The Clubhouse and the beginning of an addiction

siloAs we have wrote in earlier post, S and I grew up in “Small Town USA” where we were able to ride our bikes up and down the streets all day long and fish in the nearby river without any cares or fears.  As with most young boys I had a “clubhouse” behind our home.  My clubhouse was an old concrete water silo which was probably a pretty dangerous place for a seven or eight year old juvenile to be hanging out, but it was a really cool place for me and my friends.

It just so happened that one of those friends was the cousin of S.  He was a few years older than me, and his grandparents lived in the town as well as his mom and stepdad.

One day while at my friends house, he asked me if I wanted to see something, which I of course replied “yes”.   He went into his closet and returned with a pornographic magazine.  I was scared of what I was looking at, scared of getting caught, scared of liking what I was seeing because I knew it was wrong.  I was also captivated.  The fears were quickly overcome by the adrenaline rush and looking a porn became a daily event that summer as I had found my stepfather’s “stash” of porn magazines as well.  My friend and I got the brilliant idea that we would take some of this porn to our clubhouse and tear the pages out and glue them onto some scrap pegboard we had found and keep it on display.  To this day, I remember the images of those women on that pegboard.  They were disgusting pictures, degrading the women, as all porn does, but the seed of the addiction had been planted and was growing inside my very young soul.

It was only a few days after our pegboard display that we got caught.  I guess that my stepfather was missing some of his favorite magazines and knew exactly where to look.  I received a very severe beating.

Many years later pornography still remained in the house where all of my siblings would be exposed to it as well creating their own demons that would haunt them as they grew into adults.

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The First Alarm

fire alarmShift change took place at 0630 and I was there on the first day at 0545, ready to save the world.  I had already been given my bunker gear, and been assigned a locker and a bed and was learning the ropes about Central Station when my first alarm as a professional firefighter came in.  I rolled out of Central Station on a Booster truck heading to a RV on fire a few miles south of the station on the major highway that ran through town.

As in my soon to be marriage, on that first fire, and many more after that, I did so many things wrong.  I had nobody in my family prior to me that was a fireman, nobody had taught me.  Again, this would be a comparison in mine and S’s married life as well.  We would go into the “fires” of marriage immature, not prepared, and quite honestly, cocky and full of pride.  As any seasoned firefighter knows, these are the qualities that will get you killed.

Pride, a word that carries two meanings, meanings that carry a negative connatation as well as a positive.  The negative meaning is what I have struggled with most of my life, “an inflated sense of one personal status or accomplishments.”  I thought I was all that and a bag of chips.  I thought I was the best fireman in the world and nothing could touch me.  There wasnt a fire I couldn’t tap out, or a car I couldn’t rip up.  I’m amazed I lived to tell this story!

I began to further my EMS training, and as S wrote in the previous blog, I was away from home for classes and hospital rotations, and the enemy found the open door from my past, and came barreling through as he does looking to kill, steal, and destroy.  The pornography that had come into my life so early was defining my marriage, and the pride that I struggled with was telling me that I deserved the images I saw in the magazines and videos I grew up with.  Truly this is not the portrait of marriage God has painted for us and I greatly began disrespecting my bride with this expectation.

 

Beginning the Life of a Fireman’s Wife

Fire Department

Just as other dating couples do, we had our good days and a few that were not so good. As we were dating I began to notice a few things.  E had a temper that would show itself ever once in a while with great remorse to follow. Fish stories….that seemed to grow a bit each time they were told.  I grew up with a dad and uncle that had similar tempers.  I thought it was normal for men to react and act this way, with the exception of my Pe-Pa, whom I had never heard raise his voice or hand at anyone.  He had also taught me that honesty was something no one could ever take away from you.

We were engaged and had set our wedding date for the day that we met. As E said, he was at the fire academy and I was at home going to college and planning a wedding. He would come home on weekends. The thought of becoming a fireman’s wife was ideal to me.

My mother raised me as a single mom who obviously had to work very hard with only $100. a month child support to help. Some how she managed to be at everything I participated in.  She wasn’t able to finish college as we could barely pay our bills some months. When I would visit my father on the weekends as a child, I would witness he, my step-mother and her daughter enjoying a beautiful home, nice cars, beautiful clothes, going to nice places and no hesitation to buy nice things. Although I knew they were dealing with underlying issues that my mother and I were happy to be relieved from, it was heartbreaking to see my mother work so hard to have so little.  My mother made our home beautiful and gave me everything I needed. She allowed me to participate in pageants and that was our time together. This etched in me a desire to want a family and to be there for my children. It also showed me that it did not matter how many things you could buy, it was the heart and the love that mattered.

E started his first job at a small fire department only 45 minutes from home. We married and I continued school there and had a couple of jobs. We had been married a little over a year and E began an EMT class to help further his career. He was gone several nights a week. When he was gone many nights I would go to my Aunt Dots for pizza.  I had an amazing christian aunt and uncle that loved us as they would their own. They were a huge influence in our lives.

As EMT school went along there would be rotation time that E would have to do on different ambulances, in different towns, to get experience.  This would be the beginning of what I knew later would either end our marriage or make us stronger.

 

 

Bathrooms and blogs…life continues

In our married life we have accepted that we do not live a normal life, as you readers will learn more about in future blogs.  However, for the last week we have experienced normalcy in the form of a leaky pipe that destroyed our master bathroom, forcing us into a remodel that we decided to take on ourselves. Life has continued…as normal.

On with the story.  S and i continued to date, I think that we would both agree that we actually “courted”.  We talked for hours on the phone together, I would drive to her house and actually go inside before taking her on a date.  We would go on “real” dates, to real places and we enjoyed each others company.

S is a year younger than I am so she had a year left in high school after I graduated.  I knew that I was going to attend fire recruit training but had to wait for my class to come up so I worked a few construction jobs and eventually started a small business of my own selling firewood.  During this time I don’t remember having many struggles, I just remember continuing to fall in love with S more and more.  I wanted nothing more in life than to marry S and be a fireman.

I attended recruit school about 3 hours from home, but would come home every weekend to be with my love.  I enjoyed recruit training, learning the fire service, how to fight fire and life in the fire station.  I really enjoyed spending time and loving S.

I knew that S was “the one”, I asked her to marry me and to my amazement, she said “yes”.  I continued in my training and preparing to begin searching for a firefighting job and she began planning a wedding.  I was to graduate fire school in March, and our wedding date was set for the anniversary of the day we met, April 26th, so I made up my mind to take the first job.  I graduated on a Friday and tested the next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and was offered a job with a fire department in a town of about 18,000.  I was so happy.  I couldn’t wait for my adult married life to begin, but I had many, many demons from my past lurking, waiting for their chance to steal mine and my new bride’s happiness.

The Prince Every Little Girl Dreams Of….

valentineAs we dated, it was like part of a fairy tale.  E’s grandparents, on his dad’s side, lived in a beautiful home in town and His grandparents, on his mom’s side, were very sweet home grown country, with beautiful hearts and a small country place. Both sets of E’s grandparents helped raise him.  The best of both worlds…

As I started to get to know E and his family it was like it was from a storybook…

I am going to share some of the things that stood out to me that said what kind of man I thought E was, when in fact there was so much hurt and scars on the inside that wouldn’t come out until later. When people “pretend to be normal”, they “appear to be normal” until something comes along to break the ease of pretending in their lives.  They pretend to be the person they desire to be but soon that brokenness on the inside works it’s way to the surface.

On our first date we went to the varsity vs. alumni basketball game. As the game was finished E asked me if I would like to go to get a soda and ice cream or get a bite to eat. He said, “you tell me to jump and all that I will ever ask is how high”. What woman doesn’t want a man that feels this way about her?  We went to the Sonic where we met and E’s last post was partially correct. Smiling, I put my hands on my hips and asked, “are you gonna kiss me or not”. A beautiful smile came to his face and he did.

As we continued dating there were many things that made me think he really cared about me.  I was getting ready for school one morning and I cut my fingernail when I was shaving my legs…don’t ask.  Ladies, you probably all know what I’m talking about.  That afternoon when I came home from school…I had flowers with a simple card attached that read, ” I hope your finger is better”.  The sweetest thing ever!

On Valentines Day when I went to get in my car, after school I opened the door and tons of red balloons started floating out of my car.  My car had red streamers draping all over it.  There was a box of chocolates in my seat with a card and flowers. We still went out to eat that evening for Valentines.  Always such beautiful things for a girl to see.

Please, do not get me wrong. I have an amazing husband and would not trade what God has taught us from our valleys. We want to share our story to bring glory to Him and possibly help a marriage.

Sometimes things are not as though they appear. E appeared to have this beautiful family life and even though several divorces had taken place with his parents, it seemed like everyone who had influence in his life was a christian with good character and great morals.  Things are not always as they appear.

 

 

That first kiss

Yes she did!  She gave me a bogus phone number that I kept in my super cool Ocean Pacific velcro wallet for several years.  Years that I thought of her often, until that day.  That day that she described in the last blog, when I pulled up beside her and she had me.

After our first date when she came and watched me play in a faculty versus players basketball game we went to the same Sonic drive in that we had reunited at, grabbed a drink, and I drove her home.  I walked her to the door, and after telling her thanks for going with me, and that I had a nice time she took my hand and said “aren’t  you going to kiss me?”  It was a wonderful kiss that I remember to this day. I will remember it forever.

We began a courtship.  In retrospect I wish it could have been different, but it was far better than what I see today with some teenagers.  We talked. Talked for hours upon hours on real telephones.  Not telephones you could drive down the road with while emailing and checking the weather at the same time.  Real phones, connected the the wall with real cords, and we had real conversations.  I enjoyed those days.  We dated.  I drove to her home, picked her up, and we went to a movie, or to dinner, you know, a real date.  We both courted to the best we knew how…and it worked.

I’m so thankful she fell in love with me!

 

The Drag

Sonic

From the “World of Games” where we met again in junior high school. I gave E my dad’s phone number, because I didn’t go there but only on holiday’s.  I had a crush on another little boy and thought that would be good so that I didn’t have to tell him I liked someone else.  Which takes us to our high school years.

I was still being raised by an amazing, hard working, beautiful mother as well as the best Me-Ma and Pe-Pa in the entire world.  Being taught daily about God’s love and the only thing people cannot take away from you is your salvation and your ability to tell the truth.   My grandfather was a deacon in the church, my mother and grandmother had always taught a Sunday School Class and helped with things in the church. My dad’s mother, my Grandma was a piano player and had written a book over the Rapture. She and my Pa-pa owned a grocery store. She always inquired to see who all entered her store was a Christian and if they were not they had many sermons in their future. She was also a teacher and combining the two, she did it well.

The thing to do on a Friday and Saturday nights was to ride the drag in Stephenville. This consisted of circling the McDonald’s parking lot, driving down main street and circling Sonic. My friend Deanna and I had just finished drill team try-outs and decided to drive the drag. We pulled up at Sonic and pulled up next to us were a jeep full of cute guys. Two of them took our numbers and asked if they could call us. We went to school in a small town about 12 miles from Stephenville. The funny thing was, the boy who took my friend’s number, he called me. He had only known me, he thought, for a couple of days. We went to an alumni basketball game, a sports banquet and continued to date. I distinctively remember him telling me, “you tell me to jump, the only thing I will ask is how high.”  I thought this was odd because I certainly hadn’t ever heard of my parents talk like this and couldn’t remember my grandparents talking like this.

I didn’t see a lot of affection from my parents and not a lot from my grandparents but was sure about ONE THING!  I knew that  my Me-Ma and Pe-Pa looked at one another there was a love there I had never seen but I knew that’s the kind of love I wanted when I got married. It was a kind, patient, slow to anger. Did they argue? You bet! Did they communicate? My Me-Ma communicated and forced my Pe-Pa to talk. He had to quit high school and go work to support his family. He could not speak well but his granddaughter thought he hung the moon and the stars.

At the time we started dating, I was also fulfilling my reign as Miss Dublin and he went with us to our parades. We were getting a soda after a parade one afternoon and he asked me to get money out of his wallet. I was taken back by all of the pockets in his Ocean Pacific wallet…you remember the 80’s velcro wallets?  I was looking in all the little pockets and pulled out an old, yellow piece of paper. It was my dad’s phone number that I had given him in junior high…in my hand writing. You know, the BIG, BUBBLE handwriting that was also popular in the 80’s?

The mean, little boy riding bikes to the scared little boy asking me to skate then the young teenager getting my phone number at the game room to my boyfriend my junior year in high school.