Sunday, August 2, 2015

Life Between Two Families

Betty was pretty young when she met my Dad, she was 18.  They dated for a year or so, then married and she moved in.  My Dad was 8 years old then her, so he was 27, and I was 7.  I remember the wedding and all the plans very well.  We were not a church going family in the past.  I didn't know it at the time, but Betty had been brought up Baptist.  I do recall them trying to find a church to marry them and having difficulty since my Dad had bee married previously.  They found a Luthern church about a mile from the house I lived in when I was with my Mom.  I remember they had to agree to go to church there for a while before getting married.  So, every Sunday we were at church.  My Dad didn't like it one bit because he wanted to be doing other things. Meanwhile Betty was making plans for the wedding and her Mother was making all the dresses for everyone.  Her Mother was an amazing seamstress.  She could make clothes, curtains, anything.  I was going to be something in the wedding, I just don't recall anymore what I was, but I was in it.  My Dad seemed happy, aside from going to church and having to make donations.  And so our weekends went for a while, pretty uneventful.
Life was changing with my other family.  It was at the time I was 7 my Mom and Butch had a daughter together.  My Mom was stressed out, there was no money, she was constantly griping. Nothing was good enough, it was endless. My Mom hated seeing my Dad finding his way and finding happiness.  Betty was young, skinny, and cute, so I all I heard was she "was too skinny"...blah, blah, blah...  I remembering wondering even back then at such a young age, why she cared how skinny Betty was, what difference did it make?
I did know I was always happy to leave for the weekend and I had a hard time hiding it.  If I spoke of something we were going to do (because I would talk to my Dad on the phone during the week and he would tell me the plans he had for the weekend), and I was the least bit excited about it she would say, "there's no reason to be so happy, wipe that smile off your face before I smack it off".  It was difficult for me because I am a naturally happy, optimistic person.  Even though Betty had become permanent, I was still very happy to leave for the weekend and get a break from my weekday house. At this point I was now going to my Dad's on Friday night instead of Saturday, which was great.  I would get picked up Friday after he was done working and brought back Sunday evening.
There was always a price to pay for everything though and my weekend happiness had a high price tag on it.  Life was hell when I came home on Sunday, between all the questions I was asked and all the twisting she did of the activities, she even picked apart how my little blue suitcase was packed.  She believe my clothes and shoes should be packed a certain way and if they didn't come home packed correctly she blamed Betty.  Of course it was never right, my shoes would be touching something they shouldn't, something was always wrong, so every Monday morning around 10:30 my Mom would call my Dad to give it to him.  Of course I heard it all and felt terrible.  To this day I have issues with how I pack my suitcase. Everything has to be packed a certain way...
As the years started going by my Dad was quickly reaching goals he had.  Betty's Dad owned a Shell Service Station.  He was aging and wanting to eventually get out.  My Dad had a goal of owning his own Service Station himself.  He had always been a great mechanic and had quite the following.  So Betty's Dad had my Dad join him as half owner of his Shell Station.  The agreement was they would do this until the right Unit became available, at which time my Dad would leave to have his own Shell station.  Also with all this going on my Dad found a boat he really liked and bought it.  He also found a '63 Split Window Corvette and bought it..  My Dad played as hard as he worked and he was living life to the fullest.  He had Betty's support and the sky was the limit.  Our weekends now consisted of boating on the river, outings n the Corvette, time with friends and family, they were more fun then ever.
Meanwhile the green eyed monster of jealousy had taken over my Mom with a iron grip.  She couldn't stand to see my Dad so happy and living his life. I head it all from "he's going to fail, you just watch" to "Betty doesn't really want you around", etc. She hated it.  So was also resentful at Butch because he wasn't living the fast track, he had gotten a better job and they were doing better, but Butch wasn't the type to have big goals, want big toys, he just wanted to live a nice quiet life.  So my Mom decided we needed to move, and she found a huge house, it was definitely a plan to impress.  This house was huge and sat on a very large piece of land for being in a very developed area of St. Louis.  The house had been built many years prior to the home around it.  It sat at the end of a narrow street and was sat sideways.  All the other home on the street faced the street, but this one did not.  It didn't because when it was originally built, all the land around there belonged with the house and the street had been it's driveway.  At some point the land around it had been sold and the driveway became the street.  Whoever had sold off the land saved quite a bit so the house still had a lot of privacy.  The house had amazing charm and architecture.  When you entered the house it had beautiful dark wood everywhere and the entry area had a gorgeous chandelier to light the area.  As you looked forward you could either go up a massive stair way, or you could hang your coat in a closet with a full length beveled mirror.  It was all stunning and quite breathtaking when you walked in.  It had huge bedrooms, sun porches, sun rooms, a large den, and even living quarters over the garage.  There was only one problem.... it needed a ton of work and they couldn't really afford the house to start with.  It didn't take long for the fighting to begin.  My Mom had been so used to my Dad being able to fix anything and Butch just didn't have that background, knowledge, or even desire to do stuff like that. So my Mom began telling him how worthless he was.  Meanwhile the house was falling apart.  It needed a roof so bad we had buckets in the attic all over the place.  There was a small bathroom on the lower level that had so much rotten wood around the toilet it was about to fall through to the basement.... but hey the house looked impressive from the outside and that's what mattered to her.  We were the Kings of the street, and when my Dad dropped me off he got to see it.  I think life was harder there then the previous home because of the additional financial  pressure.  It didn't keep my Mom awake   My Mom never once saw me off to school in the morning.  It was my job to get myself off and as my sister got older to make sure she was good to go too.  My Mom would make any necessary lunch items the night before and put them in the refrigerator.  If there was anything we were to remember, she would leave a note for me.  I was to get everything together and get to the bus stop on time, which I always did.  She did not work when we lived there, yet she constantly griped about the house cleaning and how she needed  help, so when we were home we were always helping her clean.  I found myself making a little private get away in those living quarters above the garage.  It was peaceful and Butch gave me to some paint so I could spruce it up a bit.  It wasn't great, but it was private.
We lasted two years there and then it needed to be sold.  They were broke again.   This time we were going to move out of the area I had known all my life to the outskirts of St. Louis where new developments were going up.  We rented a town house in a community with a pool and condos you could purchase.  So there were renters and owners in the same area.  The pool was nice and so was the clubhouse that went with, but life got really ugly there.  My Mom went back to work, like I said, they were really broke, and I became the full time caretaker of my little sister and I was responsible for all the cleaning in the town house.   I was to clean all the bathrooms, the kitchen, do laundry, change sheets on the beds, and watch a 6 year old 5 days a week.  I was 13 by now.
Life was about to take a very big change.....

Ok, I'll chat with you more just as soon as I can....


  1. Another cliff hanger lol!!! I do so enjoy hearing your memories but at the end I always think "No, not yet, just a little more please. Well, I have to wait till next time. Hugz my friend, Lynda

  2. What a life Jane. I'm hanging on every word waiting for and wanting more. You should write a book woman.
    Till the next installment then.
    Have a good Sunday
    Hugz Tonniece

  3. I keep thinking of you as a child being torn between two families and not understanding what was going on. That must have been dreadful for you. I know you don't get much time to write anymore but I really enjoy it when you do. You have a great talent for telling a story...Thanks

  4. Thank you for sharing your life with us Jane I am really enjoying it. Hugs Helen

  5. Thank you for sharing your life with us Jane I am really enjoying it. Hugs Helen