You know, sometimes things happen and I just have to prostrate myself and kiss the ground I live on and give thanks to the most High that life has been good to me.
I caught up with one of my old high school buddies the other day, and her revelations about what her life has been like over the last 25 years just chilled me to the core.
She got married when she was 20 to a guy who was in the military and they travelled around the country a bit and eventually had three kids together. I was their witness at the courthouse when they got married, begging her until the last second not to marry this guy.
They settled in Florida when he decided to give up the military, and she got hooked up with a large retail outfit.
Over the course of the next few years, her husband sunk deeper and deeper into the bottle, but that was no surprise to me, as he had had a few drunken scenes even before they were married. I remember when he punched her in the face one night and she called the police on him. When he showed up at her little apartment a couple of days later for lunch (mind you, he was still in the military back then) she was waiting for him at the back door with a baseball bat. When he walked in, she gave him a Barry Bonds to the midsection and then one across the shoulders when he collapsed on the floor.
“You’ll never hit me again, will ya tough guy?”
And he didn’t. Not then, cause he barely got away with his life, but he did later. She married him because she thought she loved him and thought he would change. ’Cause you know, he said he would.
Her three children all had some form of a learning disability, her daughter in particular. She never told any of her kids they had disabilities, she just made them work harder. She never gave in to feeling sorry for them or coddling them, she made them work just as hard as she ever did.
When the kids were teenagers, she finally decided she’d had enough of being married to an abusive spouse. At the time they were separated, she took out a restraining order against him. She got a call at work one day from her oldest son, who was 19 at the time, that the dad had gotten into the house. She called the police before her son picked her up from work.
Upon arriving at the house, she found her daughter had suffered a broken nose. At the hand of her father. He was arrested and thrown in jail, but not before the female police officer beat the crap out of him. “Here is your serving of karma for the day, sir…”
That was the day she filed for divorce.
He never paid a dime of child support and never contributed anything toward their living expenses.
She was evicted from the house because he would not pony up, but she managed to find a mobile home to get them all into.
The kids were distraught at the events unfolding in their lives are starting acting out as teenagers will sometimes do.
She put her foot down and told them with no uncertainty that she would not put up with their behavior and that they all had to pitch in to make the family work.
Her oldest son had left school in the 10th grade and had been working steadily from that time, paying his share of the rent. He bought himself a car, paying cash for it. He is now 28, married, and has a 7-year old daughter, and a 10-year old daughter who he adopted. He recently got his GED and is on his way to becoming a police officer.
Her daughter is 25 and engaged to a young man who is also an alcoholic. Her mama said, “That is one marriage that will never take place. I will have her living back with me in a couple of weeks.”
Her daughter had been molested at the age of 15 by a family friend. Mama made sure he went to prison for it. She told the judge, “If he doesn’t go to prison, I promise you, I will kill him.”
The daughter went on to get a certificate for daycare work and bought herself a car, paying cash for it.
The youngest son, now 23, has worn a hearing aid in both ears since he was 4. He had a lot of trouble in his late teens, sniffing gasoline and getting into trouble. The oldest brother took him in hand and straightened him out. The now 23-year-old is gainfully employed and just purchased his own vehicle, with cash, and has his own apartment.
Last month my friend got the boot from the large retailer she had been with for 18 years. She had won numerous awards, got steady pay raises, promotions and was on the next step to the executive level, but knew her lack of a college education would prevent that.
She said she had a gut feeling she was going to lose her job, because she knew they were starting to cut back. All of a sudden, she was getting written up for events that either she had no control over or did not occur at all. She was given her vacation pay and that was it. They didn’t even let her finish out the week. She had even offered to take a demotion, but they couldn’t be bothered. She just wanted to keep her job.
“I was actually planning to retire with them in four years. I could have done four more years standing on my head!”
Apparently she was not the only person this had happened to, and although she is now almost relieved to be done with the company, she still feels like she got the raw end of the deal. She has contacted an attorney to discuss what course of action she may have against the employer.
I wasn’t going to mention who this employer is, but … it starts with a ‘T’ and ends with an ‘arget.’
Aside from this new hiccup in her life, she immediately went out and applied for jobs and has a second interview scheduled at a Babies R Us as a front end manager.
I feel very confident she’ll get the job. College education or not, she is a hard worker and could run a store single-handedly.
Her kids are all on their way to very productive lives, courtesy of their no-nonsense mom.
I asked if she ever saw her ex.
“Oh,” she said matter of factly, “he’s living on the streets. I saw him not too long ago, pushing a shopping cart.”
“Did you speak to him?” I asked.
“No…” she replied, “I stopped my car, pulled out the little bag of trash I had in the back seat, and tossed it into his shopping cart.”
Ahhh … another heapin’ helpin’ of karma….