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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

THE DIVORCE

Enough about Shorty for now. It's time to get back to my separation and Divorce from my first wife. She worked nights and I worked days. At that point we began going in separate directions. I went to the bar one evening and my wife's cousin was sitting with two girls. When he seen me come in, he motioned for me to come over. I almost didn't recognize him with the bars dark lighting. I was a little nervous going to a table that had two girls sitting at it, but I figured it was my wife's cousin so why not?
When I got closer to the table, I recognized one of the girls. It was Louise!
I hadn't seen her only once in the past four or five years. The last I had heard she was engaged to my old friend who was in the Army in Germany and she was pregnant. Then I heard he was out drinking and driving one super foggy night, was speeding through town and a car full of Cheerleaders from a neighboring school didn't see the caution light. They ran through it and he broadsided them( T boned) I believe it was three of the cheerleaders that died. And he went to court for vehicular manslaughter. He was only in prison for a few months before being released for a re-trial. His attorney told him if he wanted to stay out of prison, he'd better find a single girl with a child and marry her fast. He needed a ready made family. He found a girl and married her. Meanwhile, Louise was left out and then she lost the baby.
She was more beautiful than ever! I'm sure her fiancee had to realize the great sacrifice he had made to stay out of prison. My wife's cousin asked his girlfriend to dance and left Louise and me at the table alone. I felt very uncomfortable. About that time, my wife's best friend walked into the bar and seen me sitting with Louise. I knew she would run back to my wife with a big story. And run with it she did!
Her best friend managed to get things going. Several nights later I went driving around all night talking and drinking with a couple friends. We stopped at the bar and their sit my wife's cousin and his girlfriend again, plus, Louise. They invited me to sit with them. A while later, my wife walked in and dropped my wedding ring in my glass of beer, said nothing, turned around and walked out.
I spent the rest of the evening dancing with Louise, going out parking with her, and then going with my two friends drinking and driving the rest of the night. When I got home that morning, my cloths were bagged up in trash bags on the back porch. I threw the bags in the back of my pickup and left.Then I drove to a friend of mine house and he told me I could stay there. His wife and him had recently separated.
Seems a shame. We were teenagers trying hard to take on all the responsibilities of adults and raise our family. It seldom works out for teenagers. We were both good people, and we tried hard. I guess we just jumped into it all too fast.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"SHORTY"

It didn't take long to realize Shorty had more personality than most people, and he had his own way of communicating. I guess it would be called "Pony Sign Language." Ears forward meant he was happy. one ear forward and one back meant he was a little displeased. If he was slightly pleased he would quietly whinny. Shorty would fight the bridles bit. He would clinch his teeth together. When the bit finally got past the teeth, he was fine with it. He didn't like the saddles cinch around his belly too tight. When cinching him he would bloat out his belly and I would have to gently knee him until he released the excess air.
Shorty was quick to make Dad and Mom's farm his new home. In fact, we couldn't get him to leave it. We discovered he enjoyed following Dad around behind the tractor. And it seemed to be the only way I could get him to give me a ride. One day Dad was plowing the big field behind the house. He saddled up Shorty and put his bridle on. Dad lifted me up on Shorty's back. I was still only six and my feet wouldn't reach the stirrups.
As Dad plowed, I got a nice pony ride. The fresh plowed ground was a little rough with the sod rolled over into furrows, but Shorty went slow. On occassion he'd put his head down and get a bite of grass that stuck up above the furrows and then he'd continue on. We were on the far side of the field and Shorty discovered a furrow that was only half turned over and had lots of lucious grass sticking out of it. He put his head down and began munching on the delicious grass. He spent quite a while eating on it as Dad and the tractor rolled on ahead. Suddenly, Shorty looked up and realized the tractor was 2/3s the way across the field. It was as though he paniced. He bolted into a full run, as fast as he could go across the plowed ground. I was bouncing from side to side in the saddle, hollering at the top of my voice, "Help Daddy! Help!!"
Dad jumped off the tractor, and just as Shorty reached him, Dad leaped in front of him, waving his arms and yelling, "Whoa Shorty! Whoa!!"
But Shorty didn't Whoa. He didn't even slow down. He zipped around Dad and ran all the way to the barnyard gate and came to an abrupt halt. I had been going from side to side all the way, but when Shorty stopped that suddenly at the  gate, The saddle spun around to his belly with me still holding on tight. Dad came and got me.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

10 Little, 9 Little,8 Little... One Little Indian Boy

I thought it would be a good time to take a break from all the problems and troubles and tell about one of my childhood incidents.. Being born in 1950, by the time I was six years old my imagination was running wild playing Cowboys and Indians. I don't know why, but I seemed to prefer playing Indian. I ran around with no shirt on, war paint, and my Uncle had shot a rooster pheasant that Mom used the feathers to make me a headdress. She put the longest tail feathers in the front and they kind of drooped over.
My Mom had gotten new livingroom furniture, Fifties style of course. She had two, small, glass topped end tables, and a small, glass topped coffee table. With my over-active, Indian imagination, I pictured the couch as a mountain, and the coffee table as a river. I had my rubber tomahawk in hand and decided to jump off the mountain, over the river, and attack the settlers on the other side.
With a Mightly War Whoop I leaped off the mountain. Unfortunately, I didn't  make it over the river, and crashed through Mom's glass top coffee table! Amazingly, I didn't get cut! Mom was in the kitchen and came running when she heard the crash. Within a couple minutes, my rear end was turning into a red skin!!!

I remember begging my parents for a pony. They kept saying no, but I wouldn't give up, and not just any pony, I wanted an Indian pony. It had to be a paint with many spotted colors. My Mom yelled at me to quit teasing for a pony. Of course I didn't listen. They finally caved in to my constant begging and teasing. One day Dad put the stock racks on the pickup and we went after my pony. I was so excited!!!
When we reached the farm he was located on, there he was. He was beautiful.The man had convinced Dad that he was very good with children, He was Shetland and Welch which made him seem a little out of proportion. He had the bigger body of a Welch, and shorter legs of a shetland. The man said his name was Shorty.  Dad paid $210.00 for Shorty, a halter, bridle, and a Cuban made saddle. I didn't realize it back then, I was only 6, but that kind of money was the equivelent of $2000.00 now days!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Marriage Problems

I worked days, my wife worked until midnight. I'd go  home after work and her beautiful sister would feed me and the kids. I started having feelings for her sister and she for me. So I'd leave and go to frriends houses, or the local bar. My wife  would go to Becky and the gangs after work. Becky lived in a new mobile home next to her parents farm house. My wife was late getting home, so I drove out to Becky's a couple different times. They were laughing, drinking, and smoking weed. I couldn't believe it. My wife had always been so dead set against drugs!
December 27, 1971 our second child, Holly,was born. She was another beautiful baby. I believe it was about then that our marriage started falling apart. Money problems seemed to lead from one thing to another. I began drinking heavier and my wife drank some, but mostly enjoyed smoking weed with her friends. As hard as we had tried to live the lives of adults, we began to fail miserably,
While my wife worked the four to midnight shift, I worked the seven to 3:30 day shift. I liked my job. The pay was nothing like G.M.s pay and benefits. Between our two jobs we managed to get by. The problem was that we only seen each other on weekends and more often than not, one of us had to work Saturday. Our marriage slowly began to fall apart.
One evening while she was working, I went to the bar. A friend of mine was sitting at a table with two girls, and he invited me to sit down. We were all sitting there talking and drinking beer when my wife's best friend walked in. She had a very suspicious look in her eyes, and I could tell she couldn't wait to get back to my wife and tell her I was with another woman at the bar.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

December of 1971

It's hard to remember exactly how everything went, but to the best of my recollection, I went to work for an insurance company.I had to be in the office, located in Lansing, which was over twenty miles from home, by 8:00 a.m. in the morning. I had to do my four debits with an old adding machine. We didn't have calculators, or computers in those days. The company did a lot of Direct Mailing back then by mail and magazines. People were asked to mail them in for more information on Life Insurance and Health Insurance. Little did they know they would be greeted at their front door by me, or salesmen like me. And we were taught to put the pressure on with canned speeches. Good thing gas was a lot cheaper back then because I covered three to four counties. How much I made depended on how much guts I had. I sold insurance for almost a year until I couldn't take the pressure anymore. Meanwhile, my wife worked at Burger Chef ( much like McDonalds). We managed to survive, but barely. By the Fall of 1972 we both quit our jobs and decided to move Up North to Alpena. We had friends that lived there, Sandy and Dan. Dan had moved to Charlotte and worked with me at General Motors, but he didn't like the hard work on the Asssembly line, or the heavily populated area. He got homesick for Alpena and they moved back. We contacted them, and they were excited to have us come and stay with them until we got settled up there. I got lucky and was hired into Abitibbe Paneling right away. The pay was comparable to General Motors. We drove back to Charlotte to give all our families the good news!My wife's family took it very hard. They yelled at us and carried on. They didn't want us moving that far away. My father-in-law offered me G.M. wages if we'd stay in Charlotte and I'd work for him in the Furnace and Air-conditioning business. We thought about it and decided it would be the best thing for all concerned. The first couple weeks went well, and then my wife's Dad approached me and informed me he couldn't afford to continue to pay me the high wages. The next thing I knew, I was making $2.50 an hour. I began to get behind on all my bills. My wife was lucky enough to hire into a factory that paid more than I was getting. The only problem was that she worked night shift and I worked days. Plus, her father was quite a drinker and couldn't always afford to pay me. After a while I had to quit him and hired into a Tent Camper Factory. I was still on days and she worked nights. Her sister babysitted for us. Sometimes I was there and sometimes not. Sometimes she came home after work, and sometimes not. She made friends with a girl named Becky and Becky's friends.

Monday, June 25, 2012

WHEN THE DUST SETTLED

I'd given up my good paying G.M. job. I had a wife, a child, one on the way, and Christmas just around the corner. I had house payments, phone bills, car payments, electric bills and everything else that goes with being an adult. And no money coming in.
I felt very anxious and was experiencing panic attacks. I was young but regardless I had taken on all the duties of a father, husband, and a man. No thanks to my fellow workers, I had been teased and taunted until I couldn't take it any more, punched Dennis out, been moved to night shift on a different assembly line and quit.
I had to find another job and do it fast! Just down the street I walked into the Morman Feeds office and applied for a job. They hired me on the spot. The thing I failed to realize was it was a minimum wage job where we worked twelve hours a day unloading box cars filled with bags of heavy feed. We had a couple ten minute brakes per day and a half an hour of unpaid lunch. By the end of the day I was so tired and sore that I could barely walk the two blocks home. I spent most of the evening soaking in a hot tub of water.
I had farmed all my life. I'd thrown very heavy bales of hay around all day on hot days, butI had never worked this hard and steady. I managed to work there the rest of the week before quiting.
Christmas was fast approacing. I had no money, no job, and was getting behind on all my bills. My wife was due anytime for our second child. My first daughter was young enough she didn't miss getting very little for presents.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

THE FEUD

Dennis never spoke or looked my way after he got up and went back to his job. We silently worked as partners the rest of the day. I'm sure he felt my actions were not necessary, and I felt they not only were necessary, but long overdue. In fact, we worked together for the next week, never speaking, or so much as saying goodmorning at the start of the shift or good-bye at the end of the shift. The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
I don't know who made the arrangements, whether it was the Union or Management, or both, or someone else. All I know is they told me I had been bumped to night shift bolting down front seats only on the small car line instead of the big car line. I was on a special job that only people that held my classification could bump me. A man named Chester bumped me and oddly enough he was a dedicated night shifter. I felt I had been set up so they could seperate us,and Dennis had more seniority. I was to report to nights that next Monday. And report to nights I did.
I know I shouldn't have slugged out Dennis, but I had endured his constant picking and torment for as long as I could. And I came to a point where I just snapped! I don't think even with my actions that I deserved to be pulled from my job and placed on night shift on another line.
I was very upset. I hated night shift. After working it for one week and stewing over being moved, I gave the supervisor my weeks notice. When I went on first break, I walked up to him again and told him I was all done. When my break is over he'd better have someone there to cover the job because "I quit." I walked down to the front offices and officialy quit. I carried over my health insurance because my wife was pregnant and due in about a month.