task. As he cited, “physiologically the human body and its’ functions are stronger than man-made contraceptives”. Jalene left her Physician’s office with great joy in her heart, but fearful of the outcome when she informed Chuck she was pregnant again for the 3rd time in less than 1.5 years.

As the weeks passed, Jalene’s nausea and vomiting increased. Her ability to care for Marie and her full time responsibilities of the home while providing excellent customer service to her sewing clientele were a challenge.

Because they would now be a family of 4, the urgency to move into a house was more of a priority than ever before. Living in a small community, the offerings for homes were limited. Most of the homes were more expensive than Chuck and Jalene could afford. This didn’t dissuade her from weekly visits to homes for sale. One day while driving through an older neighborhood of small post WWII homes, Jalene noticed a ramshackled home with peeling paint which was for sale by owner. Excitedly, she informed Chuck of the house in a quiet neighborhood, which she believed might be affordable for them.

They telephoned the home owners to set up an appointment to tour the home.  Prior to entering the house Chuck and Jalene noticed the drive and sidewalk were abundant with healthy and vibrant weeds among the broken pieces of chipped concrete. Jalene’s heart sank when she walked through the front door of the house. The exterior was merely the inauguration to a lengthy list of required repairs and updates for the house.  There was no foyer, but the walls of the small living area greeted them with stained, peeling paint and holes throughout the room.   Jalene jokingly said “it appears these walls were used for dart boards”. The owner proudly shared she was correct. He had not worked for several months and throwing darts at the walls had been his pass time. Even though a young couple currently owned the home, it appeared it had been beaten and battered for decades. The carpet reeked with pet odors, while also bearing tattered holes and frays.

The kitchen floors and counter tops were not sporting the trends of the 1970’s, but possessed the characteristics of the vivid and flashy days of the 1950’s; turquoise and pink.  The linoleum floors were peeling from their foundation and the speckled Formica countertop banded with metal trim were obviously in vogue when the house was built, but had never been updated.  The kitchen lacked any modern appliances. There was no dishwasher or microwave; the only appliance in the kitchen was an old, dysfunctional free standing range.

The miniscule bathroom mirrored the kitchen with the linoleum and countertops. Each room of the house had its’ problems, but Chuck and Jalene could see a bright and joyful house shining through the depression of neglect and abuse.

Not much larger than the 900 square foot homes which Chuck and Jalene had called “home” when living with their families of origin, this small house with 1,100 feet boasted  3 beds, 1 bath, 1 living room and a tiny kitchen.  However, the single car garage with a washer hook up provided them the necessities for their young family. There was not a space or hook up for a dryer, but homes of the 1950’s always provided the luxury of a clothes line. Sunshine and nature would be the family clothes dryer for the duration of their residency should this home become theirs.

Aside from all the work which Chuck and Jalene would be required to do to make this house habitable for their family; the greatest obstacle was obtaining money for a down payment.  As mentioned earlier, Chuck’s assignment to a local Army Reserve unit provided them a meager supplemental income to assist with their needs. There was never money for “luxuries or extras”, but with Jalene’s sewing, Chuck’s full-time employment and his small check from Uncle Sam, they managed to survive.

Where could they locate the money for a down payment? Chuck and Jalene visited their local bank. As Jalene would cite countless times over her lifetime; God was in the details. The banker was in the Army Reserve with Chuck. He agreed to loan them the down payment and the mortgage.  Now finances would be even tighter than while residing in the small apartment. In addition to the payment for their single car and other miscellaneous expenses, they would have both a monthly down payment obligation and a mortgage payment.

Life for the Wood family was changing once again. A new baby was on the way. They were purchasing a ramshackled home which was almost unfit for residency, but with much time, love and dedication, Chuck and Jalene believed this little house could be a “home” for their soon to be family of 4.

Please continue Jalene’s journey as a wife and mother. If you are new to the blog, you may desire to begin the journey from Jalene’s early life. Jalene began this timeline in April 2016, from her childhood through today. Thank you for following. May you be blessed as you share Jalene’s challenges of life.

Not Just One Dollar

Chuck’s first career job was at such a low pay scale that many high school graduates’ wages equaled Chuck’s even with his accounting degree. Chuck and Jalene were grateful for his job which provided for their apartment, utilities, the single car and their few, meager necessities.

However, they were struggling to meet their daily needs. Ben and Lorraine frequently brought Chuck and Jalene groceries during visits to see their new granddaughter.  They were aware of Chuck and Jalene’s difficulty in providing for all their requirements.

Jalene was ecstatic when she walked outside their apartment one morning and found a dollar bill lying in the flower bed. Although only a dollar, it was enough to purchase two cans of formula for Marie. Jalene immediately thanked God for the blessing. She was concerned as to where they would obtain the money for additional formula which was totally depleted. Chuck had sold his prized coin collection which his uncles and grandfather began for him when he was a child. Money was so sparse, they were liquidating anything they could sell to cover their basic obligations.

As a result of their financial hardships, Jalene began a home custom sewing business. She began sewing at age 10 as a 4-H Club member and prided herself that her garments always won 1st place in all the sewing competitions. Although she dropped out of college to work full-time to enable Chuck to complete his college education, she knew her sewing was a skill which could provide an income for their small family.

Jalene had more sewing business than she could maintain, as her fees were below minimum wage. Had she been a wise entrepreneur, she would have increased her rates. However, because Jalene’s desire was always to be fair and kind to others, she continued to sew long hours for little income. Nonetheless, she made enough to provide some of the essentials for their meager home and lives.

When Marie was 4 months old, Jalene began experiencing extreme nausea. She was hesitant to believe she could be pregnant again.  Chuck’s lack of desire for sexual intimacy had been an obstacle for her to become pregnant with Marie. Thus, she rapidly brushed the thought of pregnancy aside.  As the nausea progressed without subsiding, the doctor confirmed her suspicions. Marie would be an older sister when she was barely one year old.

Even though Jalene had planned on another child when Marie was a little older, she was thrilled to know she would have another baby, but struggled with her pregnancy and illness.  Caring for an infant and maintaining all the tasks of being a full time homemaker, while also fulfilling the increased demands of her sewing customers was becoming a tremendous challenge for Jalene. Additionally, Chuck’s increased anger toward her for their lack of income produced emotional and physiological anxiety.

Jalene began experiencing debilitating and extremely painful headaches. After several physician’s visits, x-rays and medical tests, the doctors confirmed, she was suffering with migraine headaches. Jalene was unaware in 1972 that these headaches would remain with her for the remainder of life.

One day as Jalene was performing her daily tasks, she was jolted when Marie shrieked in pain. As Jalene ran to Marie’s aid, she realized Marie’s foot was entangled under the large bedroom dresser. Jalene fell to the floor to free Marie’s tiny foot, while the infant continue to scream in distress. Jalene was unable to free Marie’s foot without hoisting the heavy dresser.

As soon as Marie was free, Jalene grasped her tiny daughter, holding her tightly in her arms to console her. Jalene was also experiencing much discomfort. Jalene was concerned the baby she was carrying might be harmed from lifting the weighty piece of furniture. She twinged with abdominal pain, but realized there had been no other options. Marie had to be freed from her entrapment.

Several days passed, but Jalene’s pain remained. Early one morning she awakened with an urge to urinate. As she entered the bathroom, her pain was familiar; feeling as though she was in labor. She was now the one shrieking in agony. As Chuck and Jalene arrived at the hospital emergency room, the staff was prompt in telephoning her obstetrician.  Upon his examination Jalene was overcome with grief. She had lost her baby at approximately 20 weeks.

Jalene was disturbed that losing her baby might have been a result of  lifting the heavy chest. Dr. Perry validated he could not confirm this was the cause. He made certain Jalene understood she was not to blame for the loss of the baby. Only God understood the loss of this precious life. Jalene’s sorrow was great as she wept for hours. She remained in the hospital for several days as Dr. Perry and the staff cared for her healing body, while God restored Jalene’s broken heart.

Jalene’s routine resumed with her tasks of homemaker and mother, while the desire to move from the two bedroom apartment into a house was one of her top priorities. Even though her sewing clientele increased, she was unable to provide enough additional income to purchase a small house. Chuck’s salary remained extremely low. They were fortunate he had been placed with an Army Reserve unit following his military assignment in Georgia. This enabled them to have a small monthly supplement to each of their incomes.

In the spring of 1973, Jalene’s nausea returned. Her frequent and intense migraines were always accompanied with nausea. Therefore, she believed the nausea was a component of the headaches. Her frequent requests and desires for intimacy from Chuck continued to be pushed aside as he contributed countless excuses for not being intimate. Therefore, another pregnancy could not be a possibility.

Please continue Jalene’s journey as a wife and mother. If you are new to the blog, you may desire to begin from Jalene’s early life. The blog began in April 2016 when Jalene was a child, progressing through today. Thank you for following Jalene on her life’s path.

An Adventure With Baby

Jalene’s excitement couldn’t be contained. When the doctor announced “it is a girl”, it seemed she cried tears of joy for hours. Not only was the baby healthy, as she had prayed, but she had a daughter. Birthing rooms or centers were not available in the 1970’s. Thus, the fathers had to await their baby’s arrival in the waiting area with the other family.  As the news was relayed to Chuck and his parents, awaiting with him they all shared Jalene’s tears of joy.

In spite of Lorraine’s lack of love or adoration for Jalene, the love she displayed for her eldest son,  Chuck was unparalleled to that of other adult, married sons and mothers. She had arrived at the hospital shortly after Jalene was admitted as a patient. Lorraine and Chuck remained in Jalene’s room for the duration of the day and night until she was taken into the delivery room.

Jalene was heartbroken that her mother had chosen not to come to the hospital to be with her during her lengthy ordeal. Jalene also understood that because her mother had no love for her, she would chose not to love her grandchild. This would be evidenced for the remainder of Jalene’s life.

As Chuck, Ben and Lorraine grasped the news of their new daughter and granddaughter, also surprising was the fact that this precious new baby was the first daughter and granddaughter among the Wood family for many years. Not only was “baby Marie” a jubilation to her parents, but what a joy for Ben and Lorraine to be grandparents. As older parents, it was an additional blessing for their son to experience fatherhood.

Chuck and his parents lingered with Jalene for as long as the nurses permitted. The hospital policies of the 1970’s didn’t permit new fathers to remain with Mommy and baby. The visiting hours were brief and restrictive.

Jalene was elated to go home with her new daughter and begin their life as a family of three. As she arrived to their apartment, she was saddened that the cozy little home which had been set up for the baby would be disassembled in a few days. Jalene realized an unexplored adventure awaited the family in northern OK.

Upon acceptance of the new career position, Chuck and Jalene had searched for homes in Enid. Because they had no money for a down payment on a house, they realized renting was their only option until money could be saved for the purchase of a home.

Due to an AirForce base in the same town as the oil company, apartments were more available than rental homes. Jalene was disappointed as they had spent over three years of their marriage in apartments and she was hopeful they could locate a house. The apartment complex was small and the units large, so Jalene was content with the “homey” feel of their apartment.

Jalene now chuckles when she thinks of their first professional move from Oklahoma City to Enid. As the movers came into their small apartment to pack their possessions, the packers had completed the task in only a few hours.

That first move in 1972 was the beginning of many more to come. As the years passed and Chuck continued to transfer from one career location to another, the moving staff and time increased, as the vans became larger.

Jalene reminisces often of the chilly spring day in 1972.  As she held her tiny daughter on her lap for the duration of the 100 mile automobile trip, she lovingly looked often at her husband sitting beside her, wondering if he loved her and their child as much as she loved him and their little daughter.  As time passed Jalene realized it’s almost impossible for someone to love another if they don’t desire that person or people to be a part of their lives.

Upon their arrival in Enid, the barren two bedroom apartment quickly became a “home” as Jalene added her loving touches to their new residence. The apartment didn’t have the space or hook up availability for a dryer. On days when it was too cold to hang the laundry outside, Jalene hung the cloth diapers and tiny baby clothes throughout the apartment, as all door knobs and doorways became the makeshift “clothes line” for the metal hangers. It was not unusual for Jalene to move hangers from the door when Chuck arrived home from the office.

The apartment had no dishwasher. Thus, baby bottles were washed and then sterilized in boiling water atop the kitchen range. One night while Chuck and Jalene sat atop their bed watching their sole, tiny television in their bedroom, there was a knock at their front door. Startled, they were perplexed as to whom would be visiting them at such a late hour.

The neighbor from the upstairs apartment had smelled something which seemed to be afire. Sure enough, the pan filled with boiling water and bottle nipples had evaporated, melting the nipples and exuding a pungent odor in the upstairs apartment.

Because the kitchen vent was directly below the other unit’s kitchen, the odor was undetected to Chuck and Jalene. Although embarrassed for being such careless parents, it was a lesson learned to never leave the bottles or nipples unattended during sterilization. It could have caused a fire and serious damage. Even though an amusing memory now, at the time it was exasperating because this was an added expense for replacing the bottle nipples.

Please continue with me on Jalene’s and Chuck’s journey as new parents with limited income.