On The Road Again!

Marie pondered over her current circumstances of not being able to graduate college when she planned, but she also realized this was a life lesson. Certainly, as much as the missed semesters from college was the fact of her parents’ mandate on grade requirements.

Chuck and I were extremely lenient with our children’s first year of college. The requirement was we would pay 100% of all college related financial needs as long as each of our children maintained a 2.0 G.P.A. their freshman year. The following years we expected no less than a 3.0 G.P.A. Of course, we trusted our children would maintain higher than the minimum to receive full coverage of their college expenses.

The only other stipulation on full payment of all college related expenditures was they would not marry until they received their undergraduate bachelor’s degree. If they chose to marry prior to college graduation, they were proving they were adults and didn’t need the financial assistance from us.

If they failed any classes, Marie and Christian had to cover the cost of re-taking those lost credit hours. Marie was now frustrated that she must find a full-time job, but also faced the reality of paying for the classes she had failed.

Marie returned to work at Hallmark full time as the assistant store manager. She loved working at Hallmark, but also missed attending the university. However, she also realized she had placed herself in this predicament. Even though it seemed like an eternity now, she would be able to resume her college schedule in less than a year.

Marie had returned home. Christian was beginning his senior year of high school and I continued to spend most of my week traveling out of state with the job Chuck insisted I accept. My life was filled with mixed blessings. I loved having both children home with us, but I was melancholy that Chuck mandated I accept my current position.

I had pleaded, “Chuck, this job requires that I’m away from home 4-5 days a week. I don’t want to be away from the family.” Chuck was insistent, “the children are old enough to take care of themselves. You must take this job, knowing my company is being closed and I don’t know how much longer I will be employed.”

My words of assurance were not accepted by Chuck. “Chuck, you know God will provide for us. God will also supply a job for me which allows me to remain at home.” Chuck would not relent, “no, you were offered this job. You must accept it.” I spent many hours at night in hotel rooms, crying and praying, but realizing “for now” this was my life.

As the months passed, Marie experienced another heartbreaking “life experience.” Doug had found a new love. Marie could not be consoled. For her, this was more traumatic than realizing she had to “sit out” of college for a couple semesters. Marie had other “loves” whom moved on, but Doug was special. He was a great boyfriend. “Why did he leave? What had she done? Who was the other girl?” All of these were questions which Marie struggled with for the next few months of her life.

The seasons changed and so too did the Wood family. Spring of 1992, Christian was preparing for his high school graduation as Marie had done only two years prior. He continued to excel in his academics as he had for the duration of his middle and high school years. Christian had entered the gifted program while in grade school, participating in countless scholastic programs and competitions. His senior year was the grand finale for him, as he graduated with honors, earning numerous awards including that of the State Debate Champion.

Now, as with Marie, these fleeting years with Christian were memories. Being Christian’s homeroom mother, assistant Cub Scout leader for the year he participated with the Boy scouts, the tennis lessons and tournaments, playing golf (and the numerous times I drove Christian and his buddies to the tournaments),the pride with his awards from debate tournaments, the many nights of having his golf and debate buddies fill our home with great laughter and yes, some frustration, were ending.

Like the memories for Marie, my scrapbook of Christian’s accomplishments during the previous 18 years of his life was a source of pride. I was blessed with two talented and lovely children. Now each were young adults; beginning their own lives. Marie was home again for a short duration, while Christian prepared to head off to the University of Oklahoma in the fall.

A repeat from two years ago, there was the freshman moving day. Christian’s new home for the next 9 months was the O.U. honor dorm. Marie had chosen to remain at home and enroll at the University of Central Oklahoma while she earned money to re-take the classes she had taken at O.U. less than two years prior.

Please continue to follow my journey. My autobiographical blog began in April 2016 from 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, I happily and eagerly completed the final details for Marie’s pre-graduation brunch. I was in my 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, my eyes filled with tears and I felt certain Marie’s most probably were also.

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

Marie and I 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, we left our 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 I were grateful for, on what was at that time, a most traumatic day for Marie.

I was home when she heard loud and hysterical sobs from Marie. Doug was walking close behind, attempting to console her. I 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. I 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. I 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 us, 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 my journey. My autobiographical blog began in April 2016 from 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 me tremendously. However,I realized some things in life are inevitable and time truly does not stand still.

As the termination of Marie’s senior year approached, I 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”. I reminded Marie, “okay sweetheart. I just wanted to be certain if you attended that we had plenty of time to shop for a dress.”

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

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

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

Chuck reiterated that I must work in order to provide our children with opportunities. My 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?” I realized Chuck’s reply would either be total silence, or he would argue with me.

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

I also reminisced my 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.” I knew once again that Chuck’s image was paramount to him. I also learned that when Chuck wanted something my life would become intolerable until he achieved his goal.

Now, 9 years later, I 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 my desires. I was grateful for Marie’s entrance through the garage door so that her mind brought her back to reality. Marie was jubilant, “Mom, can you make me a dress. Doug and I have decided to go to the prom?” I caught her breath as I 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 my sewing skills were not as honed as when the children were younger due to my outside employment and countless requirements for the family, but she delighted in presenting a sewing project to family and friends. I 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 I noted I 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 I would treasure for years. Our beautiful daughter was radiant as always, but the dress handmade with love by me 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 transportation 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 my journey. My blog began in April 2016 from 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.

You Can’t Deny It Because You Say So!

As the weeks and months passed, the Ward family’s daily routine was like that of many other suburban families; two working parents, school and extracurricular activities. Sundays were occupied with church, so that they appeared to be a Godly, happy family. There were some exceptions with the Wood family. Most couples were not comprised of one straight and one gay spouse. As the years passed and Chuck’s resentment toward Jalene became more hostile, her struggles increased to appear “normal” as Chuck demanded.

Jalene had begun counseling several years prior, but without Chuck accompanying her, the counselor reminded her, it was not marriage counseling. Jalene’s abilities to cope with the dysfunction in their home was limited to what she could personally do to accept her life and to better the situation for her family. However, she realized she could not control or alter anyone. She could only control her emotions and actions.  Aside from Chuck’s refusal for physical and/or emotional intimacy, Jalene detested his demand that she never allow anyone to know their relationship was dysfunctional.

Chuck understood Jalene sought weekly counseling for their marital concerns, but he frequently reminded her she was not to be discussing her concerns with anyone outside their home; not even her family. Consequently, on Sundays when the typical arguing and often times physical conflicts occurred prior to departing for church or even in the car while commuting to church, it was routine for Chuck to grab Jalene’s arm and command that she walk into the church with a smile on her face and just like Tammy Wynette, “stand by her man.”

After one of the exceedingly physical and emotional Sunday morning “war zones” Jalene discussed this with her counselor. He reminded her, she was not obligated to put on a faux face of happiness if this was not her desire. Image and prestige were always paramount to Chuck. Jalene’s appearance of discontent or melancholy would not validate his appearance that his life was perfect.

Jalene also grew exhausted from Chuck’s demands that she not be upset by their dysfunctional and abusive marriage which included his homosexuality. After meeting with pastors, physicians and countless psychologists during their marriage, she realized Chuck’s homosexuality was not something she contrived. No matter how much he denied it, Jalene’s physicians were graphic in explaining the rationale on Chuck’s homosexuality versus merely a reduced sexual desire.

Chuck’s sexual dysfunction began on their wedding night and  over 13 years later, his hatred of emotional and sexual intimacy had become almost unbearable for Jalene. With each passing year, Chuck’s physical abuse also increased. However, he made certain his abuse would not be observed by others. Years later when Jalene was a counseling client at a battered women’s shelter she realized that his actions were all traits of an abuser. The assaults were numerous and included dragging her from bed during a sound sleep, pushing her against a wall and pinning her so she was unable to move and shoving her to the floor; constraining her.

Repeatedly, when Jalene noted Chuck was abusive, his anger was intense when he cited he had never beaten her. Chuck ignored Jalene’s explanation of physical abuse and reminded her he had never done anything to abuse her. Additionally, when counselors noted she must address his homosexuality with him, his denial was always accompanied with Chuck’s excessive rage and throwing items at Jalene (whatever was close by and available). He never hit her with the items thrown, but his anger validated the truth.

Counselors reiterated that had Chuck not been gay, his emotional explosions would not have been uncontrollable. Whether or not Chuck deemed Jalene’s accusations of his homosexuality subjective, the objective fact of minimal and infrequent physical intimacy, substantiated her concerns. Jalene had filed for divorce previously, but Chuck’s threats seemed insurmountable for her. She gave in and remained in the marriage; more for the sake of her children than for the constant emotional anguish she endured. Her desire to maintain a family unit was of utmost importance to Jalene. She learned to live with infrequent emotional or physical intimacy.

Jalene understood life was comprised of more than merely a relationship between her and Chuck. Though infrequent, there were times of joy within the Wood family, especially when Jalene put her thoughts and efforts into activities with the children. She loved participating in events as a Camp Fire Leader and homeroom mother. Jalene also gave family holidays and celebrations 100% of her time and devotion. It was imperative to Jalene such times would be special and memorable for all the family and friends whom celebrated with them.

Please follow Jalene as she continues her journey with their family. This blog began in April 2016 with her childhood journey.

Why Can’t We Take A Vacation?

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Again

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your patience in following me, even though it’s been over 4 months since I last posted in my blog. Life continues to be challenging. With illnesses and a couple of trips, time didn’t permit me to blog. However, I’m now back and will attempt to be as consistent as possible with my postings. Thank you for continuing with me on my journey.

1981 would bring more changes to the lives of the Wood family. Jalene remained involved with Camp Fire Girls, Boy Scouts, teaching Sunday School and working several part-time jobs while becoming closer to completing her Bachelor of Science degree. By March, Chuck was ancy to make another move. Jalene grappled with Chuck’s chronic yearning to appear more successful. A more expensive home only signaled more stress for Jalene; not success.

The brand-new home in the newly developed neighborhood was cherished by Jalene. It not only met all their family’s size requirements, but it was a lovely home. Having purchased the house when the construction had just begun, it was akin to a custom-built home. Chuck and Jalene completed the construction with their personal choices of colors, flooring, fixtures, etc.  The children loved their rooms and Jalene cherished the extremely large kitchen. She hosted countless community events, family and church parties there and it held some memorable times from the short 4 years of their residency.

To exacerbate Jalene’s frustration with the desired move, Chuck wanted to move to a neighborhood approximately the same age as the one where they currently resided. The house was almost identical in size, but for a cost of over $30,000 more. The increase in mortgage payments would put a strain on Chuck’s modest income. However, he reminded Jalene often of his mandate she find a full-time job as soon as she competed her college degree. Chuck cited the degree was not to be wasted as a stay-at-home mother.

Jalene reminded Chuck the degree was an insurance policy for if she must return to a full-time career, but that she never desired a career. This was not a topic for discussion. Chuck mandated Jalene would indeed become a career wife. Jalene’s stomach tightened at the thought of leaving home daily to work full time, but return to all the responsibilities of a  wife and mother. She also understood many women had to earn a living for survival. When Jalene realized her work ruling was for Chuck to purchase more expensive cars and larger homes, she felt his edict was not justifiable.

Nonetheless, Chuck was the ruler of his home and he insisted they move across the street to the more prestigious neighborhood.  When Jalene said no, he became aggressive with the realtor, requesting she telephone Jalene urging her to sign the contract on the home which Chuck desired. Jalene didn’t like the home. It was the same age as the one they owned, but it was someone else’s home; not theirs, not the one they had chosen together.

Jalene’s pleas to remain in their house failed. The battle was fought and Chuck once again was the victor. The owners of their second house would not budge. They were having a home custom built and informed Chuck and Jalene they would not move until their new home was totally completed. There were no negotiations on this. Jalene became even more remorseful when their house sold quickly and they were compelled to move into an apartment over 25 miles away from their community and new home.

Why oh why was Chuck so selfish? Jalene spent countless, sleepless nights pondering her desire to marry a man whom cared nothing about his wife or children. His interests were the only ones which mattered.

In less than 24 hours after moving into the roach infested, ramshackled 2 bedroom apartment the children’s legs were red with welts and severe itching. The apartment was flea infested. When complaining to the apartment manager, Jalene was accused of being dishonest. Jalene purchased white knee high socks for each of the children to wear. When they stepped out of their beds and onto the carept the white socks quickly became dotted with hundreds of fleas.

Jalene marched to the apartment office urging the manager to hastily return to their apartment.  Upon inspection of the children’s red, swollen legs with dozens of bites, the manager ordered the extermination of the fleas.

Jalene was hopeful the worst of the problem was behind them, even though she constantly battled the excessive roach problem. As she laid in bed at night sobbing about the living conditions of her family, Chuck had no sympathy. He knew only that when they moved into their next home, he could tout he lived in a more prestigious neighborhood.

Shortly after the fleas had vanished, the rains came. Due to the extreme dis-repair of the apartment, the room where the children were sleeping was flooded. They awakened one morning to not only a soggy carpet, but stepped in several inches of water. When oh when would their lives have any normalcy? Jalene didn’t realize in the summer of 1981, there would never again be normalcy to her life. When she married Chuck, any aspirations for a normal life as many families knew, would not be for the Wood family.

Please follow Jalene as she continues her journey with Chuck and their children. This blog began in April 2016 with her childhood journey.

A Safe Haven

“Sir, I’m a student here and thought this would be a safe place to sleep”. Jalene had been awakened with a rapid knocking on her car window, as she slept in the university parking lot.  The evening held another volatile and physical confrontation with Chuck. As was becoming Chuck’s routine, after the children were put to bed, he would then attack Jalene verbally, emotionally and/or physically.

Jalene explained to the officer she was fleeing an abusive husband, but had no money to go to a hotel. The understanding officer calmly stated, “I understand. You will be safe here. I will patrol the area during the night to be certain you are secure.” After several hours Jalene returned home as she was unable to comfortably sleep in her automobile. She dreaded returning home to the wrath of Chuck, but she longed for a comfortable bed for the few hours of sleep she hoped to have.

Chuck’s assaults that night were typical of countless others. As he had done in 1967, he  wanted her to drop out of college and work full-time, so she could bring in more income. He was a Certified Public Accountant; the Tax Director for an oil company, with an adequate income to provide for his family. Why did he insist that she drop out of college to work full time?

She worked three part-time jobs to supplement the family income, so  she could earn her college degree. Jalene believed a degree would not only provide her a greater income, but also allow her to work a job she enjoyed; not one she was forced to take to meet the demands of a controlling husband.

As Jalene walked back into the house, she was greeted with Chuck’s brusque tone, “where have you been?” Passively Jalene replied, “I drove over to the university.” Chuck continue to interrogate her. She maintained short and honest answers, not wanting to divulge her safe haven, should she need to go there again. In their entire marriage, Jalene never lied nor was dishonest to Chuck.

Jalene learned early in their marriage, Chuck had been dishonest to her numerous times prior to and during their marriage.  With all  the lies she had endured from her parents, lying and dishonesty were some of Jalene’s greatest obstacles in trusting others. Her integrity and conscience would not allow her to do so.  She also knew she had nothing to hide. Thus, to Jalene deceit gained nothing.

As the weeks and months passed, seldom where there moments of closeness or kindness from Chuck. The children’s ages brought more responsibilities for her with their studies and activities. She was now carrying a full load of college coursework, but continued to focus on being the best wife and mother she could be. She realized she was not perfect, but she always hoped her best would outweigh the mistakes she made along life’s path.

Christmas Eve 1980 became one which would not only linger in Jalene’s heart, but would bring much sorrow each time she reflected upon it. She had hosted countless parties for church, Chuck’s family and office staff, as well as the children’s school and community groups. This left little time for preparing for her own small family’s holiday festivities.

Cutout, decorated Christmas cookies had been a Christmas tradition for as long as Jalene could recall. These were the last of the holiday treats which she needed to complete before Chuck’s brother, Mike and sister-in-law, Linda were going to join them for their Christmas Eve celebration.

When Jalene heard the kitchen door open, she sighed, “Chuck, I’m so glad you are home. Can you help me get the treats ready, since Mike and Linda will be here soon and I need to finish decorating these cookies?” Chuck didn’t hesitate with his gruff reply, “no, you should have managed your schedule better to have everything done.” Jalene burst into uncontrollable sobs. “Chuck, you know how much I’ve had to do with all the parties, college class finals, holiday shopping and gift wrapping. These cookies are the last goodies I’m finishing up.”

Jalene reminded him that with Christmas being the next day, his parents were coming and she had more food to prepare for that holiday meal.  For Chuck, this was another way to remind Jalene that he had no interest in her emotional needs. He didn’t care that she was exhausted. It was her problem not his. He changed his clothes and awaited the arrival of Mike and Linda.

Jalene’s tears became loud sobs. Her pleas for assistance became emotional hysteria. Why did Chuck turn his back on her time and again? She was not baking cookies for herself. She wanted to have a special holiday treat for their children and Chuck’s family. Shortly before Mike’s arrival, Jalene had become physically ill from the tremendous emotional fatigue.

She didn’t want Mike and Linda to be aware of another explosive encounter between her and Chuck. She got in her car and began driving. She felt she had no option except to get away from the intense psychological abuse from Chuck. The longer she drove, the more hysterical she became. She prayed and cried for the next four hours.

She returned home long after Mike and Linda had arrived and departed. Jalene was again reminded that her life with Chuck would never be one of joy and contentment. She was also reminded of her Dad’s words which he cited numerous times when things were difficult with Chuck, “you made your bed. Now you must lie in it”. Glenn had no sympathy nor compassion for the abuse Jalene endured from Chuck. Also, because Glenn had been extremely abusive toward Jalene, he believed she was a woman whom deserved such treatment.

Please follow Jalene as she continues to survive the sorrow of a loveless marriage. Will it improve or only worsen?  This blog began with her childhood journey in April 2016.

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.