Monday, October 15, 2018


Am overwhelmed as I write down this part of my less than four years I gave birth to three babies, caught my husband cheating, moved to New Mexico, took a painting workshop in Cloudcroft, exhibited my work in public for the first time - and decided I could provide a better life for my children alone!

Except for three little ones making their needs known, the house became very quiet.  I was too surprised to be scared.  Secretly I was hoping the shock would bring him to his senses, he would see the error of his ways, get down on bended knee and beg forgiveness. What was I thinking?  I really didn't want him back!  Now that I think of it, he never did say he was sorry for anything!  If nothing changed, we were headed for a divorce.  Nevertheless I was sworn to absolute secrecy.  He didn't want anyone  to know of the separation, especially his mother. He said he might lose his job and in that case I would get no support from him.  Truth his intention was to support us as little as possible. 

Patti, my babysitter lived across the street.  I told her what was happening.  Her father worked at the State Capitol Building and knew of a lawyer who needed a secretary.  I hadn't worked in an office since John was born and didn't know a plaintiff from a defendant.   Putting on my best face, I applied for the job anyway.  They hired me!  Wow!  McKenna, Sommer & Lawler had offices at La Posada right across from the old hospital. The only hitch is that I didn't have a car and I didn't know how to drive! -- remember, one bite at a time.  Patti's dad agreed to take me to work for a week or two.

The fridge was empty.  What to do? It was a warm summer evening when I got home from work.  I put on my tennis shoes. The twins rode in their red wagon.  Holding John's hand, the four of us paraded two blocks to Piggly Wiggly for some groceries. We did this for about two weeks until it was obvious my neighbor's favors were wearing thin. I needed my own car.

Ernie took me to Dick Hughes Volkswagen on Marquez Place and I bought a 1963 green and white VW Bus for $600!  It had a stick shift.  After I signed the papers, the men showed me what the gears meant by making the sign of the "H" - Aargh!  Then they sent me on my merry way on St. Michael's Drive, right into 5:00 traffic. Why were all those angry drivers honking and waving their fists at me?   I was to follow Ernie, but lost him in the first few blocks, I just kept on grinding gears all the way home!  I still had $400 in my pocket for more groceries and the $250 house payment!  I was terrified and absolutely giddy all at once!

One step at a time, one day at a time.....I was almost too busy to notice that once the decision was made to take responsibility for the four of us, things began to fall into place - more than Doers, we are Deciders!


How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!

WHAT WAS I THINKING?  Truth is I wasn't thinking - I was blinded by rage!  You clueless sonofabitch! How could you threaten your own babies?  I was more than terrified that one day he might lose it and act on his threats! My theory regarding verbal threats, if you say it, you can do it!   The following week I wandered around in a daze.  When I was a child I learned to "numb myself out" in order to escape the threats of violence.   It was really easy for me to not feel anything!   Of course I blamed myself for getting angry - if I hadn't confronted him, life would be a dream wouldn't it?  I began to take stock of my situation and things looked pretty bleak.   Told him I wanted a divorce.  "You are so stupid - you have three children - no man will want you!"  The last thing I wanted was another man!

Here I was - 30 years old, three babies three years of age and under.  I really had no way to make a steady living.  Due to his new car habit, I was never taught to drive lest I harm the car!  Back in my old Polish neighborhood, only "liberated" women drove a car!  I did not know how to drive!!!   

Ernie didn't have any idea what was going on in our house.  He and my husband were best buddies.  With some sculptures which had not sold at the Arts & Crafts Fair, he planned a weekend trip to El Paso to consign that work to Cita Platt's 222 Gallery and invited my husband to go along.  The respite from the tension was a gift - I could have some peace and quiet to think things through.  I didn't have a clue, but I knew I needed to "man up" - put my big girl pants on and put a plan in place to take care of my children.  They deserved better!

That Sunday morning, standing in the middle of the living room,  it was obvious nothing in my marriage would ever get better.. It was an act of futility to keep wishing and hoping he would change.  I was the one who needed to change and take responsibility for my little family!   I knew what I needed to do. Going through the house I gathered up all his belongings- every damned tie, all the expensive pipes and the tweedy sport coats with leather patches at the elbows!.  Much of his guns and expensive fishing gear went into a corner in the garage. I packed everything else in suitcases and put them on the front porch.  When he came home, I told him he was no longer welcome in the house. He needed to leave or I would call the police.  Turning pale, he was too stunned to react.  Picking up his suitcases he quietly drove off with Ernie! 

OMG! What a smart ass! What do I do now?  Once he was gone I felt nine years of "not being good enough" leave my body.  If I got a job and painted to supplement my income.....I had no idea of the path ahead - where to start.  I was really scared!  The next day I put some laundry in the washer, made a pot of soup, put blankets down on the floor in the family room - sat my kidlets in the middle of all their toys and I painted! I still had that $1000 dollars and three beautiful babies!!!  How hard could it be?  I always was a dreamer!


5 December 2019 - Llano Quemado, New Mexico    Snowstorm predicted for today - all hunkered down and ready to hibernate.  The pantry and ...