Thursday, August 24, 2017
20 years ago this week, i escaped a long, scary marriage and ran for my life with my 8 year old son to come to Bowling Green State. It felt like jumping off a cliff, leaving my friends of 16 years, Grand Valley State, where I had taught for 10 years and loved, colleagues, Edward's great Montessori school, his friends, a beautiful Arts and Crafts style house I loved and 38 rose bushes. It was so scary i could barely breathe and my first year in the PhD program, I felt like I was a secret impostor. Ed had the teacher from hell and we had no money. I came out as a lesbian (a good, but scary thing). During those years I went through financial ruin, major depression, 3 major surgeries, a scary divorce, a PhD program, a bunch of side jobs so we could eat, teaching at 2 colleges, living in 1 bedroom apartments for 6 years and sleeping on the couch, buying a house by the skin of my teeth, and searching through couch cushions and coat jackets to pay bills. I don't write this to glorify myself, but to say to any woman out there struggling against mighty odds or dying in a bad marriage, you DO have the strength to get out and start a new life. And I didn't do it alone..I had good therapists, a great sister and her family, met wonderful friends I now couldn't live without, students who have loved and supported me and made me proud, and a younger faculty here who love and respect me. I did a lot of praying. And jumping off that cliff was the best thing I ever did, apart from having my son.
When Ed was about 8, his goldfish George V, died. (Yes, there were 4 earlier and identical ones). He was heartbroken, and came to me saying, "We have to have a funeral for George." I asked what he wanted to do. He wanted a little soft cloth to wrap him in, a little box to put him in and to dig a hole in our garden. I went out to our little patio to dig a hole and he comes out with his trombone. I asked what what we were doing and he said, "Playing taps!" It was all I could do not to laugh, but I didn't because he was serious as a heart attack. So he played taps and we had a ceremony ending with him praying for George to go to heaven.