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.