Monthly Archives: March 2013

Love is a Battlefield

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This is going to appear as a stream of consciousness on

the subjects of marriage, relationships that fall apart,

whether or not some are salvageable or not. Then how

to handle divorce.

Love warfare can mean “all’s fair in love and war!”

We have all been down in the trenches with someone we

had a commitment with and wanted to make it work.

Let’s start with dating situations…

Don’t be a doormat. When you meet a man you can come

across as someone who is strong and assertive without

being bossy or the opposite; whiny and weak. The best way

to be able to present yourself in a dating situation is to be

happy and act as if everyone is your best friend. That does

not mean be too comfortable!

I am going to tell you something, this is directed to either a

man or a woman: Don’t be listening to stories about his or

her ex! This is something that I meet men and they want to

start to spill their guts about all that went wrong. Wrong! I

am not your counselor and I am sure that we may eventually

talk about your problems and take out the baggage. But never

start on a first date! Please, trust me on this!

When you become the “listening date” you are ‘losing ground’

and losing the chance in becoming the next person that this

date will have in their life! You will only be a “rebound” friend.

You will cover all kinds of bonding and feel like you are building

a great foundation and BOOM! You are out of the frontline of this

person’s interest. You think, “But I am only being nice by

listening….”

Please don’t defend this strategy.  I am speaking from

experience. Been there, done that!

You need to get an edge!

My Mom has an interesting perspective (age plus some wisdom that

comes with age!) She says, “Try moving in a different direction to get

attention. Try a new recipe, hobby, read an article to share,… because

like magnets, people are attracted to others who are moving away from

them. It is FUN to be chased!” My mother said one time, “Go on your

merry way and soon right behind you, almost on your heels, is who you

wanted to catch all along.”

I am looking forward to some input that will validate this position.

Let’s go on to marriages or committed relationships…

Now, I am speaking on the subject of unfaithfulness. I have felt the pain

of being the one who is not being loved. But I do think you may need to

decide if there is any chance, especially if there are children, to reconcile.

This is not the way you would expect me to respond! I know!

Be strong while dating and be compromising if trying to save a family.

Children are the casualties in the war between the spouses.

“If you want something bad enough, you will fight for it!”

Men or women, gird your loins, gear up and get ready for the battle of

the century!

May the best man/woman WIN!

Hopefully, you will be the last one standing with your mate side by side.

Unfaithfulness can be fixed, it takes a lot of effort, and tons of forgiveness.

Letting the hurt one tell what really needs to be done to reassure him or her,

by having a counselor guide the couple through the problems until they are

resolved.

Draw your lines in the sand, letting him or her know what won’t be allowed

to happen in the future.

No repeated mistakes or ‘there’s the door!’

Give it your “best shot.” Once you start that path back to a healthy

marriage, be gentle with each other’s hearts.

And if after counseling and trying to get the spark back, you both agree

the damage is done and the marriage is over….

If you don’t make it back to that place where you are secure together, try

to remember again, if you have children, to make sure you develop as

close a friendship as you can. After the damage has been done, moving

towards the patching of a relationship after the divorce to be a sane and

peaceful one filled with open communication is important.

Give up the fight, lick your wounds and move forward one step at a time.

I have a very good friend who was in the military and an officer. Sue and

her husband were back at “home” on the base for a period of time. She

had been trying to unwind (basically, “detox” from the action) and get

acclimated to being not in such a stressful place anymore. Meanwhile,

her husband  was spending a lot of time at either the officer’s club,

playing pool, drinking or socializing.

Sue felt he was “escaping from the horrors we had experienced.” She

also overheard a rumor going around the base that he was having an

affair. They talked, she found out the truth and since there were no kids

they decided to dissolve their marriage. One thing she knew was, she

could have pursued a court martial! I was not aware of this potential

blow to this man, but she told me that was true. A married officer is not

to be unfaithful on the base nor with another military person. Instead

she chose 50% of his assets and pension. My friend “won” money but

also chose to not ‘re-up.’ She got out of the military, feeling very remorseful

since they had gone in young, stuck together during skirmishes in the Iraq

war and now, she was alone.

Another unfaithful story makes me upset just thinking about it! A young man

chooses who he considers the “hottest girl in high school” and goes after her.

He marries her, somewhere down the road 3 years and they have 2 children.

She is working during the day and he is working afternoon shift. He has an

affair with the woman’s best friend and neighbor. He thinks it is funny, he

says, “One day the wife comes home and just misses the action going on.

Clothes are on but not even buttoned and she carries in the 2 toddlers and

doesn’t notice. Can you imagine how out of touch she is to her husband?”

This story was told me in the Fall and I was appalled. I guess the laughter is

one reason for me to see “red.” The other is that he chose her and now, she’s

a mother to his children and she is no longer enough?  It hurts me to think

back to a different time, a different scenario during my personal life. I heard

the similar attitude from the man I was married to and raising children while

he had several affairs.

I tried to fight to save the love especially for the children’s sake.

If given a chance, couples should try counseling and hope that the therapist

is able to give them steps to repair the relationship. I have read a few Ladies’

Home Journal Magazines over the years where the counselor is able to convince

the couple that they still love each other. Soon they have put their marriage and

love as a higher priority than the affair that could have wrecked their marriage.

Hope springs eternal!

The words Inner Strength come to mind. The hurt one by unfaithfulness needs to

use Inner Resolve to get through to the other side.

I like the song that has these lyrics from Rodney Atkins,

“If you’re going through Hell, keep on going, don’t slow down.

If you’re scared, don’t show it.

You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.”

Now, because I have used the word Hell, I want to make a final statement about

what marriages should not be saved: Physically abusive ones are very challenging

and usually not worth saving. This goes to the deep rooted need to hurt by hitting,

wounding, shoving, and other dangerous moves that are nearly impossible to

“cure” or “fix.”

The biggest problem is that the abuse can escalate and become life-threatening.

It is nearly impossible to rehabilitate a man/woman who hits or hurts their spouse.

It is hard to get counselors that can give the intense counseling needed to “break

the cycle of abuse.”

You are not a loser in this war.

You are a survivor.

Fun Plans

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Since this weekend, from Good Friday until Easter I will be without

a computer, I thought I would post a summary of my fun plans!

I am going to be working a six hour day on Friday, darn it!

Then, I will be picking up my grandsons, Micah and Skyler with their

Mommy who is turning 33 on Friday! Wow, have the years flown by!

We will be singing and playing a game called, “My father owns a grocery

store and in it he sells… (then you say an initial or two, like “R.K” which

then the others in the car guess questions, like “Is it a cereal?” “Yes!”

“Is it Rice Krispies?” “Yes!”) This can all go awry when my sweet, creative

Art School graduate cannot spell! She one time when she was in elementary

school had us guessing (her little sister, little brother and I) for a fifteen

minute dragged out long time! She had said it started with “G” and guess

what it was? Jello! I am not kidding, poor thing! (We asked have you not

heard the t.v. ads that say and spell out, “J E L L O?”) Another time she

had us for a long time with the letter “P” and we knew it was not an edible

item at the supermarket but guess what that was? “Pansies!” Wow! Guess

it could have been much worse, with “panties!”

Another all time favorite car game is “I Spy.” The object has to be one that

everyone can see and won’t be leaving before it is guessed. This is a challenge

to the little ones because they want to say, “I spy something red…” and the red

barn can be miles behind before it is guessed or the red car can have turned off

at the next exit.

We will be singing a lot of silly songs that Nana used in her preschool

classroom, some more common than others. My boys’ favorite is, “I had

a little turtle…” and my girls’ favorite right now is “Five little monkeys.”

I have one that is a Valentine’s Day one, a watermelon one, holiday food

items one,….the kids will ask for random choices. The time seems to fly

by and they also teach me their own made up songs.

Once we get half way to Cleveland, it is pit stop and snacks time. For the

adults it is “coffee or cappuccino from a machine time!” We cannot seem

to travel down the road too far without those necessary things to consume!

We will  be arriving after my mother’s dinner time at the senior living apt.

and we will take my stuff upstairs. We may stop and drop the three of theirs

over at my brother and sister in law’s house across the street. We will be

hugging them, their big dogs, a Newfoundland and a Golden Retriever,

along with one of my mother’s dogs who did not make the “grade” to stay

at the home. This is a wild dachshund and beagle mix, she is very hyper and

yet, sweet and cute. She gets away with “murder” I tell you! We will be saying

“howdy” to the other great uncle to the kids who lives there as Artist in

Residence! He is about the best artist I have ever met and has done some

major works and sells a lot of sculptures, murals (done on family room or

other room walls, along with the ceiling in Magic Johnson’s theatre in

Harlem and the Luxor Hotel’s hieroglyphics and Egyptian designs…) and

yet, loves being there with family.

Next stop, MOM’s or Great Grammie O’s home at her apartment. If you have

not read my hysterical stories, one about the flies attacking or the one about

Sofia Vergara, please go back in my archives and laugh over these! My Mom

is a hoot and a half! Character and fun is all about our visits.

We will eat lots of sugar, in form of candy, cookies or cakes she squirrels away

from her dining room. She also buys a bags of chocolate candy and makes up

baggies of these to give the servers and workers weekly in the building. She found

out she is not allowed to “tip” so this is her way of giving back. My grandsons

will ask if they can have ice cream or yogurt, too. She is fully stocked and loaded!

We will hope for great weather like at Thanksgiving where we went to the

Cleveland Zoo. Or last year over another holiday we car pooled one town

to our “home town” where there is the Lake Erie to look out at. This is at

Huntington Beach. We have taken the grandchildren to the Nature Center in

Huntington Park, also.

This weekend, we will be going to a wonderful park close by and the dogs will

come, too. Lots of playground equipment and paths to go on. The boys rolled down

somewhat soggy, grassy hills last year and came back to the house with their wet

clothes on.

“Who started this rolling down the hill?” my daughter firmly inquired.

Both boys pointed at my artistic brother who is usually the guilty party when

there is fun going on. Did I ever mention he plays volley ball, wally ball and

a game called “whirly ball?” This is so funny because it is playing volleyball

while in a rented Dodge ‘Em go cart place. I would have to be dodging and

not hitting the balls or they would slam my head from time to time! Crazy

sports loving nut! Yes, he is still single while very handsome and smart, too.

Last part of the weekend will be our family Sunday brunch and then we head

back to my only son’s house with his crew of four children, two that came as

part of a “package deal” with my daughter in law. They will have almost every

food I ever cooked or prepared for the Easter meal. They have outdone themselves

the past four years. I am impressed and gladdened to pass the reins to their much

better expertise. My son, literally, is a chef so everything is better but they don’t try

to make many new items. Just the tried and true feast we look forward to each

holiday. It is all nostalgic and meaningful to make their mother happy. (I still miss

those 2o some years of being the “hostess with the mostest.” In the old days, both

brothers, one with his wife and her 3 children, my father and mother as our guests,

while I was there with my 3 children.

I believe in the special message of Easter but also believe in so much more!

I like to repeat the sayings my grandfather and then, my Dad would say:

“Drive like a Christian!” and “How Big Is Your God?” Those will cover our

feelings of gratitude and love for the gifts and bounty provided for our family.

I like the bubbles blowing around the park, the kites flying through the air,

and the silly children being chased by parents or each other as celebration

of  the beginning of a new season.

Enjoy your holiday or your special family time or simply~ your days off from

work! Play, have fun and be like a little child at this beautiful (hopefully)

Spring time!

Position Open: Nice Grandpa

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I have six grandchildren who are all “adorable” as most

good grandparents would tell you! I like the fact that

they are all talking to some degree or other. I have also

been telling them off and on about the dating scenes I

have encountered. Their interest is very sweet and they

ask good questions and give out their free advice often.

I mentioned last summer while at a water park with my

two grandsons, (ages 7 and 3, at the time) that I saw a

“rocker” from a group that I have followed around the

Columbus area. (He always reminds me of Rick Springfield.)

The boys were so cute and echoed all of my comments. I

was saying, “I love your group’s music” and other gushing

comments and they just repeated them along with me.

Kids are so supportive of their parents and grandparents!

They also enjoy adding people to the family, any attempts to

bring extra people to their birthday parties!! (The probability

of increasing numbers of gifts, maybe?)

Also efforts are sometimes done with the purpose of making

or keeping their Nana happy.

Skyler is now 8 and he recently sat next to me while watching

the cars race down the ramp at the Pinewood Derby contest

with his whole pack present. We talked about the style and

the designs of the cars.

This is exactly how he switched topics in our conversation,

“So, Nana, how are things going? Have you met any nice men yet?”

I told him a little of my latest adventures, as far as where I had

been (restaurants, parks, and other places). His humorous

funny retort was, with a delivery sounding like a t.v. show host:

“What’s it going to take to get you to like one of these guys?”

(Laugh track please!)

While over at my son’s house on Sunday, my two youngest

granddaughters were sitting with me on the sofa. They both

like to look at my pictures on my cell phone. We laughed at

the pictures I took of Marley when she was only 2 with her

baby sister, Makyah, only six months old, sleeping on a big

pink sleeping bag. They cannot believe they ever were so little.

Marley turned to me and said, “Who was that man who made

us laugh?”

I told her, “That was my brother, Randy, he is your great uncle.”

He was making different sounds from a toy cell phone and also,

pretending to be the “operator.” How she remembered that, I will

never know!

Later while Makyah, (now age 2 and sister is 4) wanted to know

how to get the pictures to change on the phone and I said,

“Press this button.”

She looked at me, puzzled, “Button, where?”

I think her literal self thought, “Aren’t buttons on clothes?”

Marley asked me, while we were playing tea party, “Do you think

that Daddy really likes when we pretend to drink tea?”

I said, “Why do you ask?”

She answered, “He makes his face turn into a funny one.”

I do know my son plays with the girls (Lara was not here, age 8

and Landen, grandson, age 7 are both grandchildren by proxy,

my son married their Mommy.) My son was combing My Little

Pony horses’ manes and tails that I caught in a picture and my

friend noticed.

She commented, “I wish I had a Daddy like that, when I was a girl.”

So, I can raise a nice man, can meet nice men, just need to figure

out how to keep them!

Lara was, along with the other 5 children, at Chuck E. Cheese a few

weeks’ past. Maybe due to watching too many romantic movies or

too much television, she got me to lean down and whispered to me,

“What do you think of that man over there?”

I followed her finger pointing at a handsome man who was all of

38-42 years old. (Darn, too young!!) He had a daughter about 11 years

old and a son around 9 years old. I agreed with her that he was very

attractive but said, “Does he look like a Daddy or a Grandpa to you?”

She replied, “What does he look like to you?” (So smart!)

On another recent occasion we were all playing at the Burger King

play land and had been through the food line, ordered and chatted to

the young servers and workers. We also had had the manager lean

over the counter to look at the children and say kind things like how

cute they were and well behaved. Not too long after that nice moment

that I was beaming with a broad smile, my youngest (yes, the 2 year

old!) granddaughter went over to a cardboard life size Burger King

and knocked it over. The manager came around through the door,

and really, not kidding my grandson, Landen (age 7) said in a rather

loud voice, “Quick Nana! Write down your phone number for him, he

is nice!”

Nothing like taking every opportunity….

Yes, I have my grandkids scouting for a man for me. Sorry, hope no one

is terribly offended. They want me to be happy, I guess.

Lonnie and Sherry: 50 Years

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I think it is terrific when I hear of a long-lasting married couple

(fifty years later this year!) who still enjoy their times together.

Lonnie and Sherry met while he was only 21 and she was even

younger, at age 16. They would talk to each other while supervised

by her parents or her brother, as time went by. They even had to sit

one in the front driving (Lonnie) and her brother, Joey, in the

“shotgun” position. Sherry and her friend, Julie, would be in the back.

I am so surprised that their parents even let a 16 year old out with a

man five years older!

Lonnie brings this up abruptly while strolling down my lane in the

distribution center during the first year I was struggling to work there.

It was a sweltering hot day and he was as cool as a cucumber! He tells

me that the weather reminds me of the time he met his wife.

I welcomed the stories since they managed to get my mind off the heat.

I was just adjusting to lack of air conditioning and the heavy work load,

too.

Lonnie is almost 70 years old now. He works the job for the health and

life insurance, part time for 30 hours a week. He has told me they are “set”

in their finances and have a great retirement amount waiting. He adds, he

has decided that will be at age 72!

Now, just so you know, he used to do my job, which is admittedly harder

and requires heavy lifting at a faster rate. I feel he has done his time, so

he deserves a less stressful position. Now, he is called a “put away” man,

which its department is referred to as, “replenishment” or “replen.”

Lonnie told me the first time he met me that Sherry’s parents were hoping

someone would “rescue” her. She was a beautiful young woman with raven

black hair that she now softens with a reddish toned hair dye.

Lonnie has shown me his wife as a great grandmother in pictures. I have

seen photos of the two of them in matching dancing outfits. Also, he has let

me hold his well worn, ragged edged photograph of her as a sweet, innocent

16 year old beauty. Her looks equaled many movie starlets of that period.

“Why did she need rescued?” I queried.

Sherry’s family lived in the rural part of a backwoods Kentucky county. Their

home was hid up in a hill where there were plenty of rusty, old and used cars

piled up around trailers and simple houses.

Lonnie swears Sherry’s family “saw him coming a mile away.”

Lonnie was a “city slicker” with an associate’s degree in business from a local

college. He was selling products at night and working a day job. His goal was

to:  “Get out of Kentucky and live in a big city in Ohio.”

Lonnie was out at a local bar near his college when he met Joey. Both were

equally loquacious and gregarious. I am using my big words to indicate they

were super outgoing and friendly with the ladies! In their eagerness to conquer

the room full of young women, they became fast friends. Not too many days

later, Lonnie found his way over to Joey’s house up in the hills. He had come

to ask him to join him for a drive in his new car. (Oh, oh! guys don’t get mad, I

am sure that Lonnie told me the type of car and it was a really cool kind of car.

Not a convertible, but it was supposed to be the impressive kind in those days.)

Lonnie happened to be introduced on this occasion to Joey’s parents and his

one and only sister.

“Big mistake!” Lonnie said, “I was a goner from the moment I spotted Sherry!

She stole my heart on that hot summer night!”

Joey and Lonnie went off to a local watering hole. Lonnie pelted Joey with

questions about Sherry, as they played several games of pool. Joey said that

Sherry had never been out on a date, she was allowed to be “friends only”

with boys. Their mother had been pregnant with Joey at Sherry’s age and

would not want her history to repeat itself.

Lonnie did not wait until Sherry was much older before he started courting

her. He tried to persuade her parents to allow her out with him alone; that

was not going to happen! So, he cooperated by taking Joey and Sherry’s best

friend as chaperones.

One year after the courting stage went on “forever” in Lonnie’s rakish mind,

Sherry’s father was asked to meet with Lonnie. He decided to pick her father

up, take him to a very fine restaurant in those parts, and they sat and talked

“man to man.” Lonnie showed her father his bank account that had $1000

in it. That was ‘like a million to them,’ he recounted. Sherry’s father asked if

his intentions were “honorable” like the fathers in old black and white movies

used to do.

Lonnie told him his dream was to marry Sherry and to take her to Ohio where

they would own a nice home and invite her parents to come and visit often.

He wanted to be given permission to ask for her hand in marriage.

Lonnie’s long range plan would be to someday have enough money to have

her parents move up North and live down the street in a house he would buy.

Then, Lonnie and Sherry would have children together. Their grandchildren

would be close for them to play with and enjoy, he told Sherry father.

He painted pictures in the air like crazy and Sherry’s father granted him

permission to marry his daughter. He was very happy that Sherry would be

given such wonderful opportunities.

Lonnie asked Sherry to marry him and it was not as smooth as he had planned.

He had picked her up and brought her to the nicest restaurant, the one he had

taken her Dad out the week before.

These days, he supposes, people would say, “It didn’t go down like he thought

it would.”

Sherry looked down at her plate. She looked up at Lonnie’s eager face. She

glanced around the restaurant. Finally, she swallowed and said, “I am not sure.”

Sherry liked Lonnie but he was the first she had really kissed and she felt she

was still young and attractive enough to have more choices. She said, “Thank you.

You are sweet, Lonnie.”

Lonnie spent another six months trying to win Sherry over before she turned 18.

He knew there were more fish in the sea. He also knew she could have her pick

of them!

Lonnie had permission to take her to movies, to restaurants and they also would

stop on the way home on a cliff overlooking the little town where she had been

raised. He was five years older and more experienced. He admits he started to

use a little more technique and he tried to “put the moves on her.”

Eventually, whatever button he pushed, Sherry capitulated and said, “Yes.”

They married, they moved to a nice house in Marion, Ohio along the main tree

lined boulevard. It had taken him a few trips to find a good paying job. He also

made arrangements to bring his evening sales job up to Ohio. He felt that they

were on the path to forever and he was so happy.

Like I started this story, every time I see Lonnie he tells me a little more about

his life with Sherry. I have known him for five years in June, 2013. I have yet

to meet Sherry but I do know she never worked in a job outside of her home.

She is a big gardener and cans vegetables still. I have had pickled beets,

banana peppers, and applesauce, among many other items Lonnie has

brought to me in a paper bag. I send little notes of gratitude back to Sherry.

Sherry bakes bread, makes cookies and I have also been the beneficiary of these

delicious treats. I am not sure why Lonnie (who is only 13 years older than I)

has taken me under his wing. I think, somehow along the way, he has heard

me say, “My life is much more simple now.”

Or I may have told him on a winter’s morning, “I miss my garage!” I speculate he

thinks of his wife’s and his own comforts and just feels like sharing them.

I am thankful for the friendship and also, the wonderful story that is now almost

told.

They live deliriously happy and have nights where they win dancing contests,

days where they are on cruises or cruising on their tandem bicycle to the library

to pick up some books and films to watch. The couple have her mother still around

and her father has been buried in the local cemetery. Their only son lives not too

far away with his wife and family.

Sherry’s brother, Joey, and his wife, Julie, also live up in Marion. It is very pleasant

to know another happily ever after story.

A day trip

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Leo and I set off for the Dayton Air Force Museum early this

Saturday. We had a pit stop, midpoint, for coffees and candy bars.

We enjoyed quiet moments more than on my trip to Old Man’s Cave

back last Autumn. That was covered in my posts about Tom.

I did feel that it was a little too soon for a daylong trip but the idea

came spontaneously. Leo’s invitation was warmly extended and

very sincerely offered. I felt the day was all warm and shiny. This made

me feel some promise for a New Leaf turned or a New Season started.

Leo is Catholic, with both Italian, and English ancestral roots. This

warm, complex man is also open and very authentic. I don’t feel any real

twinges of worry, concern or perception of lies being woven into his

stories. I don’t feel fearful for once of the outcome.

We enjoyed the WWII airplanes the most. I enjoyed little details like the

camisoles made out of flour bags. They gave one the sense of how sparse

the materials were during that time. Also, how stretched the food rations

were. The stories that my parents had told me, along with the versions

we learned in school and from grandparents came more alive with the

very well presented (with preserved artifacts) exhibits.

I was interested in the Red Baron airplane and the British rival plane with

their story told along with both of the countries’ uniforms displayed in

their cases to help create the picture of the men in them.

I liked the Space and Future technology in the area designated ’21st and

beyond’ this century. I especially longed for the NASA patches that I

had sewn on my green khaki “Army” jacket that I sold in 2006 when

all but the bare bones were left of my past life. My brother still has his

own jacket and I guess this was the place nostalgia hit me the hardest.

Missing my father’s stories and little films he would bring home and

show on weekends.

I did think the eerie Stealth bombers, especially one with the Fire and Ice

flap that is for Ohio, were in some weird way, awesome! These air “ships”

looked like huge bats, hung so they appear much different than I expected.

The Northrup Grumman B-2 Spirit has a nose wheel door that I call the

“flap” mentioned above. It has all the signatures of flyers from Ohio painted

on it.

I could name much more about the visit and the conversations, but feel a

little reticent on spilling my guts at this point. I know how much many of

the readers of this blog have hope and prayers sent my way. I appreciate

those so much! I believe there are many people much more deserving and

have had many more challenges than I. Almost everywhere I read, there

are much more pressing needs for prayer for children and adults that are

hurting in some way!

We ate on our way home at the Cracker Barrel close to Springfield/Urbana

exit. The food was good and our servers and staff there very friendly. We

enjoyed ourselves and found some laughter in family situations to talk about.

I am hopeful and telling you honestly, Leonardo could be a good man for me

to spend some time with!

Mike (“Miguel”) and Maria

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Maria was only 26 when the stuff started. The “sh__” hit the fan, for no good reason

at all. She was a mother with a 2 year old and had started to date the man in the

next apt. She lived in Apt. #7 (at the time she signed the rental contract she had

thought, “Lucky Seven!”) and met the dark, older man in Apt. #9. He was a nice,

hard working cable man.

When she started to like his sarcastic wit and his friendly little pretend boxing

moves with her son, she had known him about six months. He had been in her

home more than once, to borrow some eggs, to have a newly baked cookie and

to check her outlets. He also had decided she needed to have a dual use of his

cable. (Don’t worry, he does not work for the cable company anymore!)

She asked him to go to the summer car show where Delaware closes almost

four blocks off for the old cars and neat vehicles like the old time fire engine.

She said her son would really like him to come. That was the first time that

they had talked about going out in public. For some reason, her intuitions

kicked in and she recognized from the hemming and hawing, the plan would

not see fruition.

She and her son went to the automobile and motorcycle show but on her way

back to the building, her son asked her to see “Mike.” She was not sure that

was a good idea. After all, she was kind of shy and a little unsure since she

had become single again. She didn’t often ask anyone out or make those kind

of moves.

As soon as her door closed, she got her son stripped down and put him in the

bathtub with some boats, squirt guns and empty detergent bottle. They would

not be using the bath soap/chalk today, she was a little worn out. She stood

at the sink, thinking about her neighbor who she felt comfortable with at times,

other times a little leery.

When she and her son had eaten some cereal for a late supper they laid down on

her queen sized bed. She recited the prayers, a few songs and told the Three Bears

story. It seemed moments later, she was asleep with him tucked under her arm.

Another hour had passed when the loud knock’s resounding pound came through

into the bedroom.

She tiptoed into the living room, stood on her toes to look out the peephole to see

Mike’s face inches away from her. For some strange reason, she put the chain on

the door, opened it a crack and said, “Mike, we just went to bed.”

Mike leaned casually towards the crack and whispered, “Come on over and visit me,

Maria.” She only shook her head and said, “Goodnight, Mike.”

The next day as she got her son ready for the babysitter’s house, she heard another

knock on the door. There was Mike and he had a bouquet of colorful daisies and

carnations (the kind you can buy at the supermarket) and she smiled, “Why, thank

you, Mike! We are in a hurry, off to work!”

Time went by quickly, Maria reveals to me through our neighborly close proximity.

She says soon he was offering her money to clean his apartment, giving her a key,

asking her to make her mother’s meatloaf recipe, and she would hand him a list

to get at the grocery store. Things progressed and soon she was staying overnight

when her son would go off to her ex’s house. She started to talk about living together

with him. She had started to call her “gringo” by the name “Miguel.”

They could put their bills together. They could start to have more space. Within a year

of meeting her neighbor, she was moving into another place. She came to tell me what

her new address would be and I was happy for her, it was a nice townhouse with a deck

on the second level and patio below. I would miss her living down the hallway from me

and yet, wished her all the happiness in the world.

I went into the place that Maria worked to check in on her and ask about her son, too,

about a month or so later.

I had gotten attached to the boy, had kept an eye on him from time to time when one of

my own grandkids visited, saw him in the laundry room or while sorting through my

junk and “good” mail. He was such a cute three year old when they had moved out!

Maria asked me again for my phone number and I wrote it down. She did not say how

she was doing but I saw a little pain in her eyes. She said, “I can’t talk now while I

am working. I will call you and come over soon to tell you something.”

This is what she said happened one night while her son was sleeping upstairs. She

was downstairs doing laundry. She was leaning down to move the laundry from the

washer into the dryer when she felt the hands pressing on her neck.

She felt her body lifted and thrown backward onto the floor.

When Maria “came to” she looked up to see an angry Mike leaning close to her face,

his breath hot and voice coarse, “You are pathetic!”

She felt the lump on the back of her head, she was surprised to pull her hand back to

her face that it was not bloody. But when she did try to stand up, she was dizzy and

lightheaded. She got ice from the refrigerator and did not say a word to Mike. She

waited until he went out on the deck to light up a cigarette an hour later.

Then she flew like lightning to the bedroom, wrapped her son in a blanket and ran

down the stairs to the landing, grabbed her purse. She made it to the car, she drove

it down the roads to a friend’s house not too far away.

“Never again!” her friend’s voice was loud in her already painful head. She nodded and

got the borrowed pajamas on and wondered how things could have gotten to there. What

had she done?

The arrival back to the home they shared was cautious, her brother went with her. They

neither felt it right or a good idea to contact the police. Part of their Mexican background

was to be slightly fearful of the police and the consequences of breaking the law. They

were second generation immigrants. Their parents were migrant workers that had made

it in most senses of the word.

Mike got on his knees, crying real tears and apologies flowed. Maria asked, “What did

I do?” He said he had had a flashback to when his mother threw a big chili can at his

head when he was a young boy. He saw her as a mother and had stopped feeling like

she was his lover and friend. He said he would go to counseling or to church to talk

to the Father.

Forgiveness is common in the first incidents of violence. This contrite Mike was forgiven.

The second time was again a choking incident, the third time was another act of

violence. By this time she had had a son with Mike. She was “tied to Mike,” she felt.

They were a “family” now. Her own parents and brother were slowly shut from her life

by Mike’s comments. Maria was trying her hardest to please Mike, “walking on eggshells.”

The choice of moving back to my “gated” (front and back doors are locked) apartment

building by her parents and when she came to visit me, I was not sure this was the best

option.

I asked Maria, “Is there a place that Mike would not know where you lived?”

Maria replied, “But he knows where I work and where the boys go to the babysitter’s.”

I am beside myself with my fears and serious attitude. The third time means “no more

visits, if you were living at a battered women’s shelter.”

So far, with the help of her parents and her community of church goers and friends,

Maria has stayed out of Mike’s way. She has filed for child support, pleading with the

help of her lawyer (paid for by her parents) for the address not to be published on the

paperwork when it is served on her ex-boyfriend.

I am holding Maria in my prayers.

As this is on some Spanish flyers circulated for a battered women’s shelter, I wish

to say, “Si esta siendo abusada en su hogar… No esta sola.”

If you are being abuse in your life… you are not alone.

 

“NO HAY EXCUSA!”

There is no excuse!

 

 

A harbinger of spring

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Happy First Day of Spring!!

This is from your friend Robin, otherwise known as reocochran!

Anyway, most robins don’t fly south!

English robins (in pictures anyway) don’t look like ours!

Cardinals (as you may know from a past post!) are my favorite birds.

I like it that male cardinals are very good fathers to their young.

There are more Easters in my life that had snow with crocuses

and tulips popping out!

I love to watch the colorful birds around Ohio Wesleyan University

that has its own arbor!

I love the eagles by Alum Creek Reservoir.

Next to my apartment, on a creek that has a wall that adjoins OWU,

there have been six ducks that are quacking way past dark, and too

early to know the time!!

These are some fun facts and hopes for you to enjoy in a lighthearted

way for SPRING!!