Run Away From Home?
“You can share my apartment with me and my roommate,” the cute guy who was servicing our copy machine where I worked invited me. “Orange County has higher wages than Los Angeles County,” he assured me.
Should I run away from home?
Bobby came to live with me after Mama died. Another guy was sleeping on our floor in our front room that Kathy and Danny had met at the Ninja studio where they were taking lessons once a week from Frank Dux.
“Please, Mommy, please!” Kathy and Danny had begged when Pat kicked Walt out of her house until he got off of alcohol and brought home a paycheck. Walt had gone into the Veteran’s Administration Hospital for a month to detox. Then, V.A. found him an accounting job, and he had no place to stay until he got his first paycheck. And I was still working two jobs.
“Why should I let your Dad stay with us, when he owes me $15,000.00 in child support?” I asked Kathy and Danny in indignation. “He has his nerve!” I added.
Of course, you know my decision. How could I turn him down? So, he stayed with us until he got his first paycheck. Then, back to Pat he went. AND Walt is still off of alcohol and is still working! But, I never got a penny child support.
Kathy had returned from Cambridge after a semester as an exchange student through Pasadena Junior College. Danny was a senior in high school. It was February 1990.
“It’s time for you to move in with your Dad and Pat,” I told Kathy and Danny. “Your Dad and Pat have been married a while and he owes me $15,000.00 in child support because he quit his job when I attached his wages,” I added. “Pat owns her house and you have gone there every weekend for your Dad’s court-ordered visiting privileges. I’m moving to Orange County to make more money to pay off my $30,000.00 debt that I have incurred in getting you both through Christian School. I got you your own cars. For your whole lives, I have always made sure that you each have had your own bedrooms,” I continued. “I got a new job in Seal Beach and my ATM second job is transferring me from San Gabriel Valley to Orange County. A guy that services our copy machine at work is going to let me stay with him and his roommate in Huntington Beach. I’ll pay a third of the rent.”
Do you think Kathy and Danny were happy with my decision?
Danny had four more months to finish his senior year in high school. I later found out that he was sleeping in his car in front of his boyfriend’s house. He dropped out of school six weeks before graduation and got a job at Blockbuster. No way was he going to stay under Walt and Pat’s strict rules! He did end up getting his GED high school diploma and finally his Bachelor’s Degree.
Kathy moved into the Frank Dux Ninja studio in San Fernando Valley where her boyfriend was living and was with him for eleven years. She didn’t want to be ruled by her dad and step-mother, either!
“Why won’t you have sex with me?” my friend that I had moved in with in Orange County kept propositioning me.
“I won’t have sex unless I’m married,” I would reply. “I want God to bless me and I want to please God.” I had started attending Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa because my pastor that I had had for fifteen years in San Dimas was Pastor Chuck’s colleague.
“You’re out of here,” my roommate finally confronted me, “if you don’t have sex with me!”
“I’ll find a room to rent!” I retorted. AND I DID!
“I’m coming down to see you,” Steve from my ex-job told me on the phone at my new work. “I’ll be there right after work.”
“You need to stay with your wife! That was YOUR decision!” I reminded him. That was his favorite line. Enough was enough!
“I’ve made a terrible mistake in letting you go,” he begged. “Please let me come to see you!”
“Okay!” I accepted. This was like a replay of “Jack Go Back,” except that it was Steve that had been trying to make his life-long bad marriage work. Why should he give up, now? And that was exactly what I told him when he came down to Seal Beach to see me at work. So, he sadly went home, just like I sadly sent Jack back to San Francisco!
Can’t anyone ever be happy?
The first week that I was in Orange County, I worked 117 hours. That was 80 at my first job which included weekends. My second job was 37 hours servicing ATMs 6 p.m. to midnight seven days a week, of which I got $10.00 for each call. Going to bed at about 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. and getting up 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. was NOT good! I would go to sleep driving between ATM repairs and caffeine didn’t help a bit.
After being threatened to be thrown out on the street, this nice guy that was a copy machine tech, that had invited me to move to Orange County to live with him and his roommate, was calling me and begging me on the phone, a couple of weeks later. He said that he had made a terrible mistake and wanted to marry me. Too late! Any feelings I had for him were already out the window!
So, I ran away from San Gabriel Valley to Orange County.
Were all my problems solved?
Needless to say, in 1990 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein-Barr, a lot of other viruses, and all of the different types of arthritis, a nodule and a growth on my thyroid, plus GERD and intestinal problems, and TMJ which is a jaw/teeth bite pain. I had already been getting bronchitis every year since I had smoked and annually was diagnosed with walking pneumonia.
“You have to have a hysterectomy,” my OB/GYN, doctor said in December 1990. “You have fibroid tumors on your uterus and it’s almost collapsed. I will do an out-patient exploratory laparoscopy to find out the extent of the required surgery which will be done vaginally three weeks after that.”
“My fever is over 104 degrees,” I told the doctor on the phone, the next day. I had driven myself to and from the outpatient surgery which was under general anesthesia. They had made me wait several hours before I could drive home.
“Go to emergency and I will see you there,” he instructed me.
So, I drove to ER.
“You’ll have to be here at least a week until you get rid of the fever and recover your strength,” my doctor told me after a lot of tests. “You body is worn out, so you need complete rest.” They had put me on four different antibiotics, round the clock. They found out that I was allergic to morphine when I threw up after the injection in ER.
“I have to get back to work,” I begged my doctor. “I have a huge debt!”
“If you die,” you won’t have to worry about it,” was his comeback.
“How can my body be worn out when I’m only fifty-one years old?” I asked him.
“If you don’t give your body enough sleep every night, it’s going to wear out,” he retorted, like, “duh!” End of conversation!
When I finally got out of the hospital, I drove straight to work. I was paying a million dollars a week for the company that I was working for and they needed me. Temps had been doing my job and botched it royally. Since I was doing three peoples’ jobs – overworked to say the least, it took several temps to do my job the week that I was in the hospital.
“I still have to find a husband,” I told Marilyn on the phone. “One that I can spend the rest of my life with!”
“Well, I just got my third husband and he treats me like a princess and does anything I want,” she bragged. “What a jewel he is! Brucie is SO nice to me!”
“Lord,” I would cry and beg God every night, when I was going to sleep, “please give me a husband, so that I don’t have to go to sleep by myself every night. I need one who really loves me and that I really love!”
“My name is ‘Susie,’” I said at the church singles’ intercessors prayer group to a tall guy with blond hair and blue eyes.
“I’m Alan,” he said, as he shook my hand, so cordially. When the prayer meeting was over, we talked for hours at a restaurant he had invited me to. I was so impressed that he knew the Bible backward and forward.
“I recorded the whole Bible, as I read it onto cassette tapes,” he informed me.
“That’s very impressive,” I complimented him. “I read the book, ‘The Robe’ onto cassette tapes,” I bragged. “It took ten ninety minute tapes!”
“I can’t believe we have so much in common,” he marveled.
“Including, two divorces!” I rejoined and frowned. My third and fourth marriages had been annulled, so they didn’t count, I reasoned to myself.
“Goodnight,” he said and gave me a short kiss, which was nice, after he had taken me back to my car at the church. “Can I see you, again?” He asked. I nodded and gave him my phone number. He gave me another kiss and hug.
“Something to sleep on,” I smiled at him and said, as I left his arms. It was hard for either one of us to let go. I got into my car and drove away.
We decided to marry almost instantly!
We had the most ornate wedding ever! It was at Valley Christian Center in San Dimas, where I had attended for fifteen years!
I was so beautiful and so happy in my daughter’s satin pastel rainbow colored high school formal. I still have the photo with my happy smile. My best photo ever!
“This is the happiest day of my life,” I told Kathy, who was my Maid of Honor. “We will live happily ever after! Our week long honeymoon in Hawaii will be like a dream!”
Alan and I were so in love, that we even had sex in the airplane’s small bathroom.
It was the next day when Alan showed his true colors. Every expletive that he could call me came out of his mouth when I wanted to go on a tour of the island.
“A woman is not to make ANY suggestions or decisions,” was his premise, as he shoved me.
“Shut up!” Alan yelled with expletives a week later, after our return from our honeymoon. We had gone to bed and I was trying to go sleep, but he was trying to pick a fight. He jerked my pillow from under my head and pushed it onto my head into my waterbed. Being a “tummy” baby, I was on lying face down.
I struggled to get my head from under the pillow. Since I was wiry, I finally wiggled from under it and started to scream. I was renting my room from Noreen, so I knew she could hear me since our door was right across from hers.
“Shut up!” Alan hollered with more vulgarity.
“Whop!” he hit me in the head which stunned me for a few moments. Then, I started to scream again, as I tried to reach for the phone. Again, he hit my head, as I tried to crawl out of the bed, still screaming. Finally, I was out. I grabbed the phone and dialed “O” and gave the operator my information. She connected me to the police department. While I was waiting, I laid the phone down and rushed to open my door. Noreen was standing in her doorway. She was ashen and her slim figure trembled in her white long gown.
“Are you okay?” she asked. I nodded as tears flowed down my face. I ran back to the phone and gave my information.
“Stay on the line,” the police department said. “Officers are on the way.”
“Hang up!” Alan demanded. “I’m leaving!”
Should I? I had never called the police on Walt all of those fifteen plus years that he had hurt me. Why now?
“You’re not going to get away with hurting me!” I asserted and stayed on the line.
By the time Alan was out the door, the police department said in my ear on the phone, “Does he have a green Audi?”
“Yes!” I voiced in exhilaration.
“The officers have him,” came the voice on the phone. “They will lock him in the police car and come to your door to make a report.”
“An officer will come here and take pictures of your face, ear, and head tomorrow,” one of the officers informed me. “Is that okay?”
“Yes,” I nodded. I had shown them where Alan had hit me in the head twice, as they made their report.
“I am ordered to six months men’s group therapy by the judge,” Alan told me on the phone after his court hearing. “Why don’t we try to make it work? There’s a women’s group therapy that you can go to.”
“Maybe there is hope,” I responded, but was still leery.
“Help me! Help me!” I screeched, as I tried to move over on the freeway to the side of the highway. Alan had grabbed me with his huge right hand on my collarbone and his other hand on the back of my neck and had lifted me up out of my car seat while I was driving. It was evening and we were on our way home from a mental health meeting we had gone to. I had rolled down my window and was honking my horn because he was shaking me.
“Shut up!” he was hollering with his profanities.
When I finally got to a halt on the shoulder of the 405, Alan jumped out of the car and ran off. I haven’t talked to him since.
“Stay away from him,” my pastor told me. “I married him twenty years ago and again five years later. He tried to kill both of his wives!”
“Alan has a terrible temper and a police record! He almost killed his three ex-wives! Ask Pastor Chuck!” I wrote on a note and sent it with my friend to the woman Alan had brought to church a few months later and I had seen them walk in. I hope she heeded my warning!
“You need to go into the mental hospital,” the women’s group therapy leader told me, “so that you can find out why you keep picking abusive husbands.”
So I did! For a week! Then, I went for three weeks outpatient during my lunch hour. The women were all doped up and victims of abuse when I was in the hospital. It was like being in Hell. This was a Christian facility, so I was able to pray with some of them.
What did I learn? One lady in my group said, “Your picker is broken!” That about sums it up! The guys are always nice, whether it is three-and-a-half years going together before marriage like I did with Walt, or one week, like with Chuck. How am I to know they will be verbally and physically abusive after the marriage? I just made bad choices!!
So, after one year, I filed for an annulment with Alan. I now had two divorces and three annulments!
Did I give up on relationships? 1992 will tell.
After all of the tragic marriages, wouldn’t I be better off not married, especially since I am unable to discern if the guys that I’m interested in are abusive/or will be abusive after marriage?
“Hi, I’m Norm,” a really cute personable blond hair, blue-eyed guy said to me as he gave me a big smile & shook my hand at a church Singles’ house party on February 25, 1992.
“I’m Susie,” I responded with excitement, since he was so nice and seemed interested in me. There went my resolutions to not get involved anymore. He and the other fifty single people heard me introduce myself, as we took turns around the huge room and told everyone a little about ourselves. Entering the front door, there was a huge entry way, the kitchen on the right, with a very wide opening into the dining room, and on into the living room, so it was a long big oblong room with even a piano for our praise time. I sat at the far end of the room to the right of the fireplace. Each person introduced themselves and had their own story, mostly of tragedy. I was afraid to say my problem.
“I met a guy at the Singles intercessors’ prayer group. He was verbally and physically abusive and tried to kill me after we got married, so we’re separated,” was my dissertation.
“All men aren’t bad!” Norm had tried to assure me after the meeting was over and we were out on the patio for refreshments. There was a nice cool breeze of a warm evening with tables lined up of all types of foods and drinks, like there was going to be a big feast. It seemed like everyone was ravenous. The spread was delicious. Each person had brought food or soda, so it was an ornate snack-time.
“You can’t prove it by me, Norm,” I responded to his defense of men, “since I’ve had five abusive marriages.” I rejoined.
“Mark my word, there are a lot of nice Godly guys that love Jesus and aren’t mean,” Norm assured me. “You’ve just had your run of bad luck.” I was in love again already – with Norm. He was SO nice!
“You make me feel so understood and act like you care that I’ve been hurt so many times, Norm,” I praised him. “How come there aren’t more sensitive men like you? He was playful and had a light air, as if he hadn’t a care in the world!
“We are not all bad!” was his comeback. I wanted to say, “Can I marry you? I want a nice guy that will treat me right,” but chickened out. I sure liked Norm, though. He would be the perfect husband, if he was all he was saying he was. I soon found out that he was just trying to encourage me, because he went right over to a girl that he hung out with the whole rest of the snack time, like falling all over her. He later told me that he liked her, but would really like to be my friend. Same old story! One-way crush! Love triangle for sure because she didn’t seem that much crazy about him.
“I’m Eve,” a girl said to me, when we had had our meeting earlier and she had sat down beside me. Eve is still my lifelong friend.
A lot of people talked with me and encouraged me and prayed with me that evening. Life seemed brighter by the time I left. These were all my new friends. I liked that we all hugged each other when we arrived and left. This was at every meeting, no matter where it was! It was like one big happy family.
“I’m Tom,” one guy told me. “I like Gail, way down at the other end of the room that has that baby. She’s trying to adopt it. She broke up with me.” Later, I found out that they were having an affair and that she had broken up with Tom because they weren’t married and he had talked her into believing it was okay to have sex before marriage. Tom was trying to like Karen, now and had loaned her a CD, so went and talked with her during the snack time. He had sat a couple of seats away from Karen during the meeting.
“I help set up the chairs every Friday night,” Norm told me, “so I’ll get there an hour before the Singles’ meeting at the church in the Fellowship Hall. It packs out with over 300 people.”
My clue! Right?
“I’ll come and help, okay?” I asked Norm. “I can pray over each chair.”
“I can, too,” Eve offered. There was a guy with Norm that I could tell that she had her eye on for a boyfriend. She watched his every move.
“Let’s go to Coco’s,” Norm suggested after the next Singles’ Friday meeting and refreshment time. So, we all drove over there and laughed and talked and had a wonderful time until we closed the place down. We had a “clique” of about twenty men and women, with mostly love triangles. Some were one-way crushes/unrequited love, as some call it. Everyone was seeking someone to spend the rest of their lives with. There was one girl who had attended for fifteen years and had never found her “perfect” guy. Quite sad, huh? Later, I heard someone call the Singles’ group a “meat locker,” because some guys were preying on the women. One of my new friends was a nurse. She went out with a guy and that’s all he wanted was sex. He was cute and she was so bummed because she was living to please Jesus.
Another new girlfriend had gotten talked into sex by a guy she really liked, so accepted a job down the coast and moved there, running away from the situation. He had wanted to marry her, but she felt tainted. He ended up marrying someone else. Tom had been interested in that girl that fled, too.
Pat, Tom’s best friend that he worked with, had invited him to our Singles group a few months earlier. Pat met a girl at Singles, they fell in love, and they are still married. About twenty couples had married within a two year period in the over 300 that met every Friday night.
On Sunday, at the church meetings, we all sat together, and also Sunday and Wednesday nights. I always made sure I got by Norm. Why couldn’t he get a crush on me, like I had on him and forget that other girl?
No matter where Tom sat, he always came all of the way across the room, seeking me out and hugging me the way Daddy did? He was German, too, with his infamous bear hugs. He was build like Daddy, too.
Norm had a potluck at his house for our “click.” Everyone, as always, was in high spirits and Norm was the life of the party. “Playful” spirit was his attitude.
During the course of the evening, he put some CD oldies on. I saw Tom dancing with another girl. He was a perfect dancer.
“Let’s dance,” I invited when he had finished dancing with her.
“I took dance lessons, so I have to count,” he informed in-between counts. I loved how he danced. He knew how to do the swing and twirl me and all of the fun steps. He stole my heart that night. I was in heaven, floating on a cloud. Bliss!
So, what else would happen in 1992?