Posts Tagged ‘life after divorce


Falling in Love Again: A story of Missy n Me…

The story of Missy n Me started more than 30 years ago.  30 years.  Where does it go?  It is a simple story about true love.  Does anyone ever forget their first true love?  I doubt it.  I never did.  In fact there have been studies about first true loves, and apparently it is something not too many ever get past.

Our story began innocently enough on a summer day around 1984 at a Civil Air Patrol encampment based at the airfield outside of Springfield, Ohio.  We were camping on the green right in front of the terminal building.  Squadrons from Xenia, Dayton/Kettering, and our scrappy bunch of cadets from Squadron 706.

I remember the damned searchlight going round and round all night.  Some of the cadets stayed up into the wee hours…talking…playing cards…and generally just trying to be as adult as our age would allow.  I was 16-ish years old, and had never dated…let along really been in love.

Then as the song says…”I was walking along minding my business…when out of an orange colored sky…FLASH…BANG…ALA KAZAM!”  Love came along and hit me right square in between the eyes!

That morning as we were preparing for the days training session…there she was.  I still remember it like yesterday.  Dressed in nothing but green military fatigues, the most adorable young female cadet I’d ever seen walked by.  I felt my heart pound…alternating pulses of hot and cold though my veins. It was far worse than the feeling of getting detention…interim reports…or bad grades…and knowing the punishment that was coming.  This was the same…but different.  It was amazing!

I watched her walk by, and later found out she was “dating” a guy who was a Master Sargent!  He was nearing completion of courses to Warrant Officer!  Oh God!  I was a lowly Airman!  How could I compete!?!?!?

I couldn’t!  She was beautiful…and was dating a guy with MORE STRIPES!!!  UGH!!!

I was sunk.

I watched her from afar.  Even clad in nothing but green she seemed to exude such warmth through her big smile, her eyes twinkled when she smiled.  She had a cute little nose that caught my attention.  Her face was gentle and kind.  But she was with another guy.  I’d never cross the line to try and steal another guy’s girl…and how could I?  He HAD MORE STRIPES!

At some point I was asked to take something to her where she was working in the terminal doing clerical stuff…I guess.  I approached and she smiled as I reached out to hand her whatever I’d been asked to deliver.  I swallowed hard…took in a big breath…and when she said “Thank you”…I mumbled something that undoubtedly sounded like I had gas from the can of Spaghetti-o’s and soda I’d eaten for breakfast.

That was the end of it!  I was done!  She’d never speak to me again…and god willing she’d never remember what had just happened.

So the timeline gets fuzzy here, but at the end of the year was our annual C.A.P. Banquet.  I had been asked to deejay the event since my buddy and I had started a business spinning records.  So we showed up…set up…and were ready to go.  Dressed in a tux…I was the front man…and Jimmy spun the records and attended to the technical stuff.

As things got underway…and folks began entering the room, alas I saw her walk in with a… friend.  Hey!  Wait!  Where was old what’s his name…the Warrant Officer?  Strange.

After the awards were passed out following dinner, Jimmy and I were introduced and began our shtick…which was “under development” still.  We were novices. As I stood nervous on stage back selling songs and trying to keep things going forward, my nerves were not owing to the performance.  It was “What if I fail in front of HER!?!?”.

As the evening wore on, my dreams were answered.  This young cadet I’d been watching from afar came up with an envelope from her “friend” of whom I’d been acquainted, yet disinterested in.  She introduced herself…as if I’d never noticed her…and handed me the note…which I believe I stuffed in a pocket or read quickly and dismissed.  I had something more important to do right then.  With every ounce of guts and determination I could muster…I blurted out “Would you like to dance?”.  She said “Sure!”…and there was that smile again.  Her “Pepsodent Smile”!  I could have passed out.

So I told Jimmy to keep playing slow stuff for a bit…and Missy n me…we did the “High School Hangs”.  My feet never touched the ground the whole time.  I was flying higher than anyone could imagine.  Me…dancing with HER!  WOW!

It nearly wrecked the gig as I wanted to keep going on slow music, but the other kids wanted something…well…more up-tempo.  Finally I had to succumb to their wishes.  It was a non-paying gig after all!!

The night went on…and I was in love!  Though I didn’t know how much so right then and there.

At the end of the evening she gave me her address or phone number, and we were going to stay in touch.  Problem was she lived in Springfield…me Englewood some 30 miles distant to the west.  I had no car…no drivers license…not a single luxury.

So thus began one of the great letter writing campaigns in history.

We wrote sweet innocent love notes by the mailbag full.  Back and forth the postal truck roared along I-70 carrying our precious cargo.  Some weeks there’d be 5 or so letters between us.  Sundays were pure hell!  Through rain, sleet and snow…but not on Sunday by God!

Everyday I would meet the post man…a grumpy old guy in a jeep…at our curbside mailbox in hopes of another letter from my long-distance sweetheart.  The mailman got on to what was up.  I suppose they see trends and back in those days they knew everyone on their route.  So he’d put all the mail in the box…rather than handing it to me.  Then I noticed he would sit in his jeep sorting the next batch of letters…while I perused our posts for “The LETTER!”.  He would see my face grow long if nothing was in the pile of junk mail…and like a genie out of a bottle…”Oops!  I musta missed this one!”…or “Hmmm…this was on my dashboard!”…or the old classic play “Darn it…I guess I dropped this one!”…as he handed me the LETTER of my dreams.

I would walk calmly into the house…but with a quicker step than normal…and head for my bedroom to read my latest post from Springfield.  The letter would usually go to school with me the next day and during study hall…a return letter drafted and sent back across I-70 to Springfield.  This is potentially why I was such a bad student with such lousy grades.

Finally it was my Senior Prom! 1986…theme…Sailing.  (Yes the Christopher Cross song!)  I asked Missy to accompany me…and she said okay.  But having no car…etc presented issues. So I enlisted a friend who had wheels to double date…then after-prom…then King’s Island the next day.  We were set.

We went to pick up Missy…all the way in Springfield and came back to my folks house to take photos, then off to prom.

Yup…same tux I wore for the Civil Air Patrol banquet.  Missy looked beautiful like a princess.  I looked more like an anemic Jimmy Stewart!

We danced…slow dances at prom.  Talked a bit.  I was still nervous and scared.  She was sweet as usual.  The next day we headed off to King’s Island where Mark’s date tried to get Missy to take off with some guys they met while waiting in line for a ride.

But alas, she stuck around with me.

However, eventually not having wheels to get back and forth got the better of us, and she called it quits.  I remember the letter telling me we don’t see enough of each other.  I remember going out to get the mail…and seeing the postman’s perplexed look when there WAS NO LETTER.  After a week or so…he got the picture and as grumpy as he was said “Sorry kid!  Nothing today.”  I think what he meant really…but didn’t know how to say was…he was sorry.  He no doubt saw the look of lost love on my face.

So what to do?  Get a license and a car! So over the summer I did.  Then fall rolled around.  And somehow I still couldn’t get Missy off my mind.

Again…mustering all the courage I had…I gassed up my trusty new/used Pontiac J2000 and drove all the way across I-70 to her high school.  I arrived as 7th period was wrapping up and waiting hoping to see her leaving so I could ask her to go get an ice cream or something.

My heart was pounding as class let out…and suddenly there she was…heading toward me.  She didn’t see me at first…but I stepped right out in front of her and said “Hello” or something equally romantic.  She greeted me looking perplexed, then a surprised look filled her face.  I wasn’t sure what to make of it!  It seemed odd and strained. Surprised was to be expected, but slightly shocked…or horrified was not.

I asked if she would like to take a ride in my car…and amazingly she said yes…but then she said “Just a minute…I need to talk to someone.”  She went over and spoke to some fella standing with his friends…and then returned, and away we went.

I guess never in a million years had it occurred to me that maybe…just maybe she might move on and start dating someone else.  It truly didn’t occur to me until a day or so later…that guy she spoke to…was her now ex-boyfriend.

Well we went to the mall and walked around.  We grabbed a snack…and shopped a bit….then I took her home.  We sat in the driveway talking for a time…then I had to go.  This is when a most uncharacteristic thing occurred…I leaned over the center console and gave her a kiss.  I was stunned.  I did that!?!?

She smiled sweetly…probably seeing the shock and embarrasement on my face…and then she got out and went inside.  I on the other hand had to drive home while suffering a near heart failure while asking myself…”What the hell did I do?  Do I have no self control!?!?  Was it good for her?  It was good for me…all 3 seconds of it…WOW!  Oh god…she’ll never want to see me again…WHAT HAVE I DONE!?!?!?!?”

But we did see each other again.  Often!  So much so over the next couple of years her father threatened to write me off his taxes as a dependent.

So this was the beginning of our real love story.


Missy’s Senior Prom was coming up too.  The theme was “Sailing”…it was 1987 and yes…it was still the Christopher Cross song by the same name.  My prom was held in a banquet hall…Missy’s in the high school gym.  We walked in and it was amazing.  The gym was decked out with a false tunnel of streamers leading to the tables and chairs and the dance floor.  She looked amazing.  Her strapless gown with gloves.  Me again in my white dinner jacket with black tie this time.  We danced the night away…slowly…then went out to the local reservoir and sat in my car.  We watched the stars and the water…then with all the romance of the day…I am told by her…I fell asleep…in my drivers seat.  She sat quietly until dawn.  Then we took off for King’s Island again.

Romance.  HA!

We stayed steady for what seemed like for ever.  But it must have been shorter than I thought.  As I look back though, her 1987 Prom pictures are the first time we looked like adults.  The first time we looked happy.  And as I look at the photos below…it is easy to see how in love we were.  And we were!  My first true love.

This must have been my birthday.  I’m perched on a new bike which Missy remembers us riding at the reservoir a lot. In the second photo, you can tell…we were so happy…and in love.

scan_20161225-7I love this picture.  We were building a new disc jockey set up to go on the road with.  I’m sure she’d rather have been doing something else, but she was always willing to help.  The reason I love this photo is this is the smile I fell in love with.  Big and warm…she looks like a rainbow could shine from behind her.

So after working all day…we finally got this new project done.  We set it up in the garage and she was a great sport through it all.

scan_20161225-11It’s Christmas time, and we have just arrived at my folks house.  I wore a leather flight jacket long before Tom Cruise and “Top Gun”…and yes I’m sure the fashionable headgear was inspired by a different movie.  But…here is Missy…with that smile!

scan_20161225-13We both are old souls.  I loved old music…big band and jazz…she is more of the 1950’s faith.  Thus Missy got me a replica Philco Model 90 and I got her a miniature Wurlitzer Jukebox that played little tiny tapes.

scan_20161225-17Yup…spring has sprung and we took a road trip to Indianapolis Union Station.  It had been converted into a shopping mall.  I guess there’s always a train around me somehow.

Standing on the back porch at my folks…we must have been ready to go boating.  I must be happy…as they say a happy man gains weight.  I must be happy here judging by the spare tire forming!  We used to go boating with my family.  Ironic since it is still a past time for us.

scan_20161225-20My second favorite photo of us.  This was kind of us in a nutshell.  I loved Missy deeply and intensely, which would present issues down he road.  But some good natured hamming nonetheless…and yet I would guess I was still being very sincere.

scan_20161225-24These are special photos.  This is my Grandma Stubblefield…mom’s mom.  She was a wonderful character.  Warm…and fun loving.  And that little Pontiac Fiero in the background was my undoing.

scan_20161225-25Grandma Stubblefield loved Missy.  Missy was very kind to her.  but Grandma had never driven a car in her life.  But being a fun loving person…I think she would have tried if we’d let her.  Simply a favorite photo for both Missy n me…Grandma with the keys in hand…ready to go cruisin’!


Possibly my favorite photo of us.  Stubblefield family get together…nearing the end of our run together.  I’m still in love…but Missy is nearing the end of “US”.

So all good things must come to an end.  The Fiero was perplexing to me…and came to be a symbol of Missy striking out on her own.  I was 19 or 20 and very much lacking in confidence under the surface.  She was growing and finding herself.  We had talked of marriage by this time.  It scared me to death.  We spoke about marriage and having children, which Missy very much wanted…and I did not.  I wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting which was not promising financially…especially starting out and raising a family.  And she was working full time.  Her father and I were beginning to have issues, as I was trying to get his daughter away from him, and he was trying not to lose her to someone he viewed had no future.  It’s an old story.

It finally ended…supposedly on, or around my birthday.  Missy came to the house.  We were talking. I knew things were not good…and hadn’t been for a while.  And she ended it despite my pleas for working it out.  Ultimately…she was right.  We were heading down different paths.

I died a little that day.

No more sweet smile.  No more twinkling eyes.  No more road trips in my pick up truck.  No more getting to hang out with her and her two sisters…her parents, whom had become part of my life.  I sobbed for hours.  It hurt.  Damn how it hurt.  My first true love had ended.  I had ruined it in large part…by being so insecure…so I blamed me mostly.

I lost track of Missy after that.  I was mad at her.  Years later I found out my mom, with whom she had bonded deeply as well…kept in contact with Missy for a while after we ended it.  Mom even sent Missy gifts when her first two children were born. When I found out, I was aghast.  It’s not like it hated her…really.  I was worried she was dead in a ditch or something.  It would have been nice to know she was okay.

But life moved on.  I dated…but no one came close to “the standard” set previously.  I married…and loved her too, but in a different way than a first true love.  It’s possible to love more than one person.

However over the years with the advent of the internet I had kind of “searched” for Missy on and off.  As the internet improved…the chances of finding out ow she was improved too.  One day I found her dad in my search.  The database said he was 55 years old.  I remember thinking how odd that was.  The math didn’t make sense.  Then the reality hit that he had passed away.  My heart sank.  I started thinking of her mom…sisters…and of course Missy. He was actually a smart and wise man.  He had a deadly sense of humor…and a laugh I can still hear in my head.  It was infectious!! So

I clicked away a bit and found Missy had married another guy from Civil Air Patrol who had been a life long friend with her family.  I felt relieved.  I remembered him as a decent and generally good guy.  They had 3 kids.  Missy got what she wanted and deserved and I was at peace with that.

But she never really left that special place in my heart for a first true love.  I carried her along with me.  For many years I was in radio, I thought our paths might cross as I did a number of 50’s/60’s formats.  Right up her alley.  But it wasn’t to be.

We came close though!  In fact closer than we imagined!!

I tired of radio.  I’d gone through several mergers.  I’d been in a management role a number of years…and decided to change careers.  I left and went to work for a Class 1 Railroad in Hillard, Ohio at a big hump yard.  One day while shoving a train out into the old yard tracks near Scioto-Darby Road…I was “flagging” a crossing to stop traffic.  Suddenly out of the string of cars approaching, a lady with some kids drives over my foot.  I remember it clearly as day!  I looked into the car and thought…”WOW!  That looked like Missy!”.  Well I had a train to put away and I did so.  Little did I know that Missy and her family were living in Hilliard at that time.

She denies it happened…or it was her.  I have my doubts.

So move ahead another decade plus and 2013 rolls around. Technology plays a role.  This time not the U.S. Postal Service…but the internet.  She came searching to see what I was up to.  She mustered all the courage she could to hit “send” and I received a message asking how I was.  It seemed pretty thinly veiled and it appeared to me her life wasn’t going well either…or why would she contact me?  I’d just be a faint memory if everything was “swell” with her.

I was honest.  “NOT GOOD!  Can’t find work…marriage is ending.  How are you?”

Her reply was honest too.  She’d been married to a police officer.  Thank god they do what they do…but it usually costs them personally.  She had 3 grown kids.  She was calling it quits too.

We sent messages back and forth for a bit and decided to meet and just go over old times I guess.  Besides…I was frankly still a little hacked she ended it almost 30 years ago!  I wanted to tell her so.  So we met.  We talked.  I told her I was older, grimmer, greyer, tired…and fatter.  She said she was felt alone.  I wanted to still be mad at her.  I tried being as frosty as I could, but I melted.  I was not surprised…at all

We talked so much we forgot Missy had packed lunch.  And we talked…and talked.

Eventually the writing was on the wall.  We still had that little spark between us.  It was just an ember.  But it was more than either of us had at home.

We kept in touch, and the emotional affair began.  The marriages had ended years before really. I think we were both deeply concerned about whether this was just two old fools trying to relive the past.  But it just didn’t feel like that to me.

My heart still pumped like the old days when she would smile, she still had that sparkle in her eyes.  I felt her warmth and sweetness when she talked of her kids.  All the old feelings were still there.

I went home and researched a bit about “First True Loves”.  It seems some psychologist had done a study on first true loves who get back together later in life.  Most fit our very profile.  Older, previously married…and know what they screwed up in prior relationships.  In fact…those who got back together had a more than 80% success rate.  That’s a helluva a lot better then most marriages.   Maybe there was something to this.

So we agreed to give it a go.  Fairly straight forward.

And we did.

We still have fun.  We still road trip.  We laugh…and despite being older and heavier, we are both less grim, grey, and tired since we got back together.  We enjoy spending our time together.  She still makes me laugh.  If I get riled up and start cussing or ranting…she just laughs.  I feel a little foolish…then laugh along.  She’s been wonderful for me.  I hope I am for her.

So we got married on September 19th,2014…at the courthouse in Columbus.  I was horribly sick in fact.  But we had set the date previously so there was no going back on it.  Besides…it looked like I may need a live in nurse.  We had a quick ceremony in the 3rd floor of a Bail Bonds building across from the courthouse.  And our wedding dinner was at Taco Bell.  Following that we loaded up the truck and boat and went to North Webster, Indiana to and Antique Outboard Motor meet. I drove as far as Wapakoneta, Ohio and nearly passed out.  Missy drove the rest of the way.  Amazingly our friends from the AOMCI heard what had transpired and threw us an impromptu reception.

There was cake, dinner, and champagne…none of which I could taste since I’d lost a sense of taste while sick.  But Missy took care of me.  She nursed me back to health.  And we take care of each other now.

She still makes me very happy.  It was amazing that no one really seemed surprised we were getting back together 30 years later.  Her family…my family…our mutual friends all kind of guessed it when we each broke the news.

We take time to enjoy each other…and look after one another.  She still has that twinkle…the warmth…the sweet smile.  She still sends my heart racing when I see her laugh.

So Falling in love again…it is possible.  It can be a most amazing adventure!  And so it is.

As a post script…the more things change…the more they stay the same.

Instead of disc-jockey gear…this time we’re working on restoring our 1958 Lyman 15 foot runabout.  We enjoy going to Classic Boat shows and just traveling local waterways in her.


20160427_184441So long for now.


D-I-V-O-R-C-E: It’s not just a song anymore…

Our musical title is an old Tammy Wynette tune from the 1970’s.  Its one I remember hearing on the radio often…and one that I remember not being very fond of.

But alas it is our theme for this post.

Over 60% of marriges in our country end in the “D” word.  It’s not a club many people care to join, and yet it happens.  I now am a part of that group…and frankly it bugs me a bit.  And since this blog was never meant to be about just boats and motors…but rather about life…my life…I feel compelled to write.

I married in 2001 to a woman I met through a friend.  We hit it off famously!  She was a lot of fun, had a warm personality, and we seemed well suited to be together.  Not long into the relationship…like the second date…we began discussing marriage.  She had a house and I moved in with her…then we married.

Like all brides…she was lovely on that cold October day.  She was stunning.  Our wedding was outside.  The weather was not cooperating, but with some space heaters we had a grand reception.  It was magic.  We honeymooned in southeastern Ohio’s Hocking Hills…and enjoyed relaxing…and just being together.

But time marched on…and life gets in the way.  We had everything thrown at us but the kitchen sink.  Job changes, job losses, moving for jobs, carrying two mortgages…then in 2003-ish…one month after we bought our home…life hit us and hard.

My wife was diagnosed with a major illness…that was life altering.  I remember it so well.  One night I had a dream I was decked out in a suit and being led into a church, for what I though was a wedding.  All the family was there.  Then I saw it.  A casket being wheeled past me.  I dreamed my wife had passed away.  I woke up, gasped some air and began to ball my eyes out.  My wife woke up and pulled me close to her.  I couldn’t tell her what I dreamed.  It scared hell out of me.  Worse yet it turned into a bit of a preminition.  Yes in 2003…when we thought our life was settling down…she was diagnosed with the Big “C”!

How could this be?  Our life was never going to be the same.  She was determined to fight it out and she was quite remarkable?  She was bookish by nature, and thus she went to the “books” and educated herself about every facet of this illness.  I was so amazed.  She would ask doctors questions about treatments that left them scrambling for answers to her questions.  It was amazing.

I found myself depressed and trying to protect her from everything that might harm her.  I could do nothing about the cancer, but let someone talk badly to her, and I was willing to start throwing punches. (Something I’m not prone to doing!)

But as she fought her way thogugh the treatments and chemo and doctors appointments, I tried to accompany her to nearly every one.  I wanted to support her.  In retrospect this may not have been best for us.  I’m sure she felt suffocated, and I was just wearing out working and trying to hold myself together.  She was working as much as she could too.  But the emotional and fiscal strains began taking their toll.  Frankly, had her father not assisted us finacially, we would have been wiped out.  Period.

Finally after many chemo treatments, radiation, and doctors appointments, she was on the road to a full recovery after surgery.  She has some complications, but she is well.

Then as that was winding down, it became appearent the company I was working for was also close to the end.  I jumped ship!  I had another offer and took it.  But I also took a sizable pay cut.  But she had gotten a better paying job, so it was a wash.  But then it happened again…just as we were catching our breath.

Due to the economic bust of 2008, her job was cut from full time to part time and she was forced into a lower paying job.  Not long afterward the company I went to also began to struggle and it was obvious it too would fold its tent after 58 years.  I was out of work…and we were trying to make it on one income.

I tried to find work in my area, but my resume was too much for most jobs, and not enough for what was left.  I was frankly too qualified to work at the jobs that were left after the Great Recession hit.  There were no management jobs in our area.

I tried launching my own business, but my wife and I disagreed on its viability.  She wanted the steady paycheck, I was tired of living and dying by other peoples decisions.  Thus we began to head off in different trajectories.

It happens, but we didn’t like it…neither of us.  It was appearent we were likely not going to make it.  We talked about counciling, she thought about getting a place of her own and trying a separation (Which I viewed as a preamble to the inevitable.), and we just kept trying to work it out.

I continued to try and find work, but the area we were in was not a “hotbed” of jobs!  She felt I wasn’t trying hard enough.  I couldn’t even get a big box to call me after putting in an application!  REALLY?

We grew further and further apart.  I grew more and more depressed.  I knew the marriage was in a bad way…and I felt less and less like a “man” owing to a lack of work.  I stayed busy trying to start my own business, but this became a big rub too.  I guess I should have sat endlessly trying to fill out on-line job apps that take 2 hours for an 8.00/hr job, but frankly I could make more money repairing outboards on the side. (I would add I never took a day of unemployment pay!  It was too much hassle!!)

So we grew apart.  She finished her Masters and went back to work full-time at a job she loved.  I still couldn’t find work I was qualified or not qualified for.  So we kept growing apart.  She began to resent me…and I don’t blame her!

I was more miserable than I’ve ever been in my life!  I couldn’t get a job, my marriage was failing, my wife had lost faith in me, and we were busted…BROKE!  Worse, we were quickly becoming only roommates.  We lived together and nothing more.

Finally she came home from work and announced what we both had been thinking.  It was obviously over.  It stung, but was not unexpected. I had been done for most  of a year frankly.  But the marriage really ended several years before.  Not because of her illness.  Not because of jobs or job losses.  Rather because of the sum of the parts equaling an amazing amount of stress on both of us.

Worse yet, we didn’t not like each other…we just had fallen out of love.

After “the conversation” I really plunged into a deep depression.  I cried a lot.  I started getting rid of “stuff”.  I had lost whatever emotional support I had in the marriage.  My friends and family were all out of town.  Still no job prospects.  And the marriage was over.  I was nearing the end.  I really mean the END of what I could endure.

I sat on the edge of the bed on my birthday in 2013 thinking for a long time.  I was thinking I was just through with everything.  Not mad at anyone, just disillusioned.  I had no where to go, but I didn’t want to stay where I was.  I had no income to speak of.  No support network nearby really.  I sat fondling some pain pills and thought about doing IT!  The big IT!!

IT was becoming more common for males in my age bracket during the Great Recession.  I had never seriously thought about IT.  But I was ready to end the pain, the hurt, the depression.  I was just tired and through.

At my wife’s urging I took a couple of road trips to visit family and friends.  That helped.  I visited the Miller’s who had been teachers at my High School…and we remained close after school.  Ed is a jokester and character.  He was trying to bring my spirits up, but I was so low, I don’t think I heard much of what he said on that visit.  His wife could see I was in pain…and she talked to me.  She held me while I disintegrated in her kitchen, and she showed me love as if I was one of her own.  In many ways I am.  They are wonderful folks who mean an awful lot to me.  But if it hadn’t been for her that day, I may not be here now.

I went home and then another event took place.  Through the wonder of Facebook I was contacted by a woman who had been my first true love.  Her message was transparent enough.  I knew her too well and could tell she too was in trouble with her marriage.  She wrote that she was great and everything was great..which in Facebook-ese means it was over for her too.

We corresponded a bit.  I did so begrudginly.  After all she kicked me to the curb almost 30 years ago.  I still hated her for that!  I was so hurt!  But I understood why she did it.

Meanwhile my wife/roommate bought herself and IKEA bed and moved into another room in the house.  How sad.  How awkward?  I was in limbo like a pile of trash at the curb waiting on the the damned trash truck.  It was miserable.  She sleeping in her room…me in mine…IN OUR BED!

The time came to end it.  She went to see an atttorney to draw up the dissolution papers.  We hung Post-it notes on stuff we wanted.  Yellow for her, blue for me…green for the scrap-pile.  We had friendly arguments about who would be stuck with what.  It was like those two annoying little chipmunks from the Old Warner Brother’s cartoons.  Just irritatingly gracious!

Then came a question I was not prepared for.  She came to me one day and asked “If I let you have the boats, tools in the garage, and your stuff…will you not ask for alimony?”  I’d never even thought about alimony!  I looked up and said “All I want is my clothes and whatever dignity I have left.”  It was true.  I was still in a dark place.  I was prepared to live in a rooming house, and box…or god forbid someone’s basement.  In fact I had offers from the afformentioned Miller’s and a friend from the Antique Outboard group.  But this was my issue…not theirs.

So that was it.  She put all the money in her new” account.  I was to survive however I had to.  “Sell your belongings” was basicallly the message.  I was hurt to say the least.

Look!  I’m no damned angel, but I did see her through a pretty tough time when she was sick  She wanted for nothing.  But evidently she did want something else…and I hadn’t given it to her.  I had failed her.

So now I had to get my shit together and move on.

Meanwhile my old flame and I got together so we could catch up.  We met in a park halfway between our cities.  This was a bad idea!  We were effectively cheating already.  Besides…I was still pissed about being dumped all those yeas ago.  But we did it anyway.

We met…it was warm and a beautiful day.  Yet there was frost coming off me.  I didn’t know what to say really.  What the hell do you say to someone who you were mad about nearly 30 years ago?  Mad at for 30 years…because they dumped you!?!?

Well the frost lifted pretty fast.  She was my first true love.  Nobody forgets their first true love!  I had, with the avent of the internet, looked for her over the years only to know she was okay.  I’d heard some rumors, but none proved to be true.  We walked around the park and reminisced…about the old days.  She told me about her life, her kids, and her parents.  Her father had passed away.  I had no kids…no real story to tell.  Just what I’d done professionally.  Then we began talking about the failing of our marriages.  The shortcomings in ourselves and our spouses.  We found oddly our geographic locations had nearly crossed a time or two, but never criss-crossed.  It was a pleasant visit.  But I also realized fairly quickly I’d never gotten over her.  I still missed her terribly and care deeply for her.  I had to get the hell out of there right now!

I went home feeling I’d broken a Commandment.  I guess I did.  It was quickly going to become an emotional affair if nothing else.  This is a danger!  When you’re not getting something at home, you seek it out.  It is not right in anyway, but it is human nature.

As our married lives were ending, an affair of the heart was reopening.  But we had complications.  From what she had told me I kept coming back to the fact she had three grown children and a husband who by any measure had simply tried to provide for his family.  But in her words…he was never there for her.  I cut her off.  I couldn’t do it to this guy.

But then another flurry of messages would go…and I cut her off again.  I just wanted to end my marriage first.  Then it would be easy to decide what to do.

But life ain’t easy sometimes.  Certainly not with matters of the heart!

So finally we decided to wrap up our marriages and at least move in together and help each other emotionally and finacially.  Of course my moving to her town would mean still no job, but prospects were better there.

So I pulled the trigger.  She got a place, we moved in, we survived as best we could.  My legal wife, and that’s all she was at this point, was staying in the house we shared…until it was sold, forclosed, or sold at shortsale.  She eventually got an apartment and the house sat empty…like so many other homes in the neighborhood.  My sister-in-law had moved to town a few months before our desision and I’m sure this was a calculated move so my “wife” would have someone there for her.  But as I look back, I guess it was more or less…let him fend for himself.  I was the “outsider” by this point.

So I got to my new town and found work within a month.  My legal wife and I stayed friendly for a time.  But I felt no need to broadcast I was “shacking up”.  Frankly after being “cut off” it was none of her damned business.  We talked occassionally about the houses disposition, the belongings I left behind…and general chit chat.  She eventually found out I had moved in with “another woman” and she confronted me when I drove home to retrieve some stuff.  I explained that I hadn’t much choice, and more importantly not much to loose by giving it a try.  She was hurt and no doubt felt betrayed.  But I felt betrayed too.  Where they hell was she when I was down and out.  She sure as hell wasn’t there emotionally.

So it was quiet for a time…if not cool for the most part.

But I wanted to move on.  My job was going well.  My new relationship was going well.  And in February of 2014 the marriage legally was ended.  We finalized the paperwork after the hearing.  We walked to the lobby…murmured some words and both of us held each other for the first time in three years…and we both sobbed.  It was tender, poignant, and sad.  12 years ended with the stroke of a judge’s pen.  I sobbed most of the way home.  Horrible, uncontrollable, howling sobs.  I never wanted to end it.  It should never have gone this way.  What happened!?!  Where did I fail?!  What could I have done differently.  It was just awful!  Terrible.

I got home, and my “companion” consoled me.  I felt guilty and yet I was happy it was over and I could move on.  I was happy in my new life.  But why couldn’t I just enjoy it?  This was maddening!!

But with all things, a grieving process has to take place.  I thought about it a lot, then one day I solved some of my issues by mistake.

While at work I was talking with a truck driver who seemed low.  I inquired if he was okay?  He looked at me and asked “You’re divorced!  Does it ever get easier?”  I responded with “Well…It’s a helluva lot easier if you hate the person you’re divorcing!!”

It was true.  I didn’t hate my new ex-wife.  I just grew apart from her.  I still cared…still do.  I hope she finds whatever it is I couldn’t give her.  Since I obviously don’t know what that is…I can’t help much, but I wish her all the best!

However, I had to move on.

I could only look at all of this as a chance to reinvent myself…ourselves. To do better in this relationship than I’d done in the past.

So things in my new relationship were going very well.  Sure we had to adjust to each other again.  But we fell into a natural groove fairly quickly.  Then I got sick!

Thankfully it was only 2 bacterial infections, 2 virsues, and a bad case of dehydration.  I lost 22 LBS in two weeks.  Was off work for 4 weeks with no pay.  We’re getting back on our feet though.  But during this time, my “companion” took care of me and nearly wore herself out.  I was puking every hour or so, hungry in the middle of the night, needed meds I couldn’t swallow.  We made 4 ER visits, the last after I passed out in the bathroom and hit my head.

After that 4th ER visit as I lay in bed, I said sweetly “Well…Looks like I’ll need a live-in nurse.  Will you marry me?”  She said yes.  We did the next week.

Down to the courthouse. (I could barely walk without being winded!)  Then across the street to a wedding chapel.  15 minutes later…we was hitched!  We went to Taco Bell for our wedding dinner where after a 30 minute wait in the drive thru we got the wrong food.  Then we went off to and Antique Outboard Meet in North Webster, IN where we honeymooned with our friends there who threw us an impromtu wedding reception with cake and champaign.

I was still weak, and the guys launched the boats for me.  I had trouble starting the motors.  Even a 5hp Johnson was a challenge.  But we had fun!

Then the grand finale with the “EX”.  I called to let her know I had a rebate check of some kind.  I wanted to do the right thing since it was in both our names, she would need to sign it and we could split the $$.  As I began to explain the situation…she stopped me in my tracks and asked “Why didn’t you at least call me to tell me you were getting remarried?  Didn’t the last 12 years mean anything to you!?!?  CLICK!!!”

That was it. I hate the rudeness of someone hangin up in my ear!  She knows it.  That was the last time I spoke to her.

The answer is yes…the last 12 years meant a lot to me.  But we ended it.  I have to move on.  The marriage will never be over though…for me.  Yes the house is sold.  I remarried.  But I’ll carry the failure of that marriage to my grave.  It is not something I ever thought I’d be part of.  I never entered the marriage lightly…it was a lifetime commitment to me and to her.  But sometimes life gets in the way.  But yes…that 12 years meant something to me.

As time has passed since that conversation I have reconciled much of what went wrong as two people who fell in love and out of love.  We ended it caring about each other, but not enough to be any more civil than we were during time of the marriage.  The marriage could be rough at times.  But I learned a lot…and for that I’m grateful.

So now I’m back to the girl who was my first true-love.  I tell people its because she likes to recycle.  We laugh…a lot.  We enjoy being together.  We do some of the things we used to do, but by and large we are different people today than we were all those 30 years ago.

At some point I’ll no doubt have a post about what it’s like getting back to someone after 30 years…but I’d leave you with a couple of thoughts on topic…

Marriage is a give n take.

It isn’t something to try on like a pair of jeans…and you can return if you don’t like it.

Don’t have an affair…emotional or otherwise until the marriage has ended!

If you can end it on good terms…do so.  But don’t be surprised if someone gets hurt when the other moves on.

And it really would have been easier if we’d hated each other.

I’m no scrubbed angel in the demise of my marriage to be sure, but I will always view it as a failing on my part.  I would add I am presenting my side of this event.  I would never presume to speak for my ex-wife.  She is a good person…and I wish her happiness forever.  Hopefully as much happiness as I have found.