Our 3 Marriages and The Cleaning Bug (17) By Edna Merle
September 7th, 2009 I went to see my parole officer. It was the standard monthly visit with the $30.00 fee, urine test and copies of last two weeks of pay stubs. This time it was different because my leg monitor came off. Wow, it’s over, I thought. The leg monitor was no longer part of my fashion statement. Excitedly, I went home and told mom the news. She was ecstatic seeing my bare ankle. I felt so free.
The next parole visit in October granted me permission to live with Jan. He had driven me to my parole appointment and we went from there to mom’s house to tell her that I had permission to move and had in fact already changed the address to Jan’s new house. Jan had previously sold his house in Stone Mountain, GA and moved to “Hooterville” to be near me so I could stay in the county of which I was supervised on parole. He came to Hooterville and found a beautiful house near “The Lake” and quickly set up house and came for me.
Mom seemed like she couldn’t get rid of me fast enough. I was actually hurt by her reaction to the permission granted me. Upon entry into her house I said, “Mom, they said I could move. I gave them the address and everything is transferred to that new address”. She said, “Well, hurry up and get out of here. Do you need me to carry anything”? I was so shocked that she wanted me gone; I barely kept the tears away until her garage door closed behind me. I cried in the car to Jan, I cried when we got to the house. My feelings were devastated. I figured that she’d lived without a boss for the last ten years and my coming home had put such a strain on her with having to drive me everywhere; work, groups, meetings, etc. that she’d just had enough of that responsibility and enough of having her ex con daughter as a roommate. I had criticized her in different areas of our living arrangement. For instance I had a hard time with every surface in her house having many objects on them. If I put my glasses down somewhere, I couldn’t find them until I searched room to room on all the surfaces for them. They were hard to find because I had to look over so much stuff. That frustrated me a lot. It was an almost every day occurrence that I couldn’t find my glasses. We figured that we needed to design a bell that would ring when we pushed a button to find my glasses. You know like they have for remote telephones. Yes, it’s a good idea but right then I needed my glasses and didn’t have the money or the logistics to work out this great new invention. Also, mom didn’t like for me to load her dishwasher. Every time I would clean the kitchen she would come after me and reload it. That also got on my nerves. I tried to understand why things bothered me so much and finally figured it was because in prison, in my cell, I had very few surfaces on which to put things. I had my bed on which nothing could go on during inspection time, which was from 8:00 until 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. I had the top of my locker which had the same time frame restrictions as the bed. I had the inside of my locker which had to also remain inspection ready until the aforementioned time. So, there were no surfaces on which any one thing could stay unless it was after hours or the weekend. As a result my personal property was limited and thus easily locatable.
When I went home I was astounded at all the stuff on every single surface in my mother’s house. There were photos on dressers, desks, walls, side tables and corner tables. There were dishes and pots and pans on the kitchen counters, as well as prescription medications in various rooms, an illegal thing in prison. There were mirrors of every shape and size on every wall in her house. And, there was dust. There was lots of dust on all this stuff. My first thought was, “Oh God, she’s going to fail inspection”! So, I had to help. I couldn’t live that way knowing that it wouldn’t have been permissible in prison. I learned later that I was overwrought with stress that I’d fail inspection and be sent back to prison. It was frustrating and hard for me to change that belief. Lots of stuff makes me feel as if I’m confused and out-of-order. So, I clean a lot when I have the time.
Now I know mom wasn’t happy to get rid of me. It was that she had just gotten me back and I was leaving again. But this time the leaving was in a good way. Mom told us later over dinner one night “Your father would have approved”. She meant of my new husband. Yes, my dad would most definitely like Jan Cordele. I know he likes him now. Well, it’s just a feeling I have.
Anyway even though Jan and I had already shared our parking lot vows claiming our 1stmarriage in the sight of God I felt it wasn’t quite enough and I wasn’t willing to risk God withdrawing from me because I wasn’t being obedient to His word and ”living in sin”. So, we decided we’d visit the Justice of the Peace. We made the date for November 6th and our second marriage was on that date with only my mother as a witness. Jan gave her a plastic steer for my dowry. That’s what mom said she wanted. She also said she’d need chickens for my sister. But she didn’t get any when 3 months later my sister remarried. Nope. Only Jan was obedient there.
For my 2nd wedding I had nothing to wear so I borrowed a black velvet shawl that went over a lacy top I’d been given by my aunt and a full length black velvet skirt. Jan bought me flowers and a corsage. They were beautiful. My shoes were a little too big and because I hadn’t walked in anything but flat shoes for over a decade I wasn’t the most graceful bride. But the skirt was a little too long so I had to wear those shoes. I was happy and terrified that I was truly getting married in a legal way. When I heard the Judge say “till death do you part”, it really hit me that this thing is forever. But that’s what I wanted. Jan and I say now “we’ll be together forever, and a day”.
So we were married that day and that night Jan took me to see Cavalia for our “Honeymoon”. It was a beautiful, strange and very sweet night for us.
The feeling of being married was different. Suddenly at fifty years of age I felt so mature and normal that I almost wanted to say ‘forget it’. I didn’t want to be changed and I didn’t want our relationship to change. But Jan made me feel so comfortable and natural that I began to relax into my new loved role of being a married woman. Wow! I still can’t believe it. I never thought I’d ever marry.
Our family and close friends were highly perturbed that we got married without them. They let us know on every possible occasion that it “just wasn’t right”. So, we decided we’d do it again on May 8th, 2010 at our home. My mother made beef tenderloin, hearts of palm salad, we had shrimp cocktail and fruits and vegetables, pork tenderloin sandwiches, beer, wines, soft drinks and music. That day I felt was truly the day we were really married. That day was my real wedding. We had a friend who performed our service and the weather was perfect. It was a magical day that I’ll never forget. So, that was our 3rdmarriage. And now you know how and why we were married 3 times.
Now we’re coming up on our anniversary and we’re planning another celebration. We figure we’d like to get married every 6 months or so. And whoever is around, well they can come.
Got to close this out for now because I got to go clean the kitchen and get the clothes in the dryer. And one of our cats is demanding to be fed again. He’s a real tub of lard. This cat is addicted to food. He’s going to have to start going to meetings or something. Guess I’ll give him the low down while I’m doing the dishes.
Married life is a soothing thing. I know where I stand now.
2 Responses to Our 3 Marriages and The Cleaning Bug (17) By Edna Merle
- Barbara says:
Me thinks the Mother was treating you as an adult, who had unfortunately missed so much as the years flew by like the falling leaves . Maybe you forgot she was much older now and perhaps so much of her existance had taken a toll on her and she too had collected “dust” as well as the house and those things just weren’t that important any more .
- ednamerle says:
Yes, I did forget she had aged. I hadn’t seen her in over 3 years during which time she endured much grief. I was selfish, I’m sorry. But so elated to be home I didn’t realize how badly she’d suffered until the last year when she shared her trials and her memories and the things she still hopes for. It hurts that I missed so much and could do nothing to help, but was a heartache on her always in the back of her mind, probably feeling undeserved guilt for my errors. God, how I wish I could undo it all! Yet still, I’m a better person today for having gone through it. And through it all she was there for me. My mother has ALWAYS been my best friend. She NEVER let me down. steadfast through hell. My mother is an Angel on Earth and God rewards her mightily for the heart she shares with everyone. To all who read this please thank God for me, for my wonderful mother.