My Last Post (Meaning “The End”) About My First Marriage

There are many things regarding marriage that can be seen as Big Red Flags. The Biggest Red Flag would be to spend your honeymoon night with your brand new mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and two brothers-in-law.

Yes, all six of us spent the night in a one bedroom apartment.

After that, things went down hill from there.

We argued a lot. I don’t remember what about, but I’m pretty sure it was everything. I might have been immature, but I have always been opinionated and I can sometimes be confrontational. That’s what happens when you grow up in a family of six kids. I can remember storming out of our apartment and walking for hours. I’m pretty sure the only reason why I came back was because I was too full of pride to go back to my parents and admit I had made a mistake.

The Ex took what little wedding money we had and bought a used 1973 Chevy Vega station wagon, even though he had a Fiat Spider and I had a perfectly good VW wagon, which he had me sell. This, even though he claimed previously to own three other cars in Connecticut. (I did sell my VW, to an ex-boyfriend.) The Vega was a serious bone of contention between us. I hated the car, my father (who was a really good mechanic) thought it was a hunk of junk, but the Ex bought it almost in spite. I and my new sister-in-law somehow drove it Connecticut, where we left it while I joined the Ex in Germany.

In Germany, things got way worse. The Ex decided to volunteer for extra duty and field assignments, leaving me alone most of the nine months I was there. I fell in with a bunch of his friends and we started doing crazy stuff. I would sneak into the barracks and we’d party on hash. If any officers came, they would stash me on the window ledge. (These were really old brick buildings, with window ledges you could almost park a Weber grill on.) Then we would get so high and hungry, we’d go to the commissary and steal food. One time we walked out with about $50 worth of steaks under our coats. This was too much for three or four people to eat, and the refrigerators in Europe are too small to handle the leftovers. I ended up wasting most of it.

Then, there was a really handsome Greek kid, friend of the Ex, with whom I had a short fling with. He was supposed to be teaching me Greek, but ended up doing a lot more.

When my Ex and I did get together, he did strange things with me, like take me on field trips to Auschwitz. We also toured the Czech border, then still Communist, and told me to be very still because the guards could probably shoot me if I wasn’t. We went to Berchesgarden and stayed where Hitler was holed up. (The only redeeming thing about that trip was getting to see Mozart’s birthplace in Salzburg.)

It was during my European tour where food was involved in our fighting. I was tired of him comparing my cooking to his mother’s. The fastest way to beat a path out of a woman’s heart is to say that his MOM makes it better. I don’t care if it’s just Jello or Campbell’s soup, if it’s true or just a pipe dream, a man should never say those dreaded words to the woman he loves. I threw pancakes at him, a pot roast, and don’t even get me started on the time I tried (and failed) to make spaghetti. I’m NOT Italian, damn it!

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, and decided to come home. First, I went to Connecticut, where the Girl Across the Street befriended me. Looking back, I can see where she was fishing me for information and I was willingly giving it. We were best pals, if only because she listened to me. Of course, I didn’t know she was going to stab me in the back later. I stayed at the Ex’s parents’ house for a few weeks, where I proceeded to make the Mama mad at me because I refused to eat (I’d gained 15 pounds in Germany), took the 1973 Vega and headed west.

Two weeks and three cases of motor oil later (the car had a cracked engine head, and I went to my mountain state via Kentucky, southern Texas and New Mexico), the Vega and I finally limped into my town. I found my best friend and slept on her couch, probably for about three days straight. I don’t think I saw my parents for another couple of weeks.

A few months later, I moved to a Tundra state to get away from my parents. My mother was on my case about leaving my Ex behind in Germany. I had to get away from her.

I filed for divorce in the new state, but couldn’t get him to sign the paperwork. He thought (wrongly) that I would be able to get alimony and half of his check. It had been many months since I got any money out of him, and that was the least of my concerns. I lived there for a few years, still technically married. The Girl Across the Street kept sending me letters. She was even going to visit me at one point. She had a plane ticket and the whole works.

Then one day, she wrote me a letter saying she wasn’t coming. She had shared all of my letters to her to the Ex, who was now back and out of the Army. At the end of the letter, she told me they were getting married, as soon as they could get an annulment, and would I sign the papers? They wanted to get married in the Catholic church.

As you might imagine, I was pretty pissed off. I never did sign the annulment papers, and let the Ex take care of the divorce proceedings.

I’m still friends with the Ex’s sister. She was sort of the black sheep of the family. She lives in Tucson. One day, just a few years ago, my Ex’s mother called to tell me they were selling the house and did I want my artwork back. I hadn’t spoken to her since 1975, and was totally surprised. So she FedExed my stuff back to me, and I sent her a thank you card.

As for the Ex and my Ex-friend, they are still married.

It was a mess, and I’m glad to say, that was the end of that marriage. I’m also just as happy to announce that this is the end of this story.


A Not-So-Short Post on My First Marriage Part Deux

WordPress ate my original post. I hope I can reconstruct it. I will give it the old college try.

When I left you at the altar in my last post, I neglected to mention a few key items. There was some dust and dirt in the brief time between October and February.

Before you think it was pregnancy, think again. Becoming pregnant (for me anyway) would prove to be a daunting task. It wasn’t that I dropped out of school. That wasn’t even an option.

No, it was something more serious than that.

I found that I wasn’t in the least bit attracted to my ex.

There was no sizzle, no spark, no hots, nothing. Sure he was nice to look at, but eye candy isn’t going to satisfy you in bed. If you had to grade our chemistry, I’m afraid we would score a D-. It wasn’t for lack of trying on my part. I was 17, started late, and had an overabundance of hormones and a fair amount of curiosity. It was HIM. I could parade around in front of him completely in the buff, and not get an eyebrow lift. There were other parts of his anatomy that wasn’t getting a lift too, if you catch my drift.

My ex was a weight lifter, and I think that addled his organ. He would have rather hung out with his weight lifting buddies than play around with me, which was rather a change. My previous boyfriends, of which there were many, were all about sex. But like most stupid 17 year olds, I thought I could change him, just by the force of sheer will, charm and talent. I found out later that there wasn’t enough will, charm or talent on the planet to change that guy.

The other thing that began to gnaw at the back of my mind was his over-active imagination, code word: LYING. I found out during our Christmas visit to Connecticut that many of the things he told me in the six weeks before were either gross exaggerations or outright lies. For one thing, he told me he won several weight lifting competitions. LIE. He also told me that 1. he attended UConn, 2. he had three fast cars (thus converting my dad to his side), and 3. I was his first girlfriend. LIE, LIE and BIG FAT LIE. In fact, Number 3 lived right across the street from him. We shared more than a boyfriend. She also had my first name. Later on in this tale of woe, she befriends me, rats me out to the ex, and ends up marrying him. So his second wife had the same name as the first. Talk about creepy.

Of course, there were other hurdles that seemed endearing at first, but were hard to overcome. One was the huge Italian family. My ex alluded to Mafia ties (another LIE) and made it sound like I would be sleeping with the fishes if I didn’t toe the line. They were cool in a way, loud and boisterous, and not as dysfunctional as my own family. It was the first time I ate meals with a real cloth napkin, and also the first time I ate dinner in courses, with soup, salad and entree. At my house, dinner was a scramble to get the best piece of chicken before the younger sib did.

Ex’s Mama ruled the roost, but not her husband. He was one guy with roving eyes and hands. In fact, the neighbor girl with my first name told me that during the time the family was out in my state watching me get married to their son, Ex’s Dad, who decided to stay in Connecticut, was over at her house feeling her up. Eww… That tantalizing tidbit came out much later.

It wasn’t just this. I got the distinct impression that I was being used. It was already clear that he thought only of himself. He thought (very wrongly) that because I was of a certain ethnic persuasion, I should be subservient, like being a doormat is a genetic quirk. (HAH! As you know, I’m the farthest thing from it.) Later on, I thought maybe he picked me to marry was because he might be gay.

During our “engagement,” I turned 18 and so thought I was now an adult. In retrospect, I inherited the adult mess.

So, there was a bit of reluctance and some cold feet when going into this marriage. Our nuptials were scheduled for the chapel on base, by a Catholic priest (obviously, we were both Catholic). Since we were technically still in wartime, the priest waived the usually mandated premarital classes. Had we gone to the classes, I might have avoided a marriage of inconvenience and a first husband. (That’s how I dumped one of my fiances of the future.) My ex was soon scheduled to be transferred to Germany. Okay, it wasn’t Viet Nam, but they made an exception in our case.

Walking down the aisle, my father leaned over and whispered, “If you want to back out, now would be a good time to run.” Being a know-it-all teenager, I didn’t listen to him.

Damn stupid of me.

More later. This is a long and exhausting story!

A (Hopefully) Short Post on My First Marriage Part I

(I failed. I’ll post Part II tomorrow.)

It was fall 1973. I was a senior in high school, scheduled to graduate the next year. I was a pretty good student, not valedictorian material, but made it to the top ten percent of my class, and that’s without even trying. (If you must know, I was extremely adept at goofing off. And partying in the mountains.) We had split sessions at my high school, so the juniors and seniors went to school from 7 a.m. to noon, and the freshmen and sophomores went from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Because of that gravy schedule, I had a job in the afternoon that could qualify as full time.

As a 17 year old, what do you think the one thing my parents could do to gross me out and make me want to leave forever?

(I should play the stupid email trick here and make you scroll down, but I won’t.)

If you hadn’t guessed it, here it is: My parents had the gall to get pregnant.

I know, I know! Ewww… I figured they were boinking when they tried to make all of us go to bed at 7:30. My little sisters and brother faithfully obeyed them, but I just laughed and stayed up all night reading Khalil Gibran and listening to the burn out DJ at KILO FM forget to take the Grateful Dead album off after side A was finished. (Get it? KILO? Gawd, I loved that station!) I couldn’t tell you how many times the station broadcast the dead sound of the record spinning around at the end, sometimes for fifteen minutes straight. Besides KILO, I listened to the bed springs giving way.

We received word of my impending little sister sometime in October. This news really put me in a pickle. There were already five kids in a three bedroom house, and we were jammed in there like sardines as it was. A sixth child was going to seriously upset the apple cart. The youngest was 8, so she was more or less self-sufficient. A baby meant only one thing: one of us was going to get stuck babysitting. I was determined that it wasn’t going to be me.

My job was at a military base, and it was the winding down period of the VietNam war. Many of my friends from school worked at the base. It was close by, and it was lucrative. In fact, it was the best paying job in the county. The base was full of men, as you might imagine. Since a lot of them were drafted, many of them leaned toward my liberal mindset. They were really hippies with buzz cuts. Some of the girls in my school wouldn’t date a soldier (we called them “doggies”), but I didn’t have that prejudice. I was an equal opportunity woman. Let’s just say, I was never without a date, although at the time, I referred to it as “hanging out” with different guys.

One day, as we were enjoying a break from my menial job, I spied an extremely handsome guy playing volleyball with some other soldiers. I don’t know what it was about him. He was pretty. Curly dark hair, roman nose, pale skin. I liked him immediately. I liked him so much, I fished him out and got someone to introduce us. In no time at all, we were taking long walks around the barracks. Somehow, I got him to ask me on a date.

By Christmas, I was engaged and spending the holiday with his parents in Connecticut.

My baby sister was born two months prematurely on February 12. She came home from the hospital on February 22.

On February 23, I was a married woman.