Al got the approval of both my father and mother to marry me. We were engaged April 2, 1972. There was significant turmoil in family life, but we tried not to let it affect our relationship. It seemed the “norm” for us, but unusual for Al! He hung in there through these early ups and downs! That was a sign he was committed for life!
It was crazy little things that bothered us years back. We couldn’t sit together on the front porch glider without dad sitting with us. We had one evening together and that was Saturday’s! The only evening we would sit on the front porch in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.
Things started getting a little crazier than usual. Maybe we just noticed it more. All of a sudden mom and dad would start showing up at Helen Hutchley’s Sunday evenings when we were there! A place they never went!
We’d notice that they were everywhere we went. Nothing made sense. My older three siblings moved away. My younger brother was there with me and noticed the same. We shared what was happening, after all I still shared a bedroom with my brother! I was almost 19 and he was 17 1/2. I also had a little sister that was 4 1/2.
In the summer of 1972 things at home were becoming quite ugly. As usual, I couldn’t do anything right. When I wasn’t working I needed to be babysitting. I tried to clean the house, and I wasn’t doing that right. I was never doing anything right. I was never good enough! Oh well, I was doing my best and I was doing what I believe was right.
Okay, I understood I’d never be as smart as my older sister but nothing else was right either. My parents began showing up at my place of employment unexpectedly. A prestigious law firm in downtown Cleveland. Al and I talked with senior partners at the law firm and got advice for our own protection.
In July, 1972 Al became employed at East Ohio Gas in Cleveland. He rented a room on West 116th Street off Lake Avenue from a private homeowner. By August things on the home front were spiraling out-of-control without just cause. I was always working, but for the little time I was home it was miserable.
I tried to do everything possible to make things work, but I wasn’t the daughter I was expected to be! I began looking for a room to rent and soon I found just the room. It was in a quiet home with an elderly woman and one other woman. She had strict house rules. They seemed quite leanet to me!
I needed to move my few items out from my parents home without them noticing. I feared my parents. Al and I moved everything I owned by putting the items and my clothing in the back seat of his car. I set up my own room and was about to travel in to the real life of living!
This was the tricky part of leaving home. I feared my parents. I could never say anything right. I never had any real discussions with them. I didn’t know how to communicate with them. I wasn’t the only one who feared them. Everyone who really knew them did also, including my mother’s own sisters.
So, I left a note on the bedroom dresser with keys to their house…signing it “I love you, Edith.” I don’t recall exactly what I wrote, but I reassure it was a positive note. The day I planned moving out, my parents decided we were all going to see my sister and brother-in-law in Columbus, Ohio. It was just another spontaneous decision.
We just couldn’t plan anything. Our lives were being planned for us! I had to do what they told me. This was one of the longest days in our earlier years that Al and I spent together. We needed to figure out how we were going to follow-up with our plan of me moving out. I had nothing at my parent’s house. With all the clutter they wouldn’t notice anyway!
We had no time to discuss it amongst ourselves, so I was thinking during our ride to and from Columbus. That was a 5 hour round-trip, so plenty of time to think! My sister and brother-in-law knew our plans that I was moving out that day. They just didn’t expect us all to be visiting with them, but that’s how it was. Impromptu, with no warning or planning!
When we arrived home in the late evening I went upstairs, put the keys and note on the dresser and told them we were going out for pizza. I never returned. I never regretted the move. We’ve been out for pizza ever since! I was sad for one day. Wondering how disappointed they would be? And wish it were very different, but I couldn’t change anyone but myself.
My sister received a call from my angry parents. Now, my husband (at that time my fiancee’) was being followed everywhere he went. He was working evening shift 5:00 pm – 1:00 am. I was working day shift from 8:30 am till 5:00 pm, but I was usually leaving about 8:30 pm or later everyday. Al would pick me up in the morning to take me to work, and there would be someone following him. It wasn’t my parents!
They hired private investigators to follow us! That’s a bit crazy! We found out for certain when Al was called into the office at his place of employment, East Ohio Gas. He was questioned about a number of things and his superiors informed him why he was being questioned. We didn’t do anything wrong, so I still don’t and won’t ever understand the private investigator thing! I guess that’s not all I’ll never understand!
Three Well Beings
December 6, 2012 at 1:06 am
I was married in January of 1972. I can picture the way things were back then, and although my parents were somewhat controlling, it was nothing as extreme as you describe. You exhibited a lot of courage, though, to just leave! You have a very interesting story, Edie. Tough, but interesting to read. oxo
brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)
December 8, 2012 at 7:13 am
I only perceive my situation as challenging and eventful. I know there was significant control, and I’ve probably controlled my children to some extent but I know not like I experienced. I’m just happy I was able to see what was happening at the time and move on with my life. It all seems very simple compared to what I’ve gone through with brain injury, but these experiences prepared me to survive and succeed!
Maria Tatham (Elizabeth Ott)
December 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm
Edie, learning that you were unhappy at home and had to leave and live elsewhere until you and Al got married comes as a big shock to me. You didn’t post any pictures of your parents at the wedding, so I’m assuming they didn’t attend, and that you’ll explain about this in your next post.
Glad you are happy now, and that you’ve experienced a happy family life!
brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)
December 8, 2012 at 7:29 am
Maria, My life isn’t unusual but a bit challenging! It’s prepared me for real life experiences … making survival easier for the years to come. Happiness is within the heart, and no one can take that from me! These experiences are full of laughter in this phase of my life. Thank God I’ve had wonderful siblings to share these experiences. I’ve had a good relationship with my parents until their deaths in 1987 and 2011. Albeit, I distanced from my dad in 2008 because I needed to protect myself and family. My experiences and siblings probably key to my inner strength. I’ve been fortunate to have many supportive people in my life, from 5 siblings, friends, family, in-laws, parents, school teachers to Sunday school teachers. How blessed I’ve been! Take care and stay safe, Edie
Maria Tatham (Elizabeth Ott)
December 8, 2012 at 10:20 am
Edie, thank you for explaining more about your life in this comment! Your attitude is godly, and I love your commonsense and sense of humor!