Posted by: fringe62 | March 1, 2011

The Back Story

In the early 90’s I was having what I guess you could call a mid-life crisis.  I guess I’m cutting my lifespan pretty short by saying that since I was only in my early 30’s.  But, for lack of a better description, that’s what I’ll call it.  After 10+ years of marriage, my now ex-husband and I made better roommates than husband and wife.  We got along really well… maybe too well.  I loved him and he loved me but the passion for each other was gone.  The passion for life was gone.  It was day-to-day and week-to-week survival.  We didn’t really want for anything and had a few toys, but it was a hand-to-mouth existence.

I worked 6 days a week at the Post Office (non-union, non-permanent, hoping to get in job), and he also worked full-time.  We were also very involved in Tae Kwon Do – he at the time was a 3rd degree black belt and I was a 2nd degree black belt.  We had our lessons a ½ hour drive away, twice a week and we also owned and taught at our own school.  That was another ½ hour drive, one-way, another two nights a week.  Weekends were filled with karate tournaments and craft shows where I did chair caning and sold antiques to make some extra money.

Add to that the stress of infertility.  If you’ve never had this problem then nothing you’ve read or heard can prepare you for the reality of not being able to get pregnant.  Infertility was a big issue in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  I couldn’t open any woman’s magazine, any month of the year and not see an article about someone trying, what someone went thru and all the failures and successes.  Don’t get me started on the stupidity of people asking ignorant questions that were none of their business:  “You’ve been married how long and don’t have kids?”  “What’re you waiting for?”  “What’s the matter, D shooting blanks?”

After several years, too many doctors, too many tests, too much money, and the indignity of being poked and prodded then crying for days after getting my period I’d had enough.  We decided that since our insurance wasn’t covering any of these tests and procedures that we were done.  We were not going to mortgage our life away for a child, either ours or adopted.  If it happened, fine.  If not, fine.  Since then there have only been two times I’ve had a ‘can’t catch my breath, panic attack, crying jag, regret’ about that decision.

The first, was 1995 when my sister’s oldest (and my godson) Connor was born.  I spent a week with her and her husband helping to take care of Connor and getting them packed for a move to Singapore.  One night Connor woke up crying and my sister was so exhausted she didn’t hear him.  I got up, changed him, fed him his bottle, and then lay down on the couch with him on my chest.  I gently rubbed his back and listened to his soft breathing as he fell asleep.  As I kissed the top of his head and breathed in that wonderful baby smell, a hot rush of tears ran down my cheeks and I silently sobbed for what should have been.

The second time was 2004.  I was in the hospital and had just found out that I had what they believed to be an ovarian cyst the size of a basketball.  After deciding that I needed immediate surgery I was made to sign a ream of paperwork.  It took me a long time to read thru it all.  The last page said it all.  Depending on what they found when they went in, the doctors had hand-written a whole list of “possibles”.  The last one on the list leapt off of the page.  Possible hysterectomy.  Since before my divorce and thru a few boyfriends I had not been using any kind of birth control.  I know, really dumb move.  I guess I was holding out hope for the “if it happens, fine” part of the equation.  I knew deep down that the outcome of this surgery would more than likely be a “probable hysterectomy”.  My hand shook as I slowly signed the last page and handed it to my mother who was sitting on the edge of my hospital bed.  She looked down over the page, gathered me into her arms and we cried for what we both knew would never be.

So a few years before my divorce, call it stress or a mid-life crisis, either way I started dreaming, (and day-dreaming), about running away.  I didn’t know to where or what, but I just knew that I needed out.  Out of my marriage.  Out of his life.  Out into more of the world than what I was living in.  I would picture myself packing the saddlebags on my motorcycle with a couple spare t-shirts, jeans and underwear, taking some cash, pulling out of the driveway and not looking back.  I just couldn’t.  What would people say.  Nobody in my family had ever been divorced.  He and I had both been raised as Christians.  I confided my wishes to my best friend Anita.   I told her truck-driving was a perfect fit.  “I love to drive, I love to travel.  Why not combine the two and make money doing it?” I’d told her on more than one occasion.  She always told me I was crazy, but then one day after attending a job fair in Harrisburg, she showed up at my house with several trucking company and truck driving school applications she’d picked up for me.

I’ve always been fascinated with big equipment.  Even though I wore pink and played with Barbie dolls, I was a tomboy.  I liked chugging around with my brother and his Tonka trucks in the sandbox.  I had actually thought about truck driving after high school.  But in 1980, there were no schools to learn how to drive a truck.  You would have your father, your brother or maybe an uncle show you, but not if you were a woman.  I didn’t personally know anyone that drove a truck for a living.

I put the paperwork away.  Once in awhile I’d pull it out and look it over again.  I finally filled it out but then put it away again.  One day Anita asked me whether I had heard from any of the companies.  I told her that I hadn’t sent in the applications yet.  She wondered what I was waiting for.  So I mailed them in.  And I heard back from all of them!  They wanted me!  They not only wanted me but two of them were willing to put me through school if I committed to working for them for a year after I graduated!  It was only later that I found out how desperate truck driving companies were for drivers… they wanted anybody they could get.

So early on a cold but sunny morning in January of 1995, I found myself sitting in the cramped back seat of a small Honda driving thru the back streets near the airport in Philadelphia.  The guy driving was in that weeks graduating class and in the passenger seat was a soon-to-be fellow classmate.  I was by myself, three hours from home, and on my way to the first day of four weeks of truck driving school.

 

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Responses

  1. Wow, Heather this is awesome! I really enjoyed reading this…seems like a long time ago!

    Keep going, can’t wait to read more 🙂

  2. Good stories sweetie. Makes me rather sad. Wish I could have eased the heartache.
    Mom

    • Mom, I know you and Dad didn’t want me to learn to drive as I’m sure you saw some of what was coming. I appreciate knowing that I have a family (especially parents) that support me even if they don’t agree with the decisions I make. You knew enough to stand back and watch me fall but were there with a helping hand to pick up the pieces. You’ll never know how much that meant to me. Love you! Heather

  3. I love your blog!! What a great writer you are!! I am so glad to learn more about you with this blog and enjoyed the other ones also. Keep them coming.

    • Thanks Katy. I appreciate all the comments snd feedback I get. There’s plentyore stories on the burners. Even though they’re really rough drafts I try and clean them up a little bit before I put them on here. Even then my sister noticed some grammatical errors. Just trying to het them put of my head and onto paper right now. Thanks again!

  4. Hey Heather…took me a while to get on to reading this, but so glad I did. You really have a lot of talent. Please write more!

    • Thanks Les, I’ve got a couple more coming next week. See you next weekend!


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