How I Proposed to My Husband (or Got Him to Propose to Me)

Although it seems rather gauche, women have been proposing to men since the beginning of time, and I don’t see any change in the situation. My son’s girlfriend proposed to him. I’m a little leery of a couple of twenty-somethings getting married before either has a college degree. If one or both had a full time job, that might sway me. However, I’ve been a daughter-in-law before, and I can tell you from experience that the man’s mother should not say a word. So I’m not talking.

The girlfriend’s mother is here in San Francisco. She flew all the way from Japan to meet my son and see his recital. The girlfriend’s mother doesn’t speak much English, but I got a lot of information out of her anyway. She thinks the marriage is a bad idea. She wants her daughter to go home after graduation. I doubt that’s going to happen.

I started thinking about how Mr. Demonic and I got together. I asked him out in the beginning. I insinuated myself into his life soon after. (Not unlike Mr. D Jr.’s girlfriend.) The difference was that after the first month of dating, Mr. Demonic moved 750 miles away from me. Despite the distance problem, we managed to maintain a long distance relationship for two and a half years. I’m not saying it was easy; there were times where I thought we might not make it, but in the end, love prevailed.

At first, we would take turns flying to the other’s city. He was a big shot, I was making good money at the federal agency, and plane tickets were under $160 round trip back then.

After a year of this, I decided to make a move. It was obvious that he never was going to do it. I didn’t pop the question, per se. Instead, I took the roundabout approach. During each visit to his Rust Belt city, I would make appointments for interviews with the local offices of my federal agency. I was looking for a transfer.

Transferring wasn’t going to happen. My ex-federal agency was hard to transfer around in. You’d think that they’d want to keep the natives happy, but it was a matter of the union. Going on job interviews gave me something to do when he was working. Mr. Demonic didn’t know this. He thought I was serious. (I was only partially serious.)

This caused the first major rift in our budding relationship. He told me not to make plans to move. I was adamant. He told me I’d have to find my own place. I said fine. I wasn’t fine though. I was pissed off.

After that, there was a cooling of ardor. I decided to concentrate on my own life in my own section of the Tundra, and took a couple of steps back. My new life consisted of going to parties and hanging out with friends, male and female. Oh, I still deeply loved Mr. Demonic, but I was done with the pursuit.

I applied for airline positions. I decided to enroll in a travel agent class. (HA! That would have been a bad move. Now everyone is their own travel agent!) I quit my federal agency job and got one working for the university. One cold January day, I was running late for work. There was an ice storm and my alarm didn’t go off because we had a power outage. I disembarked from the university bus, and began to run in the crosswalk toward my building.

I never made it. I was wearing clogs (a bad choice for winter in the Tundra) and fell down in the street. (Yes, I’m very uncoordinated.) I couldn’t get up. Students were passing me by, and I couldn’t get up. Eventually, after a few light cycles, a police car pulled up and threw me into the back seat. They took me to the hospital where I learned I had broken my leg.

Mr. Demonic found out, and had me discharged and sent for me. Thus began the long plane trip with my broken leg in a cast up to my hip. He wanted to take care of me. I thought, “Isn’t that sweet?” but also thought it was nuts to go 750 miles to be taken care of.

Sometime after I had arrived and was safely dispatched to his apartment, loaded down painkillers, he told me we were going to get married.

And we did. About six months later.

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 (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.

Today is My Parents’ Anniversary

They were married today in 1954, 1958, and 1964. Once in a foreign country, once by the US State Department, and once in the Catholic Church.

My father and mother were divorced back in the 1970s, and my mother died fifteen years ago, but he always remembers.

True love never dies.