Go Back, Jack!
“Go back to San Francisco, Jack!” I told Jack firmly. Tears were hard to keep back. I had to be firm. I so desperately wanted to keep him! It was so hard to hide my deep love for Jack. “I’m trying to make my marriage work!” I added, as I started to walk away from his car.
“But I love you, Susie,” Jack pleaded, as he called, “and I KNOW you love me!”
“I promised to try to make my marriage work,” I said sadly, as I stopped and turned around to look at him for one last time, “so I’m trying!” I responded with remorse. “We joined a Baptist Church downtown! Go back to San Francisco, Jack!” I said sharply, not really meaning it at all, but what could I do? With my head down, I walked back into my house and closed the door. I couldn’t stop the tears, as they flowed easily, once I was inside.
How could I contain all of this sadness that was bottled up? What was God expecting of me?
So, Jack drove away and I never saw him again.
Had I made a bad choice by letting him go?
I was miserable beyond measure. It was unbearable!
Bob wouldn’t take me out. No dancing or dinner or movies! Nothing!
I wanted to die! End my life! But, how? I didn’t want to be a failure in this too!
I was already worthless!
That’s why I had given up after three-and-a-half years of our marriage and filed for divorce, which the counselor talked me out of.
How was I going to endure now?
Bob and I were working at the same envelope company in Los Angeles. I was so thankful that my company had transferred me from San Francisco and gave him a job. At least we weren’t homeless!
Bob worked the swing shift, which was 3:30 p.m. to midnight. I worked 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., so we took turns, taking care of Bobby.
“Cough!” I shouted at Bobby, as I held him upside down and hit him on his back. We had just left my work and he had swallowed a Life Saver Candy which had lodged in his throat and he was choking. I had pulled over to the side of the road, grabbed him, jumped out of the car, turned him upside down, and pounded on the back, as I hollered at him to cough. It finally dislodged and fell on the ground. It scared both of us half to death!
“No more Life Saver Candy for Bobby!” I told Bob, when I picked him up at work that night, after I told him of it almost killing him.
“We need to join the credit union,” Bob told me when we started to receive our paychecks, “so that we can have them keep out money from our checks every week, to save up for a house in Alabama. We can drive back there to visit, again, this year.”
“I don’t like going around broke all of the time,” I complained to Bob.
“We have to save up all of the money that we can!” was his admonition.
“You can work for me part-time,” the old jeweler who had a shop at the grocery store,” told me, when I inquired about his sign of “help wanted” in his window.
“I love all of your necklaces,” I praised him. “They are beautiful!”
“Here, I’ll give you one,” he said, as her handed me the one I was looking at in the showcase.
“Oh, I am so excited,” I said, as I put it on with a big smile.
“Come in the back room,” he said, as he beckoned to me with his hand, after I had worked for him a couple of days. “Put your hand on me,” he told me, after he had sat down and unzipped his pants and bared himself.
I made myself touch him down there. I knew that if I didn’t, he would fire me. Then, I wouldn’t have spending money. I just hated being broke all of the time!
The next day, he wanted me to put my mouth on his private part. I refused. It was so repulsive and I didn’t care if he fired me or not. So, it was a short-lived job. The same pathetic thing happened to me when I was in fifth grade when my accordion teacher, dirty old man, made me put my hand on his private parts. I had told Mama, who told the police. He had denied the whole thing, but it hit the Chico Enterprise Record newspaper. At least other parents became aware of his preying on children.
“Are you okay, Bobby?” I yelled, as I put my arm across his chest and slammed into the side of a car at Florence and Western. He was two years old. I was twenty-two.
“Crash!” went my car, as it dragged the car a bit.
“Yes, Mommy,” he answered through his sobs. “I’m just scared!”
“That car ran a red light!” I exclaimed, as I held him and cried. “I’m so thankful that neither of us is hurt!” I was on the curb lane of three lanes and had rushed the light as soon as it turned green during rush hour, after Bob brought Bobby to work and I was driving home. The car had made it past five lanes of cross traffic, but mine was the sixth and I hadn’t seen it zooming through.
“Is your car drivable?” the policeman asked me, after he had written up the accident report and cited the women for running a red light that I had broad-sided.
“I don’t know,” I responded in tears, extremely shaken. I got in to try. The two cars had stayed that way since the crash. “It starts, so I guess so,” I added after I turned the key on. Somehow it was my fault when Bob heard the story and got angry at me.
“The doctor said that I have to have my large tonsil that grew back removed,” I anxiously told Bob after my doctor appointment. “He told me that it is the clogging my throat and is enflamed, causing my sore throats, colds, and earaches, too.”
“How are you doing?” Bob asked me when I came out from under the anesthesia of my second tonsillectomy, the first being 1950 and now 1962.
“I have ringing in my ears,” I complained.
“You’ll have to tell the doctor,” he suggested.
“It’s ‘tinnitus.’ It’s common,” the doctor informed me. “I guess that a sinus was agitated. You might always have the ringing. Sometimes, it never goes away, but it might!” he added optimistically.
“That’s great!” I told Bob when he came to visit me the next time at the hospital. “I could have it forever! I got rid of my huge tonsil and got ringing in my ears and head!”
What could he say to calm me? It’s NOT going to be okay! It may NEVER go away! And it NEVER has! Was it the doctor’s fault/error?
“I think that there is a growth in Bobby nose,” I told Bob, not too long after we had moved to Inglewood in 1962.
“It is hamburger,” the doctor informed us, after we had taken him to emergency.
“You can’t put stuff up your nose!” I came down on Bobby. “You had me worried half to death that there was something wrong with you!”
“There’s something wrong with Bobby’s left ear! It looks clogged!” I complained to his pediatrician, not long after that, when we took him in to examine him. “Is it a tumor?” I asked.
“It is a bean,” the doctor told us after he finally got it out with tweezers.
“What’s with him, putting food in his nose and ears?” I asked. “I’ve never heard of such a thing!”
“You just have to watch him more closely,” he instructed us.
“At least it isn’t a medical problem!” Bob said in relief, not even reprimanding Bobby.
Andy, the man that we were renting our duplex from in Inglewood was really cute and nice, with blond hair and blue eyes. His charisma really attracted me to him!
“We don’t wear clothes in our house with our teenaged son and daughter,” he told me. “We live free and don’t believe in clothes. We’re nudists!”
“I’ve never heard of such a thing, except Adam and Eve,” I challenged him.
“Why not go to bed with me?” he asked me, every opportunity he got. I finally decided that maybe he could help me to not want to die. Maybe I wouldn’t be so sad and possibly I would forget about my misery, so I eventually took him up on his propositions.
Why not try anything to bring me out of my depression and to make me happy?
But, it only made me more suicidal. I felt that death would solve everything. This would be the only solution to not be sad, anymore.
Mama and Daddy were five hundred miles away. Mary had moved back to Chico. Babe had married Stan and moved to Arizona. I had no one, except Bobby.
“All I want to do is go out to dance or to the movie or dinner or play games – anything to make life fun,” I told my neighbor. She had a baby and always listened to me and tried to encourage me. She was young and overwhelmed with her new baby from her loss of sleep and it’s crying all of the time.
All of the men that I worked with were extremely nice to me. One by one, I met with them and went to bed with them. Each time, I thought that this would bring me out of my slump, but each time, it made me feel even worse. “Why do I have to keep living,” was my cry.
“You stay away from my boyfriend!” she hollered at me, as she grabbed my arm and dragged me into her house. This was one of the guys from work who had given me his address, so I went to his house. The woman had answered the door and I had asked for the guy. After she had started to beat me up, hitting me several times, I had wrenched out of her grip and ran out the door, losing one of my shoes. I never got it back, but at least she didn’t kill me. I think that she would have, if I hadn’t gotten away – with me life, even.
Another guy was older and nice. He always stopped and bought me candy and pop or whatever I wanted to eat, then went to a motel. He would then drop me at my car, where I had parked it to meet him. When I got out of the passenger door one time, I closed his car door on my left thumb and it got caught in the door jam. He had to unlock and open the car door before I could get my thumb out. My thumbnail turned black and it finally grew out. My nail still breaks easily, as it grows out – there’s always a snag that has to be emeryed every couple of days. Still!
“I have to go to San Francisco, do you want to come with me?” one of the guys at work asked me. He was so charming. “It will be for a couple of days,” he invited.
“I would love to,” I said it with so much excitement, my glee was uncontainable! This would make me happy!!
“Do you need a ride?” a nice old man offered me, who was sitting beside me on my flight back from my wonderful trip to San Francisco which was like a fantastic dream.
“Oh, that is so nice of you,” I said with a big smile.
“Why are you stopping here,” I asked him, as he stopped at a motel in North Hollywood. I should have known he had ulterior motives. I refused to even go in.
“Come on,” he encouraged me, as he got out of his car. “We can kick back and have something to eat.” He checked in. Then, he told me that we could eat in the room.
He tried to force himself on me and I refused. I was so grateful that he was going to give me a ride from LAX to Inglewood, that I finally agreed to let him take nude pictures of me. I didn’t have the slightest idea that there was a huge porno ring, so my pictures are probably out there somewhere.
He finally took me home.
Why do I trust old men? They always end up being “dirty old men.”
Why did I let my true love Jack go? Why didn’t I divorce Bob and marry him?
In three years, after arriving in Los Angeles in January 1961, I had slept with almost every man at work.
I even slept with the gas station attendant. “Do you want to go home with me to Hawaii for a week?” he asked me.
“I would love to! I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii!” I said, so excited at the thought of going, I couldn’t stand the ecstasy. This would finally make me happy!
In November 1964, I went with him to Hawaii for a week, telling Bob that I was going on a tour. He knew I was miserable and depressed, so he let me go. We had thousands of dollars saved up in the credit union, so Bob could move us to Alabama and buy a house. That was the last thing I wanted to do! At least Mama and Daddy were coming to visit me every year and I was still faithful to them to go to Chico for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I most certainly did NOT want to give up the most important thing in my life – MY PARENTS and family!
“I want to stay here in Hawaii!” I told my gas station attendant boyfriend. “I don’t want to go back to Los Angeles! Only thing is, my son is four years old. If I didn’t have him, I would stay in Hawaii! Everyone is always so happy here! I love it.”
So, I went back to my UNHAPPY life in Inglewood!
“Can we PLEASE go to see Mad Mad Mad Mad World?” I begged Bob when the movie had come out. “It has forty-six actors and is supposed to be the funniest movie ever!”
“Yes,” he finally agreed after several days of my begging. We laughed through the whole movie!
“This is my most favorite movie ever!” I exclaimed. I still love it!
“I got you!” I hollered to Bobby as he his legs started to slide out of the passenger door. I woman had broad-sided me, as she pulled out of the carwash on La Brea Blvd. My passenger door had flown open and was coming back to close on Bobby’s body.
I pulled Bobby back onto the passenger seat and across to me and hugged him.
“Oh, are you okay?” the rich lady squealed, as she jumped out of her plush car, after she had hit my car.
“Just all shook up!” I said in disarray and jitters. Bobby and I were both crying. He was almost four and I was twenty-four. Again, another citation for the other driver!
“I forgot to look again to see if any traffic was coming, after checking the other way,” she had told me.
“I want to go to a Women’s Bible Study,” I told Margie, my neighbor lady. “Would you keep Bobby for me while I go?” I asked her. Her daughter, Bonnie, was a senior in high school. She and her mom really liked Bobby. Who wouldn’t like a cute four year old boy with my dark brown eyes and dimples like his dad?
“Bobby was bouncing on my bed,” Margie explained to me, when I returned and saw a big bandage on the back of his head, “and hit his head on my headboard! It busted the skin open and it bled, but I cleaned and doctored it, so it’s okay now,” she added.
A month later, on New Year’s Eve 1964, I was kissing all of the men at work with my mistletoe. I gave this cute guy named Walt from the office of the envelope factory a New Year’s kiss. I melted in his arms. He was the Office Manager. He had been eying me going out of his way to say “hi” to me every time he would come into the plant, ever since he started working there the week before. We were instantly attracted to each other!
“Hi,” he would say, several times each day, as he made excuses to come into the plant.
“Hi!” I would respond, as I ran over to greet him each time.
“You shouldn’t be working out here in the factory,” he sympathized to me, the next week. “Do you know how to type and do math?”
“I type eighty-five words per minute and one of my majors was math,” I informed him.
Within a week, I was working in the accounting department of his office and sleeping with him. Madly love! He loved me! And I surely loved him! He even knew how to make exotic drinks! But, he only had a couple each time I would see him. I had never even tasted any alcoholic drink, so he would put a splash Kahlua in milk with ice. It tasted so good. He liked gin and tonic, so brought all of this to my apartment.
“What a kiss will do!” Bob criticized, when I told him I had a New Year’s kiss with Walt and that I wanted a divorce, so I could marry him. I got my neighbor lady that had the baby to be my witness in court of how miserable I was with Bob and not wanting to live.
Bob hired the most expensive divorce attorney in Los Angeles, using money he had in the credit union that was saved up for his Alabama house, but I still got my divorce. Then, he went and bought a brand new yellow Lincoln Continental car. My share would go to keep a roof over Bobby’s and my heads, because the court ordered $50.00 child support would hardly be enough. I couldn’t even afford to have my ’49 Ford rewired when the wiring wore out, so Bob did that in place of child support. That’s why we didn’t “have a life!” All of Bob’s his time had been on rebuilding his car engine and grinding valves on his Dodge. And fiberglassing a boat! I know how to do both of those things, because I was TRYING to make my marriage work.
“My divorced husband just tore the distributor cap out of my car so that I can’t leave with my belongings and my son,” I told the police department.
“You have to put it back in and have the car running,” they told him, as they stood there and watched Bob put it back in and get it running.
I was free! But, it was another thing to get Walt to marry me. He had been stationed in Japan three times on duty and met a girl. When he was discharged, he went back and got her, brought her home, and married her.
“I came home early from an audit in Santa Barbara,” he had told me, “and found her in bed with another guy. I have a chapter 13 bankruptcy to pay off our debt, so can’t afford to get married. I don’t even want to ever be married again,” he added.
Why get a divorce, if I can’t get married to Walt?
I became miserable and suicidal again!
I started to sleep with the guys in the plant again. I was allergic to Walt’s smoking, so I wondered if I had even made a good decision.
Should I start smoking? Maybe I wouldn’t be allergic, then?
I was in the hospital with bronchitis within a couple of months! They would put a mask with mist in it on my face to breathe. After a week in the hospital, I had to go back for out-patient three times weekly. With moist lungs, after the breathing treatment, as soon as I got outside, I would light up a Paxton which is a menthol cigarette that came in a plastic case of twenty. I saved all of the plastic containers on my kitchen sink counter of at least 100, probably much more!
Things got worse!
“Bobby bit the teacher,” I heard the principal say on the other end of the line.
“You can’t be bad at school,” I told Bob, as I took his pants down, turned him over my knee, and spanked him with my hairbrush, bringing welts, but not bleeding. “I have to spank you so that you will be good at school,” I told him.
“Bobby kicked me,” the principal told me on the phone the next week. Another spanking!
I had turned Bobby’s wonderful world upside down and he now hated everyone including me, except his dad, who I had taken away from him. He did get to see every weekend, because of the court agreement, but during the week was Hell!
But…..Bob had gone to a dating service and met Anita, who hated Bobby. Her son was two years older than Bobby. They would tell lies on Bobby to his dad. Now, Bobby’s father was torn between Bobby and his new wife, who he had married as soon as our divorce was final!
Now, I had turned Bobby’s world into a nightmare, which he STILL hasn’t come out of! And he still has extreme hatred toward me, smart-mouth, and no respect.
Could things get worse?
“I joined PTA,” I told Mama on the phone, after complaining bitterly to her about Bobby’s problems. “Parents and teachers meet once a month. I volunteered to make your famous pumpkin pie in the loaf pan. I’ll let you know how they like it. I’m bringing a can of whipped cream, too!”
“I know how you love my pie,” Mama said. She sounded so pleased that I was sharing her gift of the pumpkin pie.
“When we go to Bobby’s school, I was closing the car door after we got out. The pumpkin the pie fell out of my hands and went upside down on the grass,” I moaned to Mama on the phone, after returning from the PTA meeting. “I had to go to the grocery store and buy two pies, because that was the dessert for the coffee time.”
“There will be another time,” Mama reminded me. And there was!
“I’m two weeks late on my period! I have morning sickness! I’m pregnant!” I cried to my doctor. “I’ve just divorced! My son is fours old! I don’t even know who the father is! I am so depressed, that I want to kill myself! If I knew I would succeed, I would!” I wept.
“Come back after 6 p.m. and I will do a ‘D&C’ to scrape your uterus,” my doctor told me, as he tried to assure me. “Everything will work out okay and you will be fine!” he added. “I’ll see you at 6!”
Abortions were against the law, so he could have lost his license, but he had pity on me!
Did I learn my lesson?
I turned right back around and got pregnant again. And, again, I didn’t know who the father was!
“I can’t keep doing this,” my doctor told me, when I went weeping to him again. “I won’t do another ‘D&C!’ ”
I left his office, still crying.
Bob picked up Bobby for the weekend.
“I sat down on my bed, used a mirror to be able to see down there, and took a crochet hook, put it up into me, and moved it all around, and tried to dislodge the baby,” I told the emergency room doctor after I started to hemorrhage and my fever escalated.
“I did a ‘D&C,’” my doctor told me, after they called him to the hospital and he worked on me. “You’re lucky you didn’t damage your uterus and have to have it removed! Don’t go and get pregnant anymore!” he admonished me, like I was a disobedient child. “You could die next time!”
“I do want to die!” I told him through my tears. “I am so unhappy!”
AT LEAST I HAD ENOUGH BRAINS TO NOT GET PREGNANT AGAIN!!
“Your Mom and I joined the Convalescent Hospital bowling League,” Daddy told me on the phone. “I’m a natural. We bowl every week! Why don’t you start bowling?” Daddy suggested. “I know you are raising a son, now, by yourself and you need to get active somehow. Bowling would be good!” he added.
“I am taking lessons for free from a 300-bowler at the bowling alley that’s right by our house,” I told Daddy on the phone, the next week. “I bought a gray ball with bright pink swirls and a bowling bag and shoes. I’m going to join a bowling league, too.”
“That’s great!” Daddy rejoiced, as he handed the phone to Mama, when she heard his excited voice and came to see what he was so happy about.
“I’m pleasingly surprised!” Mama exclaimed in my ear.
“Me too, Mommy!” I responded, as tears flooded my eyes. “I miss you and Daddy so much!”
In 1968, my conscience had had it. I decided to obey God.
“I want to get married or split up. God is making my life miserable because I am living in sin!” I proclaimed to Walt one weekend, when he had come over to my apartment and Bobby was at his dad’s. “I’ve been going with you for over three years and we are STILL NOT married! 1968 has rolled around and my conscience is not letting up on me! We always get along fine! You even taught me how to do the Watusi in the nude! You love to dance and so did I! Let’s get married!”
“I will never get married again!” he frowned, as his words pierced the air and he stormed out.
“Okay,” Walt said on the phone, after a week in his anger and resolution, “when do you want to us to get married?”
“I want to go to Acapulco for our honeymoon,” I informed him. “How long will it take to save up for that?”
“I will have to sell my German Lugar pistol to have enough money! It has all matched part numbers, so is worth a lot! November 3 is a good date,” he said, after he had done some figuring.
“And I want an engagement ring,” I requested in fear that he would change his mind.
“Okay,” he said. And hung up!
Would Walt marry me? What was I in for?