When Papa asked me to marry him I was so excited. My dream was coming true. But from September to December some things made me think that maybe I was more in love with the idea of getting married than I was in love with Papa.
Some times we would fight. I know now that was ok but in my dreams I would never fight with my boyfriend or husband. I believed in fairy tales too.
The first time that I got to meet Papa’s family we had a Sunday dinner. I really liked his relatives and was just starting to get comfortable. I was not allowed to help with cleaning up the kitchen (that was short lived thank goodness) but this first time I got to go to the living room to watch TV with Papa and his uncles. As I sat there Papa was laying on top of the couch with his head on my lap. All of a sudden I got the urge to just push Papa a little bit. I thought that he was going to roll a bit and then grab at me and we would tickle and wrestle a bit. I was bored with racing cars. But instead Papa rolled off of the couch and landed hard on the floor. He stood up and glowering at me and to the laughter of all of us he stomped out of the house. He did not come back to Nana’s house for hours. I don’t know where he went or what he was doing. Everyone thought it was still funny but me then. I was upset. I did not know his family enough to ask for someone to take me home. Cass told me that he would calm down and come home. He did finally but he took me home and would not talk to me or let me apologize. He dropped me off and drove away FAST.
At Christmas I got presents from Cass, Nana, and all his aunts and uncles. I was so blown away. I never got so many presents in one Christmas. I thanked everyone at the time but then hurt Cass, Toots and the others because I did not follow up with written thank you notes. I guess I was not very socially smart when it came to the rules of etiquette. I felt guilty too because I already was thinking that I needed to break up with Papa because it was not fair to him if I married him if I did not really love him. I did not want to marry him just to have babies. I wanted to marry someone that I could grow old with.
Sometimes we could talk for hours but more often instead of talking we would make out. Which I loved to do! But again I thought there should be more to it than that. I was wanting to break up with Papa but waited till New Years Eve. I told him as soon as he came to get me. But he wanted to take me out anyway. He spent the whole date trying to convince me that I did not want to break up with him. But in the end my guilt would not let me stay with him. I even tried to return my Christmas presents, but he would not take them. The present I remember most was a pantsuit that really made me look good. I don’t remember having a new outfit before then that ever made me look that good.
Papa was away at school during the week. But he mailed me cards and letters and sent flowers. On the weekend he would drive up and down our street and blow his horn and yell for me; after work he was waiting for me to leave the factory that I worked in. ( I pressed jeans with an industrial roller Iron. I was afraid of it because if I accidentally closed it on my arm it would cook my arm before we could get it open. So I was VERY CAREFUL.) Papa would follow me home and would get very close to my parents Volkswagen van. I was afraid we would have an accident with all his tailgating. I would come in the house angry and shaking. One day (in March) I think my Dad was home when I got there. Dad had had enough and was going to beat Papa up! I held onto him and begged him to leave him alone. Well that was the last time. Everything stopped. No more drive by horn honking, no cards or flowers. I did not even see him anymore. I could not believe it.
One of my classmates was Papa’s friend. My brother EJ was also Papa’s friend. EJ warned Papa about me having to hold my Dad back. But then EJ and my classmate also started to imitate Papa’s speech and mannerisms. The classmate was especially distressing because I was with him most of the day 5 days a week. My brother was often not with me so the classmate got most of my ire.
One day I started to cry. It was close to the end of my senior year and I was working in a restaurant then and my sisters were to do the dishes. It was more pay and in town and I did not have to work those awful irons anymore. This one day I came home tired. It was hard work to keep my grades so high and work after school and do everything that I had to do. When I got home my Dad asked me to do the dishes. I got upset and then he told me I had to do the dishes and he was not going to take no for an answer. So I started to do the dishes and started to cry. I don’t remember much except crying and washing dishes. But I awoke on my Mothers lap on the couch were she must have held me most of the night. She told me that I was crying and that my crying changed to a point where it scared her. She came into the kitchen and I was holding onto the leg of a chair like I was going to fall if I let go. She tried to get me to let go and she tried to talk to me. She said she asked me what was wrong and I did not know. She asked me who I was and I did not know. I started to laugh and cry at the same time. She said she gave me a pill that she would take for her nerves and then made me come into the living room. It was a nerve pill that the Dr gave her and she did not know what it would to me but she wanted me to get better and believed it would help me. I fell asleep fast after I took it and slept all night and into the morning. When I woke up and I was ok my Mom told me that I better decide if Papa is what I want because I almost lost it when Daddy was going to beat him up and then I did lose it over dishes. ( I guess that was part of it but now I wonder how much was also not sleeping more than a couple of hours a night trying to get everything done.)
By the middle of April I was sure that I lost Papa’s love. I had two classmates that had finally befriended me and Worm (friend #1) had me convinced if we did not get back together in April then we never would. She told me things that happen in April will last forever. She had just gotten engaged and was sure she would be with him forever. Yvonne (friend #2) was moving in with her boyfriend as soon as she graduated that year.
I finally got the guts to call Nana. I figured if Nana was not mad at me then I would call Cass and if she was not mad at me then I would call Papa. It was a Wednesday and Papa should have been in school. But he was who answered the phone. I was going to hang up but he acted mad and I did not want him to be mad at me. Papa wanted to know why I was calling his Nana. So I told him my plan. He laughed at me. Then told me that I needed to go out with him the next day if I really wanted to start dating him again. Well the next day was our class trip to New York. I was the person who organized the trip to see Jesus Christ Superstar and was really excited to go. He said if I really wanted to go out with him again I would be there. So then I decided I would give up my trip to New York with my class and miss the show that I worked on for almost six months so that Papa and I could get back together again. I waited all evening and then I finally called Nana’s house to see what was keeping him. He left the night before to go back to school right after I called and talked to him. I was angry and hurt because he knew how much I wanted to go see that play. Well we did start to date again. It was not the last time he stood me up either. I took it a couple of times figuring I did hurt him first. But then I told him never again or I would not ever go out with him again.
We were both graduating. Papa wanted a white German Shepard puppy. It was his dream dog. I tried to get one for him for his graduation. I could not afford the only one left. So I got the male that was the normal tricolor. Duke was a happy puppy. Papa loved him. I loved him. That was when we decided that we were going to move in together and try out living with each other, after all Yvonne was happy. I told my family and my Dad became unglued!!! He threated us both if we did and said that I could never come home again. Well that was it for me. I was not going anywhere after that. But that did spark our talking about marriage again. By then we had both graduated. Me from HS and him from trade school. We both worked in a textile mill. I knew what we made and figured out a budget. I showed it to him because he was sure we could not afford to live on our own, and I would not agree to move in with his family and mine was out of the question. We agreed to get married and I found an apartment for us and we saved all our money to pay for the wedding and reception. We did not go into debt and we did not get help to pay for it. We got married November 3 1973. Barely a month and a half after we decided to do so. My sister Sherry told my mothers neighbor I was going to have a baby. It was all over town in record time. I was not pregnant and did not get pregnant for about 5 months. I used to joke that Number 1 was an elephant because of how long people believed I was pregnant. It did not help that I had an excess of water and that he was 9# 1 oz when born 15 months after our wedding.