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.

FAMILY OF THREE

Daily Chuck went on job interviews for his perfect career job. Eagerly, Jalene awaited Chuck’s return from the interviews so they could resume their search for a new home. Fortunately, they located an apartment only days after their Oklahoma return. It was an older, but charming two bed room apartment, having a room for their new addition, now only days from arrival.  They signed a year’s lease as they believed they would be residing in Oklahoma City close to Chuck’s parents. Because Chuck had always had a close relationship with his parents and especially his mother, Jalene believed he was unwilling to look for a job outside the Oklahoma City area.

Jalene had no ties to Oklahoma since she had been born in OH and still called the buckeye state home. However, Jalene’s current primary focus was on delivering a healthy baby. Even though she preferred residing in another city, so she and Chuck could establish their lives as a new family, she realized they would most probably remain in Oklahoma City.

Jalene was in astonishment when Chuck announced he had located a potential job, but it was 100 miles from Oklahoma City. The company was interested in personally interviewing him and also invited Jalene to accompany Chuck on the drive to the interview. While Chuck was interviewed, Jalene sat in the receiption area of the oil company, pondering what their future might be.

Their first three years of marriage had not been as Jalene had hoped and dreamed. Their conflicts and arguments were frequent. Also, Chuck’s actions of being cold and distant toward Jalene had remained constant.  Nonetheless, she was reminded often of her pastor’s words, “she had taken a vow before the Lord to be Chuck’s wife and she must remain.”  She was now going to be the mother of his child, so she desired only that their marriage could be a blessed and happy one.

If Chuck were offered this job, would Chuck become more content with his life?  As a result, would he treat her with the love and respect she desired as his wife? Her thoughts were abruptly interrupted when Chuck returned to her side. As they walked to the car, he informed her, he had been offered the job.

When the company realized their baby was due in less than 2 weeks, they agreed Chuck could move to Enid as soon as the baby was born. For Chuck and Jalene could this be the beginning of a new life for them? It certainly appeared to be a new chapter in their life’s story.

Chuck and Jalene had never owned furniture for the first three years of their marriage. They had resided in furnished apartments. Now that Chuck had been offered a job, they realized they could purchase a few basic necessities to establish their new home.  Meager purchases of a sofa, one chair, an occasional table, a bedroom dresser and a kitchen dinette set seemed like the beginning of a dream for them. Chuck’s parents had given him his childhood bed, which was one less item they were required to purchase. Though diminutive in quantity, their furniture was an abundant blessing.

While living on the base in Georgia, they had purchased a baby crib at the commissary. Due to limited finances, they were unable to purchase some of the other baby accessories. However, because it was 1972 there were far less baby furnishings and accessories than today’s babies are provided. Jalene realized after being reared on government commodities that it didn’t take a lot to make an apartment “a home.” She was eager to begin housekeeping for their family of three.

At that moment in time, life was grand for Chuck and Jalene. Chuck had been hired in the accounting department of an oil company in Enid, OK. Even though they had settled into an apartment in Oklahoma City, they would now leave to begin a new adventure. They would soon have a baby and career in a new city.

Within days of Chuck’s job offer, Jalene went into labor. She awakened at 3:00 a.m. March 15. 1972, experiencing pain. After telephoning her obstetrician, he informed her she would soon be a mom. She and Chuck arrived at the hospital within the hour. After validating Jalene was in active labor, they registered her as a patient in the obstetric ward.

After Jalene stepped upon the scale, both she and her nurse were in astonishment that she weighed one pound less than the day her pregnancy was confirmed. Her lengthy illness during the pregnancy had been an unexpected weight loss program. However with her height and slight build, she had not desired to lose weight. Now her prayer was for a healthy baby and delivery.

As the day and night wore on, Jalene’s delivery was not going as expected. Her obstetrician made numerous visits to check her progress. She was in labor, but the little addition was choosing to delay entry into the world.  The next day when Jalene was taken into the delivery room, Dr. Perry cited the rationale for the hindered arrival. “Little one” was posterior (face up); not the customary “face down” position. With each contraction “little one” retrieved back into the birth canal. This caused a longer and more painful delivery. After over 27 hours of labor, “she” arrived.

Please continue the journey as Jalene and Chuck became a family of three.

Take A Number Please

As Jalene and Chuck visited countless apartment complexes in an effort to locate a short-term residence, they located a brand new apartment to call “home” while Chuck completed his basic officer’s training.

Jalene was unable to find friends during her days of isolation in the apartment. When not cleaning, doing laundry or running errands, her days were filled with sewing for the new baby and meal preparation for Chuck.

Medical technology of the 1970’s did not permit gender identification of the unborn babies. Therefore, all of Jalene’s hand sewn treasures had to be gender neutral. She desired a daughter, but a healthy baby was far more important than the gender. God had already chosen a child for them, so only He knew whether the baby would wear pink or blue.

One of the loneliest holiday seasons Chuck and Jalene experienced in their marriage was that of 1971. They were financially destitute as Chuck didn’t receive a check from the U.S. Army until 60 days after arrival on the base. Because Jalene was no longer employed and without money in a savings account, they struggled to meet their daily necessities. There were no Christmas gifts for each other. They had purchased gifts for their families prior to departing Oklahoma. The few gifts they received from their family had been packed among their meager possessions, transported from Oklahoma when they departed; awaiting to be opened on Christmas day.

As Jalene reflects upon their Christmas of 1971, it was lonely, but sincerely the only Christmas in their 44 year marriage there were no hostile words between them. There was no arguing about where the holidays would be spent, whom would be invited over for the festivities or even what food would be prepared for the holiday meal. They were a couple of young 20′ somethings; alone, financially broke and with only the other to lean on. As in the Tale of Two Cities, ” it was the best of times and the worst of times”, those words were never more true than December 1971. They sat alone in their tiny, sparsely furnished apartment on Christmas Eve. and Christmas day; no gifts to share,  nowhere to go, no money for even a tank of gas; looking toward their future.

For Jalene, she anticipated what would lie ahead for each of them with Chuck’s career, a home and most importantly their new family. In less than 3 months Jalene and Chuck would be parents.

With his new duties as an officer in the U.S. Army, Chuck would frequently be away from home for several consecutive days while performing field training. Thus, Jalene’s long days alone were arduous for her. The lonely days were tolerable when Chuck informed her they would be returning to Oklahoma before their baby was born.

Jalene’s experiences at the local base hospital for all of her pre-natal check-ups were certainly atypical of the care she had received prior to their departure. Jalene’s  OB physician in Oklahoma; a man 20-30 years Jalene’s senior was a caring and compassionate man whom although had never endured childbirth, had been alongside his wife when she gave birth to their 5 children. Therefore, Dr. Perry voiced his trepidation to Jalene when he realized she would be residing on a military base during much of her pregnancy.

During Jalene’s first pre-natal appointment on the base, she understood  Dr. Perry’s apprehension. All the women awaited their appointment in a large room after “taking a number”; akin to the local deli. The women were not assigned a physician, but would be the “next in line” when their number was called. The examination was as insensitive as the appointment process. The physicians were rote, both physically and emotionally.

Due to Jalene’s severe illness during her pregnancy, Dr. Perry had displayed much concern. However, the base physicians had no unease with her condition. They were cavalier when citing the symptoms and illness would cease in approximately 4 months.

The return trip to Oklahoma seemed longer than their departure, as Jalene was now only weeks from giving birth. Her nausea and vomiting had never subsided and the pain in her back and legs was extreme. Chuck’s attitude toward the frequent stops along their journey were now better tolerated than on the departure from Oklahoma.

Chuck realized this pregnancy was difficult for Jalene.  It was apparent by all whom saw Jalene’s swollen face and limbs that she would be thrilled when she was a new mother rather than an expectant mother. As they pulled into the driveway of Chuck’s parents on a cold, wintery day in 1972, Jalene had never been as happy to see her in-laws.

Chuck’s mother had been extremely outspoken about becoming a grandmother; especially due to her great disdain for Jalene.  She was in such physical discomfort from the long trip home that Jalene realized Lorraine’s traditional sarcasm and criticism would have no effect upon her.  Jalene was thrilled to be able to lie down on a bed and stretch her legs from the long automobile ride.

The next day required Chuck and Jalene locating a new home as they settled back into Oklahoma. Chuck’s military assignment had not been an international assignment as he expected, but rather one in Oklahoma. The war in Viet Nam was concluding and the requirement for officers was diminishing. Because Chuck had chosen not to remain in the army full time, he was assigned to a unit in Oklahoma training new recruits on week-ends and in the summer. Therefore Chuck had the freedom to obtain a job of his choice in his chosen accounting career.

Please continue with me as Jalene and Chuck begin the next chapter of their lives.

MY EYES ARE DEFINITELY NOT BLUE!

The November weather made their trip to Georgia more challenging than if they had departed in the spring when Chuck graduated from college. However, he had to await his orders for their departure.

With Jalene’s illness during her pregnancy, the commute from Oklahoma to Georgia was difficult for her. Chuck was frustrated with Jalene’s physician’s order to stop frequently during the commute. Because of the swelling in Jalene’s feet and legs, her doctor knew being able to walk around for a few minutes would lessen the discomfort for Jalene. Chuck complained this would cause them to spend more time on the road for their arrival to Georgia.

Jalene was confused,  as she didn’t understand Chuck’s rationale. They had both resigned from their jobs and fulfilling Chuck’s military obligation was now the only urgent requirement. Jalene noted if they required additional time for arrival to Georgia, they could depart Oklahoma earlier.

However, with her relentless nausea, pulling off the road for Jalene to become ill was routine during the trip to their new, temporary home. The most memorable “sick stop” was upon arrival at  Ft. Benning. No sooner had they entered the gate for the U.S. Army base than Jalene had to find a place to become ill. Chuck quickly pulled into a heavily wooded area with a long drive. Several days later, he realized Jalene had “left her mark” upon the commanding general’s lawn. Both Jalene and Chuck were humiliated to realize this was a private residence. However, when nature called, there was no time to decipher their locale.

Jalene assured Chuck that with the darkness of night, they were not seen and with the heavy rain which had been falling during the incident, no trace would remain. Jalene always snickered when Chuck complained of this memory.  As she noted, she didn’t become ill at their front door or even in their drive. The actual residence was a distance from the area of Jalene’s illness.

There were numerous emergency stops for Jalene over the next few months. When no public restrooms were close by, shoulders on the roadway, grassy paths in parks and numerous parking lots became her companion during her illness. Additionally, an emergency room visit while unable to breathe was just one more reminder that she was indeed a “mother to be.”

Because Chuck understood one of the very first mandates as a new officer to Ft. Benning would be a visit to the base barber, he had chosen to allow his fine hair to be much longer than his customary style. Jalene was embarrassed as his hair appeared unkempt for weeks as he refused to have it cut. Little did Jalene realize that Chuck’s defiance would remain for the duration of their marriage and beyond.

On the very same day, Chuck lost his battle with his long hair, he chose to bring Jalene one of the greatest sorrows of their marriage. Years later while sitting in the counselor’s office of the battered women’s shelter in Ft. Worth, TX she would realize abuse comes in many forms. This was a moment which is indelible for Jalene. She realized in November 1971, her husband had never seen her, had never looked into her eyes, had truly never known her as a person, nor desired to do so.  She then realized she was merely one of his assets; not a person.  Now she carried his child and what was she to do?

Chuck was commanded to complete volumes of paper work upon his entrance to Ft. Benning. This included information of his present and past life, as well as personal data about himself and Jalene.

Jalene had sat alone in the car while awaiting Chuck’s check in procedures.  As he handed her copies of the documents which he had signed, she noticed the personal information about herself.  As she continued to read the document, she began hyperventilating as she sobbed. Chuck cited her eyes were blue. What?

God had bestowed upon Jalene three traits which she viewed as assets during her dating years in high school and college. The boys had always complimented her on those assets; her natural blonde hair, her well-endowed, natural chest AND her lovely green Scottish eyes.

Jalene was proud of her Scottish heritage from her maternal grandfather; born in Scotland and arriving in the U.S. as a young boy. Her grandfather had died when her mother was a young child. Therefore, Jalene was saddened she never knew him, but was proud when people would comment on her bright, green eyes. She always said, “they are from my Grandpa McIntosh.” Now her husband of almost 3 years had chosen to insult her by stating her eyes were another color.

WHY-?? As Jalene queried him, he noted he just wanted to write down something different.  Her pleas for an understanding of his actions were received with harsh, bitter and angry words. He wanted her to have blue eyes, not green, so that is what he documented. Jalene had always accepted him for the person he was. Why could he not do the same for her? She cried for days when she thought of his actions.

There would NEVER be an apology. To Chuck, he had spoken and Jalene would just have to accept it was his desire. Even when Jalene queried him about lying, he noted, it was unimportant. The U.S. Army wasn’t concerned with the color of wife’s eyes.  He wanted them blue, so that is what he documented. Even now 45 years later, Jalene weeps at this memory.

YES, I MOST CERTAINLY AM ILL!

Dear Friends, Thank you for your patience during my absence these past couple months. There have been numerous life challenges, but no excuses. It’s time to return to our journey with Jalane and Chuck.

Chuck’s college graduation was imminent, so the enthusiasm for their future temporarily lifted the strain of their loveless and abusive marriage. Jalene eagerly planned a celebration for Chuck’s family and friends to share in his joyful milestone.

One of the highlight of Chuck’s graduation was the R.O.T.C. commission service, also known as a pinning ceremony. As the graduating seniors take their oath of office, their new rank is pinned by a loved one symbolizing the beginning of their military careers. Chuck’s handsome appearance in his Army dress uniform reminded Jalene of her rationale in accepting the initial date with Chuck. Following Chuck’s graduation he had obtained his B.B.A. in Accounting and was now a Second Lieutenant in the US Army.

Jalene was hopeful Chuck’s desire for their future was comparable to hers; to have a home and family while fulfilling their goals and desires for successful careers. She also remained optimistic that an addition to their family would “soften” Chuck’s harshness toward her.

As the summer progressed, Chuck awaited his military assignment as he worked in his uncle’s auto business. Jalene continued her employment with a local oil company.

In late summer of 1971 Jalene was jubilant to learn in the spring of 1972 she and Chuck would become parents. Her joy was contagious as Chuck’s Dad, Ben learned he would become a grandfather. Because Ben and Chuck’s Mom, Lorraine had become parents later than most couples, they possessed uncertainty of becoming grandparents.  Ben’s euphoria was uncontrollable when he learned he would become a “PaPa.”

Jalene’s elation was slightly diminished when Glenn and Lorraine informed Chuck and Jalene they had no desire to be grandparents.  Jalene believed because of Glenn’s lack of love and his extreme abuse toward her, he would not accept her children. Noting he had no desire to become a grandfather was a validation of this concern. Nonetheless, Lorraine’s and Glenn’s attitude didn’t deter Jalene’s enthusiasm for her future into motherhood.

Reflecting on that era in the workplace, it now displays evidence of disrespect and maltreatment of employees. Jalene endured severe nausea and vomiting for the duration of her pregnancy, which commenced almost immediately upon conception and ended only when their daughter was born. Jalene never left home without her emesis pan which also accompanied her into the delivery room.  The medical community of the 1970’s provided no treatments for expectant mothers suffering from such symptoms. As a result, Jalene tried all “old wives” treatments, including crackers, ginger and peppermint. Nothing helped!

Jalene’s employer mandated that all pregnant women cease working on the first day of their 5th month of pregnancy.  However, she was counseled frequently about the numerous times she “left her desk” to become ill in the ladies’ room.

Jalene vividly recalls the spies whom her female supervisor mandated to follow Jalene into the restroom to validate she was indeed becoming ill. She would enter the stall and within seconds, a fellow colleague would enter the ladies’ room and stand outside her stall until she opened the stall door to depart.

The actions of her employer, supervisor and fellow colleagues were a tremendous form of stress for Jalene. She communicated her concern about their actions, but it didn’t alter their hostilities against her. Her illness appeared to be a personal affront to her supervisor and department director. She was perplexed when she was informed if she didn’t cease visiting the ladies’ room to become ill, they would deduct her paycheck. Fortunately such archaic actions of employees are no longer tolerated.

These unscrupulous actions against her caused Jalene to vow earnestly she would return to college to complete her degree. She realized she was deemed as merely one of “many in the hive”, not as an individual with legitimate personal and physical concerns.  She was aware there was not a perfect work environment, but none would be as hostile toward her as this company had been.

Management threatened to terminate her following her major surgery. Additionally, Jalene was threatened with termination when her pregnancy inflicted significant illness upon her body. She believed this company had to be the exception to the rule. She was correct. Never again did she experience such merciless behavior from an employer. She encountered numerous aggressive, saber-tongued supervisors, but none as willing to treat her with the contempt as she encountered at the oil company.

In November 1971, Chuck and Jalene bid farewell to their families and headed southeast toward their new home in Ft. Benning, GA. Please follow me as Chuck and Jalene continue their journey.

The Check Please

Thank you for your patience and tolerance of my absence from this blog. I have begun traveling out of state for an abuse recovery and healing bible study and support group. While sharing with you; my readers of my life’s journey, this opportunity is one which I view as an incredible blessing and opportunity. My blogs may not be as timely as I desire, but please know I will continue to share this voyage of sorrow, pain and ultimately, healing.

Jalene’s sorrow increased as her days as a new bride passed without the love, affection and attention from her husband. Nonetheless, she heeded her pastor’s words that she must remain in the marriage. “If only” Jalene could have looked into the future, she would realize the grief at times would become almost intolerable.

She was young and hopeful that things would improve. Chuck returned to his college classes while Jalene worked full-time, as an accounting clerk for a large oil company. She loathed her job environment. It was not conductive to high productivity with the harsh criticism and policies of the company, department and supervisor. The work was not a career, but merely income. At times she was resentful Chuck mandated she quit college to work full-time for his benefit.

Also because they owed only one automobile, Chuck commanded that he have use of the car. Jalene was obligated to locate a carpool to and from her job 20 miles from their home. Jalene was cognizant she had no freedoms. Chuck and her employer were extremely controlling.

Now she was at the mercy of a carpool as to when she departed for work and when she returned home. Routine “after work” errands could not be fulfilled as if she had her own automobile. Years later when she had the use of an automobile to commute to work, she would appreciate the freedom of performing her household errands before returning home.

Jalene’s chronic headaches and anxiety began shortly after becoming Mrs. Chuck Wood. However, being reared in the conservative religion instructing the wife to be submissive to her husband in all his petitions, she believed she had no options but to oblige. Chuck’s control and maltreatment began a cycle of physiological maladies.

Approximately a year into their marriage, Jalene became extremely ill requiring major surgery which necessitated a 15 day hospital stay. The 1960’s was not an era of compassion for employees enduring health or family obstacles. Jalene’s employer mandated she return to work prior to her physician’s medical release.

The forced early return to work caused a medical set-back for Jalene, which upset Chuck. He was fearful she would lose her job, thus pushing her harder to do anything her employer demanded. Jalene looked toward the future. She vowed that in spite of Chuck’s mandates someday she would return to college which would provide an opportunity for a career she chose.

Life continued. Chuck worked part-time to supplement Jalene’s full-time income. Their modest one bed room apartment was leased fully furnished. Jalene longed for a “home” which had her personal touches, and  for a “family”, but most of all for the love from the man she called, husband. Chuck’s aloofness toward her only increased as his college degree drew closer in his sight. His desire was not for a wife, but for a “check” and a “house keeper”.

Jalene was frequently mandated to work week-ends for monthly, departmental audits. This permitted Chuck to live as a “single man”; doing as he pleased. Years later Jalene would realize he was building a foundation of dishonesty and mistrust early in their marriage. He was secretive in his actions and always in his thoughts and emotions toward her.

When Jalene’s week-ends were free from employment, she and Chuck would frequently attend the university football games with the student season tickets.Because Chuck had no interest in friendships or socialization, Jalene’s interaction with others was limited to colleagues and fellow church members.

Sunday was the weekly church service, frequently followed with a visit to Chuck’s parents whom resided nearby. Jalene’s family pushed her further from their lives as they continued to admonish her for having values different from theirs. She never understood how determination to improve her life’s status from her upbringing was to be viewed in an inverse manner. Nonetheless, she continued to reach out to each of her family on all special occasions. She always remembered Glenn and Jayne with cards, gifts and visits or telephone calls.

As Chuck’s college graduation approached, he became more apprehensive of his future in the military, as the Vietnam war intensified. He realized when he became an R.O.T. C. (Reserved Officer Training Corp) cadet his commitment to the Army would be repayment for the college scholarship and stipend which they had provided him during his undergraduate degree.

Jalene was frequently awakened with Chuck’s nightmares of Vietnam. Even though he had not received his military assignment, he presumed the worst. Chuck’s assumptions in spending the next few years overseas, prompted bursts of fear and visions. Jalene’s attempts to console Chuck were not received with the warmth and love she desired. She wanted to be a loving and supportive wife. However, when one is overcome with distress it may not always be possible to accept endearment from those closest to them.

Please continue on Jalene’s journey as Chuck graduates college and they begin the next chapter of their life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOU ALREADY WASHED THE CAR!

Chuck and Jalene’s spring wedding had been a simple one. They had to pay for their ceremony and reception without financial assistance from either set of parents. Though small and modest, the service was in the church with their few family and friends.

Jalene and Jayne had worked for months sewing the bridesmaid’s gowns, flower girl dress and Jalene’s gown. The fresh bouquets were not elaborate, but Jalene enjoyed the fragrance of the fresh roses and daisies; her favorite flower. The reception consisted of merely cake and punch, but for the 1960’s it was satisfactory.

As Jalene walked down the aisle as Mrs. Chuck Wood, she had no idea this moment in time would have an impact far more emotionally painful than the previous 21 years she had endured from the physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her parents.  As Jalene had sung many times for other weddings, the lyrics to the Carpenter’s song of the 1960’s reverberated in her mind and heart. She would ponder for the next 50 years and beyond why those words could not have been realized for her:

 

We’ve Only Just Begun”

We’ve only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we’re on our way
We’ve only begun

Before the rising sun we fly
So many roads to choose
We start out walking and learn to run
And yes, we’ve just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talking it over just the two of us
Working together day to day
Together

And when the evening comes we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, We’ve just begun

 

Following the wedding and reception, as they headed toward their small, furnished apartment, Jalene was looking toward the night ahead, but continued to deliberate over Chuck’s rationale for no honeymoon. They had received several hundred dollars as cash wedding gifts.  In the 1960’s, this would have been more than enough to take a short, though lovely honeymoon.

As Jalene would realize in a few hours and which counselors would validate for years ahead, mandating there was no honeymoon was another mode of avoidance for Chuck. Because he was gay, he had no desire to be confined in the entrapments of a honeymoon. Jalene would expect romance and intimacy, which he had no desire to provide. Now that she was his wife, Chuck believed his facade was secure.  Certainly if a man of the 1960’s were married, it was assumed he must be straight.

Jalene departed the wedding reception in a captivating yellow and lace dress she had designed and sewn for this occasion.  She earnestly trusted she would have a wonderful new life ahead. She also believed the cheerful color was reflective of the sunshine which she assumed would be a component of many days of their married lives.

Only miles away from the church, Chuck drove to a car wash. Jalene shrieked, “What are you doing? You washed the car before the ceremony.” Jalene was oblivious to the reality his shunning of her was beginning. As they walked to the door of their apartment there were no rose petals on the path to the bedroom, nor chilled champagne to toast the couple. The dark apartment was symbolic of their future.

After days and hours of shopping for the perfect negligée, Jalene remained unsuspecting that Chuck had no desire for such enticement. He barricaded himself in the locked bathroom, noting he was shampooing his hair. As bizarre as re-washing his car, was the fact he was now re-shampooing his hair.

Certainly walking down a wedding aisle or consuming cake and punch would not have caused a repeat action of showering.   Chuck believed if he stalled the marriage consummation long enough, Jalene would elude intimate desires. As the night progressed, Chuck realized Jalene’s expectation would not be diminished.

However, Chuck made a clandestine telephone call to his 17 year old brother to liberate him from the romantic desires of his new bride. When Mike arrived at their apartment before 8 a.m. the following morning, Jalene was flabbergasted. “What are you doing here?” Jalene sighed.

Mike’s rapid response, “Chuck telephoned me to spend the day with him”, validated what Jalene had realized the prior night. At 6 p.m. Jalene insisted that Mike depart. He and Chuck had spent the day together; a day which was to  have been a honeymoon for Chuck and Jalene. The harsh anger and resentment which Chuck displayed toward Jalene would be her new “norm” as his wife.

Jalene’s heart was heavy with remorse. Chuck didn’t desire to be a husband. Jalene was a façade for his sexual desires. As days passed without sexual intimacy, she realized she must have the marriage annulled. As a naïve girl of the 1960’s she believed she must consult her pastor for such an action.

Pastor Northcutt was adamant, “oh no, Jalene, you took your vows before God. You must remain in this marriage.” Jalene’s pleas, “but Pastor Northcutt, Chuck doesn’t want to be intimate” didn’t alter his view.  He reminded her, “you married for better or worse. Perhaps, in time he will have the desire to be sexually intimate.”

Over the years, countless times Jalene sobbed, “why oh why didn’t I run as hard and fast as I could to get away from Chuck? Why did I listen to the pastor?”  Jalene was not unlike many conservative girls of the era. When reared in church, the words of the pastor or elders are akin to those of God.

Please follow Jalene’s journey of heartache and emotional abuse.