1 - "SHUG"
Part 2 - "SHE MADE HER BED - LET HER SLEEP IN IT"
Part 3 - "TOO WET TO PLOW"
Part 4 - "A HARD ROW TO HOE"
Part 5 - ALL DRESSED UP - FINALLY!
Back to What SDAs NEED to Know
Mother had insisted that she could take Tammi to school with her and it would be no trouble to babysit her for me. I was ambivalent. But I had to get my life together, find a job, provide a home for the kids, and paying a baby-sitter would be difficult. Never would I give her up. But she was one of Mother's grandchildren, and could be enjoyed as any grandchild would be.
Two things happened, immediately after Bryan left. Mother said it was time for me to get out and find a job and a place to live, and the children told me that Leo was instructing Tammi to call him "Daddy."
I had wanted to wait till the weekend was past to go job hunting. Instead, I quit the medication, fixed myself up, and went to the State Employment Agency. There was an opening at a home building concern for someone to keep the office when the salesmen were out, answer the phone and do some light typing. I was interviewed and hired. The boss, an Ed Asner look alike, had shifty eyes. I was nervous about working "in the world", but was determined to do a good job. I settled in at work, and soon I could easily do what little was required of me.
I had gone to see Mac right away on my return. We had been like sisters, since we were in the dormitory together. She was concerned when she saw the dry, leathery look of my skin, and at my obvious emotional state. She listened, as always with patience to my problems.
"Why don't you live here with me?" she asked. She had a small three bedroom home. It would crowd her, but it would give me a chance to get started and out on my own. I was still hoping for a quick settlement of some sort with either Bryan or the General Conference from the sale of our things. So I went home and told Mother and Leo that we would be moving.
"You will let us babysit Tammi for you, won't you?" She will be well cared for at school. She'll enjoy playing with the first graders. I can see that she has plenty to do. You've got so much on your mind, so much to do, and you can't afford to pay a baby sitter for her." It sounded reasonable. I would have her weekends, and see her every morning before school. And it wouldn't be long until I had my own place, had them all together all the time, and a job which would permit a baby-sitter. So I let my baby stay when we moved in with Mac, and I never, never, should have done that. If it could have been just grandparently babysitting that would have been fine. But it didn't turn out that way.
My job was in walking distance from Mac's house, so lack of a car was not holding me back on that score. But we were dependent on Mac to go to church, to the store, everywhere. Leo found an old Buick for me, one I could pay out in six months. I immediately took the three children to Petit Jean Mountain - Mother and Leo had something planned and they wanted Tammi. We had a great time on the famous mountain, visiting the grave of Petit Jean, the little French girl who masqueraded as a boy so she could be a soldier. When she took deathly sick, they discovered that she was, indeed, a girl. The panorama looking out from the mountain is exhilarating. We drove all around, seeing the sights, then started home. The car quit. Dead. Finished. First time out! Some kind fellow came along and helped me get it started. We got home, but I was a mess from the strain.
The Buick kept stopping on me all that week, and Leo got tired of coming to get me started, so I took it back to the dealer and told him I just didn't want it. Leo's feelings were hurt, and I was sorry, but what could I do? A car that is all trouble is worse than no car at all.
Mother wanted to help my brother out of a financial squeeze, so she bought his '59 Plymouth Fury and gave it to me. It was a blessing for which we both owe her. And was it some machine! I could pass anything on the highway in that car!
I went to see Attorney Short. He listened to my story and asked questions. He couldn't understand how the Church should have anything to say about if, how, or why I obtained a divorce. But it was necessary for me to get a divorce on the grounds of adultery if I were to remain in "good and regular standing" with the Only True Church. I told him I couldn't prove adultery, although I had suspected it on a number of occasions, and I felt there were other things as bad as adultery.
"You've got to face the fact, Pat, that it is going to be your word against his, and from what you've told me, he has already accused you of the things you say he's guilty of." I nodded my head. He was right, of course. I was despondent.
"Listen, Pat. Why don't you forget about what the church thinks. Those people weren't there. They aren't going to take care of you and the kids. The State of Arkansas married you, and the State of Arkansas is going to set you free. The church has nothing to do with it." How often I have wished I had listened to him. Then I would not have suffered at the hands of that church as I did in the years to come.
He advised me to get my divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences and be done with it, so that is the way it was filed.
* * * * * *
Bryan's former Conference President, Elder Lauda, who had been considering taking us on in the Northern conference, called me from Memphis, where he had come on business. He said he was coming down to visit with me, would I see him? He would be late evening arriving. I got the children to bed, and told Mac I would like her to stay with me, but she said she would stay in the back with the door open. "That way you'll have a witness if you should ever need one and he will feel freer if he doesn't know I'm here." Mother insisted on being present, too.
Elder Lauda was aghast at the story I told.
"Pat, get your divorce on the grounds your attorney advised. No need to spread all that filth around. I can assure you that I will not be hiring him, and neither will anyone else. Just get on with your life." He prayed with me that God would bless and care for me and the children. I know that he was sincere, but with that and fifty cents, as we used to say, one could buy a cup of coffee!
I was learning about life at my new job. One of the insurance salesmen who came in regularly would sit and talk with me while he was waiting for the boss to return from wherever. He immediately asked if I would date a married man. I assured him I would not. He sat and told me stories of all the lonely housewives who welcomed him into their beds while their husband were at work. I was never sure if he was bragging or telling the truth.
One day after I had been there less than a month, a bouncy girl came into the office. She was welcomed by the boss as someone he knew well. He got up from behind his desk and closed the door between us. They spoke in lowered voices so I couldn't hear what they were saying. After awhile she left, and I thought no more of it.
That weekend, a friend of the boss who worked at an automobile body shop, asked if I would like to go to his church's homecoming that weekend. Stanley was single, and, I thought, a Christian, so I said yes, I would enjoy that. We went first to pick up his mother, a genteel and friendly person. It turned out that either the homecoming had been postponed or Stanley had confused the date, I don't remember, but we had a nice time, lunching and visiting with his mother, and walking on her property down a hill and along a little stream out in the Arkansas country - as far as I could in dress shoes. It was a pleasant afternoon. On the way back in to Little Rock we had been visiting about this and that. As the conversation lulled, Stanley reached over and took my hand.
"Pat, you are a good girl. I wish I could ask you to date me, but you are a Christian and I never can be again."
"Why ever not?" I asked.
"I've done something I can never make right." I argued that no sin is unforgivable, but he was adamant. It must be a terribly hopeless feeling.
The following week when my first month was up, the boss came into the office and stood there looking at me a moment.
"Pat, are you a Christian?" he queried.
"Yes, I am." I replied. He went out, but later in the day he came back.
"You know that girl that was here last Friday?"
"I noticed her, yes."
"Well, she has worked here before, and since she knows the job so well, I just thought I might put her back on. I'm sorry." He looked embarrassed, and walked out. He handed me my check as I left, and I wondered what was going on. It didn't feel right. I knew that I had done the job well. However, I didn't have much time to mull over that.
What was I going to do now?
April 26, 1963
Dear Elder Coldheart:
I was advised by Elder Pascoe (General Conference Treasurer) that $2500.00 that had been sent on to Washington from Beirut had been turned over to Bryan before my letter arrived. It was on the advice of Elder Pascoe that I wrote about it, and I hoped perhaps I could obtain a portion of it at least.
Today my attorney has advised me to write you and ask that for the sake of my children would you please send the money that is in Tehran to me? It is very difficult for him to understand Bryan's actions. His attorney has refused service, at Bryan's request, so there is nothing I can do if he gets all the money and possessions.
I think the money for our things is certainly as much mine and the children's as it is his. He has had a settlement from the General Conference plus $2500.00, so he is far better provided for than we. You see how he is carrying out his threats? He even wrote Blenden's and told them not to settle an account of less than $20.00 with me.
I received a letter from Coldheart telling me Bryan had informed him that I had kicked him out and stripped him of his bank account and turned him out penniless. I couldn't see how our account was Coldheart's business, but I was polite.
"Perhaps I should give you some additional facts. From the $200.00 which Brother Bergain brought out to us the night before we left, I paid all the expenses - hotel for six, meals, taxis, etc. Before Bryan left Little Rock he asked for $20.00 which I gave him. Regarding the money my mother withdrew, I had asked her to do so. Surely you are aware that our account included the salary I earned while teaching. I was afraid I wouldn't get any more. We had no summer clothes. I had to buy everything for the boys: suits, shirts, and shoes; Patti and I had to have dresses. Tammi's suitcase didn't get on the plane so we had to buy her everything.
"The children and I were so frightened that night in New York when Bryan struck me and knocked me down, that I had a restraining order issued after I got to Little Rock. I had to pay costs for that.
"I pay $60.00 per month rent, $60.00 to $70.00 a month for food, $28.00 per month for church school tuition, and gasoline when I use my mother's or my brother's car. For years he has accused me of liking other men - men I was not even aware of. There were a couple in Shiraz - while he had a female tennis companion he would sometimes ship a Farsi lesson to play with - and he has mentioned [and I named two other men in the Tehran Church], and an Embassy man, among others. If a man even opened a car door for me, that was enough to get him started.
" He had a lot to say to me about Beth. I don't expect you to believe this, Elder Coldheart, but he once told me he thought your wife was "sweet on" him. This man is sick in his thinking processes - dangerously so. Then, at my lowest point, when I was sick, he hurt us all again. ....I don't know what all he told you while he was locked up in the office with you and Elder Wilcox when none of you would even let me in, but I'm sure it was more of the same."
How the Church Brethren love to sit in judgment over their subjects! Especially if one is female. When your people fall down, stomp'em!
I asked Elder Coldheart, I begged him, rather, to at least let me have my accordion. Bryan had sold the piano before we left, and of course I would never see any of the money. The accordion and organ were not sold yet.
* * * * * *
I enrolled in a business course to enable me to get a better paying job, keeping in touch with the nice lady at the State Employment Agency. She called me after only three weeks. Mother had been happy with the straight "A"s I was making. The lady said, "Pat, there is a job at the Highway Department. Why don't you come down and take the test? It's mostly typing, and it only requires forty correct words per minute."
I wasn't a great typist. I hunted and pecked fairly rapidly, but not that correctly. I worked out on Mac's typewriter and went down and took the test. A man interviewed me, asked a few questions such as what would I do if I had a sick child. Would I come to work? I told him frankly that it would depend on the severity of the illness. In a life threatening situation, of course, my child would come first. We talked a little more. He said the State preferred to hire single mothers because they needed the job badly enough to protect it.
Then I took the typing test. I was nervous. Later as I watched him check it, I could see, even looking at the sheet upside down from across his desk, that he didn't count all the mistakes. I didn't mention them, because he counted enough to be the limit of allowed mistakes! He said,
"Never mind. You will be typing figures anyway, and everyone has to learn to do that, since normal typing seldom uses figures." I got the job.
I tried to go places with the children as often as we could. The Plymouth made that possible. We especially loved the trips to Lake Ouachita (pronounced wash ih tah). My now grown children still bring their kids here. It's a magnificent lake. One weekend I picked Tammi up and we all had a wonderful time. While we were gone Leo came by Mac's house and demanded,
"Where's Pat? Where's that baby?"
"They went to the lake. They're not back yet."
"Well, there's going to be hell to pay if she doesn't get that baby back."
If there had been a competition to see who could get into the most trouble in the shortest time period, I would have won. I was not happy when Mac told me about that.
"She's my baby. What's the big deal?" I should have figured out a way to get a sitter for little Sam right then and there. But I couldn't buck Mother and Leo. Always the pushover. I saw Tammi often, and she cried for me every time I left her. She got good care, lots of love, pretty clothes, toys and training. But a mother cannot be replaced.
* * * * * *
One day the paper had big headlines: CAR THEFT RING CAUGHT. I scarcely breathed as I read that my former boss, his secretary who replaced me, Stanley, and three others were all sent to jail! Thank you, God, for getting me fired!
* * * * * *
I was having a lot of problems. My stomach was some better, and I was beginning to eat, but my skin had gone crazy. A rash would start on my forearms and travel, literally, while we watched, up my arms and onto my back and down. I finally went to the doctor.
"Damn!" he swore. "I'll be damned! I've never seen anything like it in my life," he said, as he watched the rash crawl up my arm and down my back. He had nothing to offer in the way of help. He asked about my personal life.
"I think you need to forget your husband and that church and find you a decent man and start living. There really are some good ones out there." Thanks for nothing, Doc! He couldn't understand that I didn't dare leave the Only True Church.
A letter from Mrs. Blenden, May 25, listed the items they had kept and the expenses involved with handling our things. The balance due us was $5.25. Bryan had told them not to send even that small amount to me.
"Even though you requested that we keep the balance for ourselves, we feel better to send you the above mentioned check. If you feel as though you owe us something for caring for your things, just remember all the clothes you gave us before leaving and the incidentals in the line of food stuffs, besides all the medicine. We feel more than repaid. [Bryan had been upset that I had given, rather than sold them, some small things.] Right now we are financially blessed and you are having a hard time getting any of the money from things sold. Because of it, I have a suggestion to make to you. Why don't you asked for the money from the things yet unsold? He might grant that request because of the uncertainty of what he'll get out of it. Further, it will help us sell the things more quickly since you are more reasonable to deal with financially and would agree to come down on some prices that are too high to sell. The main item left is yours - the organ."
She quoted from a letter Bryan had written them:
"'Pat has already gotten her attorney and is suing for divorce. As far as I feel now, nothing could please me more. At first she wanted me to take the baby off her hands. Now she is holding her for a $2000.00 settlement. [Brother!] However, I think we can work things out without giving her anything.'
"I have no more recent news from him, but Coldheart has heard from him. Apparently he is now in Washington trying to hold his job."
She reported on some of my former piano students and closed with,
"I'm glad that you have a nice friend with whom to stay and that you are back in your own element with music. [I was playing at the church quite a lot.] I'm sure all your home folk really appreciate hearing your musicianship again. We all miss your music here. We had never had a musician like you out here in our ranks before."
* * * * * *
It was about this time I received a letter from friends in Florida asking whether Bryan and I had reconciled, as he and a young woman were present in a sister church over the weekend. The couple were asked to stand as the minister introduced them as Elder and Mrs. Bryan Dulane, returned missionaries from Iran. I wrote back, assuring them that not only had I not reconciled, I had not left the State of Arkansas. Mac mentioned it to another friend in the church who said,
"Of course. Larry B. was there that Sabbath, in the audience. It happened, all right. He didn't know who the girl was. Thought Dulane had already remarried."
It seems that he was traveling with one of the secretaries from the General Conference Office. One of the "brethren" later told me she lost her job over that little trip.
My attorney asked me to draw up a list entailing what I considered a sufficient settlement. I requested:
* * * * * *
Bryan made a tape recording and passed it around to several of the "brethren". It was given to some of our friends who had returned to the States.
"Pat, you have never heard anything so filthy in your life. It is positively sickening. I'm glad you're out of that." He had kept his word: he had accused me of everything with which I had charged him. Thank goodness, my friends were not so cruel as to send me a copy of the tape.
* * * * * *
Laurie got a summer job on a peach farm, where he worked during the week, and I picked him up on Fridays. Jerry did odd jobs for Mother and Leo. They learned early that there was only one way to have money: Work.
* * * * * *
Letters arrived from friends in Iran. One day I got a letter from Andrew. He was concerned with our well being.
"I'm coming. It will take me a little while, but please wait for me." I wrote several times, carefully worded letters. I wished he could come, hoped he would. But I never heard from him again. Years later, one of the girls who came to the States said Andrew didn't know why I didn't answer his letters. When I told her that I answered the only one I received, she said he wrote me many times. I knew then that the Mission had had his letters intercepted. It was not hard to do in Iran. When we first arrived there we were told to be careful what we wrote, as they were often censored. As I sit here writing this, listening to Ravel's "Pavanne for a Dead Princess," I feel a great sadness for a young man whose life was scarred by an ambitious, ruthless tyrant. Whether the "brethren" approved or not, what right had they to interfere, to obtrude themselves into his destiny?
* * * * * *
My worldly education began at the Arkansas Highway Department of Materials and Tests! There were five of us females in the front - the boss's secretary and four clerk-typists, and one female chemist back in the laboratory with thirty or forty chemists, plus inspectors, plus district engineers who were in and out, and a multitude of helpers in the field. There were six engineers in the front offices with us. I was the youngest woman, by quite a few years. The file clerk, about the age of my younger brother, was hired two weeks before I came along. Maurice Tillery, a Missionary Baptist, and I, a Seventh-day Adventist, found a refuge in each other's company at coffee break and at noon, since we were both lost in the company of all those guys and dolls. Maurice played for a little country church. He invited me out and I would play the piano while he played the little spinet organ. My, how the people sang! And when they wanted some real "gettin' down" gospel music, that boy could fairly beat it out! I started in right then encouraging him to go for a higher education. It was a number of years before he was able to do it, but he is a hard worker. Eventually, through many hardships, he got his degree with a major in organ. Now he plays Bach, Dupre, and all that good stuff on the church organ, teaches school music, both choir and band - and can still beat out that "gettin' down" gospel music!.
* * * * * *
One of the chemists came up to the front office one day, and was talking to the woman behind me.
"Look at that new girl's eyes!" he said, grinning at me.
"So? she asked.
"She has bedroom eyes, doesn't she?" She grinned at my discomfort.
"Yes, I think she does." I was embarrassed. Had I been flattered or insulted? The next day Madeline, the female chemist from the lab, invited me to have coffee break with her.
"Duke loves your eyes. He says you have bedroom eyes."
"Whatever that means."
"It means that your eyes are exciting. Outstanding. Could be sexy. He said you should get rid of a lot of eyebrow and let your eyes be dominant rather than your eyebrows."
So Madeline started a remake job on me. All the attention was a strange, but rather exhilarating experience for me. I was eager to please. I wanted to be liked. Neither my mother nor my husband had ever complimented me. Mother didn't want me to become vain, and Bryan - I don't know why he never handed me any bouquets. So I relished the kudos from my new friends. I played the best piano - that was a natural; I worked to be the best and fastest typist; I sewed late at night to dress the best, and I starved myself to look the best. Madeline took me places with her to introduce me to "living", and they all brought me little gifts and recommended places to go and things to do with the children. Altogether they showed more concern with my situation than did the church people, some of whom were cautious about even being seen with me, since divorce was approaching the unpardonable sin, and they didn't want to be tarnished.
* * * * * *
June 19, 1963, to Coldheart:
I would like to have my organ and accordion. According to Elder Pascoe when the divorce is finalized Bryan is no longer head of house and any further money can be sent to me. The divorce had been ready for the final signing for several weeks, but we are waiting for a settlement."
My attorney was pushing for child support. He said over the coming years child support would be more important to me than any remaining money from the sale of our stuff.
Coldheart had said he "had no information that you folk were heading into divorce proceedings."
I answered him that I couldn't understand how he could say that "as I begged you and Elder Wilcox to let me come home early so that I could get my children into the State where he couldn't take or molest them. I don't know why you folks couldn't understand what I said, in plain English, the first time Elder Wilcox came over to see us. I told him and you both, together, that I wanted to return home, and I wanted the mobile home and just enough money to get started. I told you that I simply could not live with him any longer. That is exactly as it was, and is. Had you folk listened to me, and believed me, things could have been different for the children and me." Coldheart would not believe that Miss Beth had figured into the picture at all.
"Sometime when you are in Shiraz ask Jane whether I mentioned any of these problems - including Beth - to her at Christmas time." I went on to tell him about the brags Bryan made of "getting her in five minutes", and so on. Boy, did that put the fat in the fire. He apparently shared the letter with Beth, as I received a letter from her which was so scorching I practically had to cool it before I read it.
I authorized Elder Coldheart to send our things to me, on my attorney's advice. "Try everything," Mr. Short had advised.
A friend who stopped in Little Rock on the way West said she had just visited with one of Bryan's former conference Presidents. He told her the only thing that surprised him about the entire situation was that Bryan had kept his job and his family as long as he had. He sent his sympathies to me, and offered a personal recommendation should I need it. But I was weaning myself. It would take nearly eighteen years to prove to myself that the church to which I had given my life was not the Only True Church - but the education process had begun!
I received a telegram one day asking me to return a check which Elder Pascoe had sent me. It seems the legal advisors of the General Conference told them they must not let me have anything until the divorce was final. Elder Pascoe assured me the money would be held and sent to me through proper legal channels. So I returned their check numbered 55502 in the amount of $600.00.
June 28, 1963, to Elder Pascoe:
"We are in close financial straits. My attorney has tried with every known legal resource to get constructive service on Bryan so that he would at least pay child support. However, now that he is anxious to be free we may be able to get a settlement simply by holding off on the divorce, which I am doing."
July 9, 1963, to the Treasurer of the Middle East Division:
"Elder Pascoe suggested that I write to you concerning the $600.00 that has been held in guarantee for our baby Tammi. I don't know what it is or why, but I would like to inform you that we have received her immigration card, and she is just as secure as any of the natural born children. The State of Arkansas protects her equally with the others.
"If you send the money on to the General Conference I may never see it, for Mr. Dulane has received everything so far, and has sent us not one cent. You may feel free to release it, for no power on earth would cause me to give her up. Elder F. responded that, although he was extremely sympathetic, the matter was not in his hands. Because of the legal involvement there is nothing we can do here except to follow the instructions of the General Conference. They have specifically advised us to release no funds unless authorized by them.
"Now concerning the $600.00 held for Tammi. You see Elder Coldheart had to sign for the Iranian government that in case the authorities asked for the child to be returned to its home country within a period of a year the organization would provide the expense of this return journey. Inasmuch as the organization had to vouch for this possible expense it is only fair that we withhold the amount of money that would approximate the cost of an air ticket plus the expense of a hostess, for they would not send a child alone at that age without the special attention of the air company."
He explained that sometimes to retain friendly relations with a country they send adoptees or emigres back.
"So we shall be compelled to withhold these funds until the expiration of this period.
The money was never offered to me. I was notified some time later that the $600.00 had been sent to Bryan with the rest of what came from the sale of our belongings.
* * * * * *
My dearly beloved Mama Miles was visiting Mother.
"My Sweet," as she called me, "if I buy the gas will you drive me to El Dorado? I'd like to see the old places down there." She didn't say, One more time, but that is what I heard.
"Sure, Mama. It will be fun." So we drove down and saw the little towns of Smackover and Norphlet, the old bawdy house Daddy had "converted" and the tiny farm it sat on. Then we drove to the last place she lived in Arkansas. It was a nice, though long, day. We stopped in to see Ione - dear Ione - who had been my only playmate for three years of my life! We visited a while, and she got me off to the side on some pretext.
"My! She is a beautiful old lady, Pat." I agreed completely.
* * * * * *
Friends from the general Conference informed me that Elder Parker (Remember? The preacher of the story Arlene told in San Antonio?), who until recently headed a department of the General Conferences and writes some of the International Sabbath School Lessons, as well as editing one of the Church's periodicals, had informed a committee that I was just doing a publicity stunt, and that the committee had subsequently absolved Bryan of all responsibility connected with our return and separation.
However, on July 1, 1963 in a letter from Elder Figuhr, the General Conference President at that time, I was told:
"You may have heard that the brethren here have advised against re-employment of your husband."
Early in June I received a letter from a friend in Shiraz who was really upset because one of the Ham operators there had overheard Bryan talking over the air, "saying things," she said, "which should never be said over the radio. A lot of people heard besides the person he was talking to." He said he was out of the ministry and back in the States because his wife had fallen in love with an Iranian "native", and implied that she had had a baby with him. The word "native" was strongly disliked by those people, as it conjured up pictures of semi-naked men waving spears.
Still trying to obtain some funds nearly four months after our arrival at home, I was told that the $2000.00 from the sale of the Mercedes Benz, plus other funds, all labeled "Dulane Account" were forwarded to Bryan. Since the divorce was not final they would go to him as head of household. I wanted to get the divorce immediately and fight for some of the money, but my attorney was far more concerned about the child support than he was in the lump sum amount. He said it would soon be gone, but I had four children to raise and educate, and a monthly check would be very important to me. Bryan was trying to get a divorce without child support, but Mr. Short said even if it were only a small amount, having it in the contract, solidified by the court, I could request an increase in the amount as needed.
A letter from Elder F. in the Middle Eastern Division closed thusly: "We felt it was extremely unfortunate that Mr. Dulane broadcast any of the personal problems. Certainly this could not help the situation. One always regrets seeing a home disintegrate. And especially is sad when there are children involved. It seems to be the mother who pays the double penalty."
On July 12 Elder Pascoe wrote:
"As I have mentioned to you over the telephone the General Conference decided recently to make a final settlement with your husband and at the same time it was decided to give you a special allowance of $450.00. We are sending you a check for this amount with this letter. We feel sure that this special allowance will be helpful to you under the present circumstances. I am also enclosing a check for $325.00 being rehabilitation allowance for yourself and the children as voted by the General Conference.
The two treasurers were the most sympathetic, most reasonable, and most Christian, if you ask me, than all the rest put together. I guess, because they dealt in figures, they knew I couldn't support the children on the prayers and best wishes of all those other preachers. I'm sure it was on their recommendations that the men at headquarters sent me money from the welfare funds, as Elder Pascoe informed me.
Bryan had received $2500.00 from the sale of our cars plus an additional $660.00 which had come in. They had sent me $600.00 plus $1110.00 for further educational purposes. His savings account in Texas amounted to $1390.00.
On July 22 Mr. Short received a letter received from Bryan's attorney:
"Enclosed is a copy of a letter received from Mr. Dulane setting out his proposal for the divorce. If your client concludes to decline this offer please let me know and I will close my file."
Bryan's letter, dated July 14, was enclosed, in which he said:
"I am tired of playing their game. My circumstances have changed since I contacted you. I had already decided that if they didn't accept these terms, that I was going to do some changing myself. Since I have been down here [he was in Central America for three weeks] the Mission has asked me to take over the direction of the school here. This job brings all the beans and rice I can eat, a place to live, but no established salary. At the present time I am working without salary, and my plans are to stay here indefinitely, no doubt for some years.
"There was a time that a divorce would have helped me maintain my work, but that time is past. Now, it doesn't make any difference. If they wish to withdraw it, please return the $600.00 check to me, plus the $150.00 that I sent to her attorney.
"I will make this offer only for the next two weeks if they want to get this thing out of the road.
"1. I will not release the trailer under any conditions. I will pay the expenses of putting it down there for the use of the children and send $25.00 a month to maintain it. If I release it to them, they can immediately sell it, so I will not give them the title. It can be used by the children until majority. The loan company will not let her take it, as I have the master signature.
"2. There will be no additional child support as I have no income. Even the $25.00 will be hard for me to send. If she feels that she can't support the children, I will be happy to accept them all here, and give them everything they need. [It is laughable that he could never send money for their support, but if I would send the children to him, he could give them everything they needed!]
3. I will still agree to give the $850.00 settlement.
4. I will deliver her personal goods from Iran when the divorce is completed. I will not return to the U.S. until that time, but the instructions are to turn them over to no one but myself. She can't touch them, and I won't until and unless this is finished. I was planning to return to the U.S. the last of this month to finish up this business, send her things from Iran, and make arrangements for the trailer to be moved down if she wants to accept it. But if they don't accept, here is my next offer.
Since they have repeatedly refused to accept the $850.00 I will withdraw that offer, and from then on it will be only $450.00. I will need to save all I can not having a regular income, and there is nothing they can do to get any more. I don't even have to send that, but I agreed with headquarters to send that much. But outside of that, I have no other obligation, and I now have the rest of the money under my control. So you don't need to stutter when you tell them it is this or nothing. And it won't even be this unless they want to get this thing over within two weeks. Since I will not be living in the U.S., I doubt there is much they could do if I said I wouldn't give them anything. That is about what I will offer next time.
"Please return the checks to me if they do not finish this thing in the next two weeks."
I never knew what happened in Central America that turned his "some years" there into three weeks.
Mr. Short gave me a copy of Bryan's letter, and I made copies and sent them to Elders Pascoe, Wilcox and Elder F. I wanted them to see his attitude. $450.00 of the money he mentioned was a check from the General Conference which they had sent in good faith that he would give it to me. But when Elder Pascoe realized that Bryan was holding a check made out to me to force a divorce without a child support agreement, he stopped payment on it and mailed it directly to me. He also told me that if I would send him a court order for the trunks of household effects, he would honor it even though Washington D.C. would not be bound by an Arkansas order, and send the trunk on to me.
Now I was able to pay Mac what I owed her in rent. Also, I needed a piano. I went to one of the piano stores, picked out an inexpensive piano, and was waiting to fill out the papers when the salesman - a tall, handsome blond - said not to worry about doing it now, he was coming out our way and would stop in and fill them out at our home. Later, I found out it was his modus operandi whenever an attractive woman came into the store, and he was looking for an excuse to get to know her better. But the laugh was on him, I thought, as I remembered all my children and Mac sitting around with me as I gave him the credit information he needed and the down payment check!
It was a real joy and comfort to have a piano again. I bought three Roger Williams piano books - lovely arrangements of some of the romantic melodies - and a bit of classical which I didn't have, to hold me until my music arrived.
* * * * * *
About that time Mac paddled Patti. Patti needed it, but I could see that it was time for me to start running my own show. With a relatively small amount down I could get us a nice two bedroom mobile home with a payment only a couple of dollars a month more than what I was paying Mac for so graciously and patiently sharing her house with us. I had been thinking along these lines, but waiting till the divorce was final. Now I decided to go ahead and take the leap. Mac went with me to look at the trailers. We found a man who would take a chance on me - with no credit history - and I paid down on an attractive home and had it set up in a rural park on the highway toward Mother's house.
We had a home! It worked well after school started, as Mother could just drop the kids off on her way home from the church school. I got home an hour and a half later.
The kids were good. Each day I left them a job list for after school. I ran across one the other day that looks like a Monday list, after a loafing weekend:
- Pick up through house
- Sweep through
- Mop kitchen
- Clean off and straighten tops of everything
- Practice piano
- Fix Supper
- Wash, iron shirts
NO CARS - NO TV
* * * * * *
The grapevine told us that Bryan was back in the States. He was reported to be in Pennsylvania, and I knew where he would be in that area. Mr. Short wanted to get "service" on him.
"We've got to serve papers on him to get him to sign the settlement with child support included," he said. He told me to get on the phone and find him.
"What on earth would I say to him, since I can't stand the man? I asked, and he replied that I should tell him that the kids needed clothes for school.
"That wouldn't be a lie. Just get on the phone and call collect until you find him." We didn't have a phone yet so I went out to Mother's.
I found him on the first call. I knew if he was in Pennsylvania he would be at Dr. Oldstream's. He didn't accept the collect charges, but I talked to him anyway, keeping things cool. I had a strong sense that Oldstream was on an extension. I was right. Because of his influence I received a letter out of character with the letters we had been getting through the attorneys, the letter to the Blendens, and others.
On August 21, 1963:
"Hello, dear, Thank you for calling last night. I have been thinking a lot of you and the children since our conversation, and also have talked several hours to our dear mutual friend Rush, who I feel can help us solve or resolve the situation as the best case may be for the children."
He gave me a financial statement. He had bought a new Karmann Ghia with the money from the sale of the Benz. "And," he said, "I had living expenses, car insurance and other things that I needed, so that explains where that money went." La-dee-dah! Who didn't have living expenses, car insurance and other needed things times five!
"I am not working for pay at the present. I have been given permission to work around the Institute here for my room and board, and have ended up paying for my board. My main work, though without pay, has been and always will be the ministry. I have never been busier in my life. I have five services over the next Sabbath, for example.
"Very naturally, I miss you and the children greatly. I want to look at this thing as objectively as possible, and have had to depend on the eyes of some who could understand things from a prospective of a little distance, namely, Rush.
After again assuring me that he had no way to send a monthly payment, he said:
"I do have a beautiful little cabin called Honeymoon Lodge overlooking the valley.
I do not know how long I will be here. We have a tentative plan that will include two more revivals, and two campaigns. They have told me that any pulpits in the conference were open to me. I gave the Desire of Ages program at Philadelphia, and am slated to give it in September at one of the Denomination's largest churches. Sure wish I had you to play for me. There is just no one who can do what you can do with music, as far as I am concerned. [How about that - after fifteen years?]
"Wouldn't I be proud to announce to the world (and that is what it would be) that the organist for our program this evening was my own dear wife, Pat Dulane. Incidentally, if you would like to talk to me anytime, call collect and I'll accept the charges."
"I would like for you to have a good car. They have a lot of Cadillacs floating around here at very reasonable prices. If you are interested in coming at any time, perhaps we could find you something that we could pay for, and you could drive it back."
"Let me know what you think would be a fair settlement with what I have. I want the children to have what they need, and will help them to get it as I am able."
"Tell the children that I love them, and would like so much to see them. But however much I love them, be sure I love you more. I am available at any time that you want or need me. Yours, Bryan."
August 24, 1963
I received your letter requesting me to state my wishes. You know I have always tried to be fair, and will continue to do so.
You indicated in your letter that you had agreed to send $75.00 monthly plus one-third of the amount for which we sold our stuff in Iran. Bryan, I am very much aware of what we have been worth. However, I will agree to a settlement of $850.00 cash.
After telling him what the children needed in the way of clothes, I continued:
The combined tuition for all three is $28.00 per month plus $30.00 per year book rental. It costs to feed growing children, to put a roof over their heads, and to get them back and forth to school.
Our boys' bikes at the moment are quite a touchy subject. You promised them the money to replace them and they are now asking why we can't afford bikes. I'm sure you'd make them happy with some good second-hand bikes.
You indicated that the money in your Texas account was a loan to your mom's corporation. Anyone can see that this was a maneuver to put it somewhere for Bryan Dulane's safekeeping. You said that you have had living expenses, and have not lived extravagantly on $5320.00. Can you imagine us living on less than a third of that amount for the same length of time? On two occasions, once your attorney and in your letter of August 21, you state that you are not working for pay - just for your room and board. Don't you think anyone can see through that? It disappoints me to hear of people who do things like that, and especially to have one as the father of my children.
Undated, from Bryan to his attorney, in late August:
Dear Mr. Allen,
I am enclosing the copy of the decree that I have signed. In order to get this thing going I have made the change by writing what I agreed to . [He had marked out the $75.00 monthly child support, and put "$25.00". He also offered $750.00 settlement for me rather than $850.00.]
She has ruined my possibility of employment in my field for the present and I cannot sign anything that I do not know I can fulfil.
I am enclosing a check for $1050.00 which represents the $750.00 settlement that I agreed on, plus $300.00 which represents the $25.00 a month for the first year. This will not complicate me legally in event that I am not able to meet the payments she is asking for. However, I will be sending direct to her, if you suggest that procedure, additional support, as I feel at the present time she will need it. Perhaps I can maintain the $75.00 a month, and will endeavor to do so, but right now, I am not in position to accept this as a legal obligation.
So - no check, no divorce.
Our society has finally come to the realization that when a couple divorces, the wife's and the children's lifestyles drop drastically, and the husband's improves. My take-home pay was $193.00 per month, the trailer payment was $56.00, the parking rent was $20.00, piano payment was $19.00. There was tuition, gasoline, car insurance, electricity and telephone, regularly, in addition to the emergencies and incidentals. Gas and water were furnished. Then there was food. Mother told me to feed the children and let something else go, if it came down to a choice. Even in 1963 it wasn't possible to make those ends meet. Sometimes we would collect bottles down the sides of the highway, or other places, to add to the grocery funds. Mother decided to take over my piano payment, and that was a real help.
* * * * * *
I rented a little trailer so the boys and I could move the piano and the other things we had collected since our return into our new mobile home. I pulled up to the pump at the Caldwell station to fill the car with gas, and a truck pulled in front of me before I was finished. I was going to have to back that trailer! As I climbed behind the wheel I saw three guys stop talking and watch, grinning. Well, luckily, I fooled them! I took it slow and easy, backing the trailer into an exact 90 degree angle to the car, then pulled right out onto the road. The boys and I loaded the piano onto the trailer, plus our boxes and suitcases. I bought bunk beds for the boys, a bed for the girls in the back bedroom, and a hide-a-bed for the living room where I would sleep; chests of drawers and table and chairs for the dining area, all second-hand, all lifted, loaded, hauled, lifted out and carried in by my sons and me.
Elder Pascoe honored my court order and had the trunks sent on to us. I did not know what I would find, as I didn't know what all had been sold and what had been sent. There were no dishes. There was a six place setting of stainless steel flatware, and three cooking pans. My heavy-duty Sunbeam mixer, Osterizer, two pressure cookers - all had been sold. The dishes, the children's bicycles and other toys, Patti's porcelain manger scene figures, were all gone. I did get some sheets back, but no bedspreads or curtains. I had packed my records, music, and books, so we had those. Bryan had promised, when we were leaving, that I would have the money from the sale of our goods to replace them. Well, I had fought for and received some money. Not being accustomed to handling the finances I made some mistakes, but did pretty good in the long run. It's never easy starting from scratch with four children, even with a good income.
Well, we did get us a home going. I bought some Melmac dishes and glasses. I made some curtains with fabric off the remnant counter. Blankets could serve as bedspreads for awhile.
I packed Bryan's things into one of the trunks. The old black light illustrations, along with the ones I had made, were in bad condition, the folding and rubbing of the movement in several moves had messed up a lot of the paint. The black lights, were badly broken up, one completely ruined. I put the trunks, including the one labeled "Radio", in a storage building on my brother's place temporarily, as I had no room for it all.
On August the thirty-first, the Holtons, whom Bryan and I had been instrumental in bringing "into the truth" years before, came to see the children and me. I had felt it prudent to keep our exact location to ourselves for awhile, and had been using a post office box since returning to Arkansas, so I gave the Holton's Mother's address and met them there. They were nice enough, as they had loved us both, but I knew there were stronger ties between Bryan and Ed. The visit was pleasant, if not entirely satisfactory for either party.
* * * * * *
We were really enjoying having our own home! We walked a lot, batted a few balls;
I drove the trailer park drive, counting the circuits, until I had marked a mile with the speedometer. Then we knew when we had walked a mile, which I usually did every day.
On Monday, the ninth of September, my attorney called.
"You ready to go to court?"
He told me that Bryan had finally sent the check, in the amount of $900.00.
He said there should be another one for $150.00 shortly, which would fulfill a year's support.
"Let's go ahead," he said. "We've got his signature for child support now."
So on the 10th of September I was legally divorced from a fifteen year fiasco. Four super kids and "a hard row to hoe", as Daddy would have said, was what I had to show for it.
"You can file for more child support any time you want, now," Mr. Short said. "Forty dollars per month per child, plus medical insurance and medical bills is considered adequate support."
I was relieved and fatigued. One the way home I stopped for gas at the Caldwell station where I had been trading since I had moved the trailer out that direction.
"Have you had a good day?" the man who always filled my tank asked. "You look tired." How astute of him! He had curly, prematurely gray hair, and the bluest eyes you ever saw.
"Yes, I am. My divorce was finalized today. It's been rough."
"I sympathize," he replied in a soft Southern voice. "I've been through it."
I headed on out for home, forgetting the conversation. Friday evening I stopped in for gas again, to be sure I wouldn't have a need over the Sabbath and not be able to buy any. My car was treated like a royal limousine. I got all the little extra treatments - oil checked and windshield wiped - the latter taking a good bit longer than necessary!
* * * * * *
Maurice wanted me to come to his little rural church's homecoming. Mac, the children, and two little girlfriends of the boys came along. Mac and I played, Maurice and I played, Mac and Maurice played. We sang, and the congregation sang - how they sang! And everyone had a great time. The food was fantastic! It was but the first of many visits to the little church.
I wanted my organ and accordion. The chances were good that I would never be able to replace them. Jack Parnell, Mother's friend who sent me to Mr. Short, called.
"Pat, I'm flying a couple out to Maryland. Why don't you call the General Conference and have someone come out to the airport and sit down with him face to face and make a plea for your instruments? I'll set you down at the airport and pick you up again in about an hour and a half."
What would we do without friends? It sounded like a super idea. I called Elder Pascoe and he agreed to meet me at the terminal. I didn't have much in the way of clothes, so I went shopping and bought a black wool knit suit. I though it really looked good on me.
Mother was always afraid for our reputations, and didn't want me to be alone with any man, but especially with a friend and church member. We were leaving Sabbath after church. Most Adventists wouldn't travel on Sabbath in those days, and Mother wouldn't have, but she was more concerned about me returning alone in the plane with Jack than she was about my possible Sabbath-breaking!
"Are you going to behave yourself with my daughter?" she demanded. Jack thought that was hilarious.
"Don't laugh at me. Do I have your word of honor that you will be a gentleman?"
"I'm always a gentleman," he chuckled.
We were all four going to stay the night with Jack's parents in Charlotte, North Carolina. We had had to fly around a few thunderheads., and it rained on us most of the way. As we descended into Charlotte the fog was so thick Jack had zero visibility, but he said never mind, he had instruments. So he set his instruments and dropped lower and lower. I was beginning to feel really uneasy. Suddenly, exactly 100 feet beneath us, the lights of the runway came up through the fog. I started breathing again, and Jack just smiled. The couple in the back hadn't made a peep during the entire landing. After we arrived at his father's home, I was relating how Jack had made such a great landing. He looked at me and said, in a much-too-offhanded manner, "That was my first instrument landing. I wasn't about to tell you 'til it was all over." Oh, well. All's well that ends well!
Next day we went on to Washington, D.C.. Elder Pascoe kept his word and met me. We visited for a half hour or so, and , as I had hoped, the personal contact helped. He agreed to have the instruments shipped on to me. He also told me that Bryan regularly went up and down the halls of the General Conference Building, stopping in at every office to tell his sad story until everyone was tired of it.
We didn't stop at Charlotte on the way back. I enjoyed looking down on my country. The mountains were two-toned, one side still green and the other already dressed in their fall colors.
We had to refuel in Nashville. As we were dropping lower preparatory to landing, I observed how lovely Nashville was at night from the air, the streets outlined with lights as they twined and climbed, touched with just a bit of haze - an artist could never do what the night did for Nashville.
Jack was busy with the plane from there on. Once he looked over at me and said, "I wish your mother could see this. How she could think any hanky-panky could go on up here is more than I can figure!" We laughed.
* * * * * *
We stayed busy. School and its extra-curricular activities for the three school-aged children; church, which had always had priority; my job, eight to five, learning to deal with teenage sons; making some real mistakes for which I've had to apologize, but mostly, enjoying the children and having good times with them.
Now that I was free I was finding it interesting to date, and discovered more polite and considerate men than I was accustomed to, and with a cleaner mouth than my preacher ex. If they wanted more than a social good time I let them know they could call someone else next time! The man at the service station was working up courage to ask me out - I could tell - and I didn't discourage him. He seemed to be a real old-fashion Southern gentleman, and I could handle that!
The boys went to help their grandparents quite often, carrying firewood, cleaning the acreage, helping with bulletin boards in Mother's room at the school. They were really good kids, and had the respect of their teachers as well as the church leaders and everyone they came in contact with.
* * * * * *
Coldheart would not release our church letters, so the board recommended that the boys and I be taken into the church on professions of faith. They acted on their decision, and we were brought into the church in time for the nominating committee to put me in as Young People's Leader. It was an easy job, as my sons were old enough to be involved in all the activities and were very much desired by the young ladies of their age group. This show of confidence by the church lifted my spirits, and I got into my new church job with energy. All the young people were enthusiastically accepting assignments.
One day several months later the pastor asked me to come to his office. The Conference President and Treasurer were standing there.
"Please, sit down, Pat," the pastor invited. I sat, wondering what was coming. The president started.
"Bryan requested his church letter, and they wouldn't send it. When he found out you had a church letter here, he must have gotten pretty upset. He has complained, and Elder Coldheart is unhappy about it, too."
I moved to the edge of my chair.
"What we want you to do, Pat - now it's just a formality, don't be angry - what we want you to do is to request the church board to rescind its action in accepting you and the boys on profession of faith, and let your letters come through the regular channels along with Bryan's."
I stood to my feet, livid. Christians are said to be the only species which shoot their wounded. As Danny says, if someone's down, stomp him! I was down, wounded, and couldn't take any more stomping.
"Can't he just let us alone? Hasn't he done enough to us? How long do I have to put up with his harassment?" I was in tears by now, and happened to notice that the Treasurer, over in the corner of the office, had a tear rolling down his cheek. Some fifteen years later I had a chance to do something for his son, and was happy to do it in remembrance of a sympathetic tear.
I told them to just do whatever they wanted to, and I left by the outside door, not even going through the church. Actually, the pastor never presented the subject to the church board, but he didn't tell me. He should have told me.
The next time I was in the building - the kids' school was in the back of the building - the pastor asked me how I was doing.
"I'm doing alright," I said shortly.
"Now, Pat, you know the Bible says you must pray for your enemies. You must learn to pray for Bryan, you know."
"I'll tell you what," I said evenly, "You pray for Bryan and I'll pray for the kids and me."
There was always that big problem: where do you go from the Only True Church? For a while my answer was "Nowhere", as I got the kids to school and to church, but I would plead the need to rest or some such excuse.
* * * * * *
Bryan had promised the boys a motor scooter when they were thirteen. So when he sent the second $150.00 which he said was the balance of a first year's child support of $25.00 per month, he wrote the check to Laurie and told him he could get a motor scooter with it!
"I'm trying to understand your motive in writing your check for child support and sending it to Laurie for a motor scooter. Please don't excite the boys unless you are serious. You did tell them you would get them a scooter when they were thirteen, and you promised them the money from their bikes. But don't try to mix it all up with child support. I asked you to send at least tuition - $28.00 and the $30.00 book fee. My grandmother has been sending Jerry's tuition, but she has just had a mastectomy and is not expected to live. She cannot be expected to continue sending us money.
"You don't need to send messages to the children through others. You know their address, and stamps are only eight cents. Nor do you need to whine to everyone that you can't see them. The court has given you 'reasonable visiting privileges' which the court itself will protect for you as long as you can visit without creating a scene or upsetting the household."
October 15, 1963
I told the General Conference that they could let you have the organ and the accordion if you would agree to all the expenses in connection with them, including the paying off of the accordion. I saw Elder Pascoe and he said that you had agreed to do that. If you now do not feel able, I have made arrangements with Mr. Freed to return the accordion for the balance owed. You can do it either way. If you want it, you must send $180.00 in advance to the General Conference to pay this off. If you cannot afford it, I will take care of things from there. I am sending a check so that you will not have any embarrassment about the tuition.
According to the records for the court, I have now sent child support for nineteen months.
His own statement in the Brownsville court was that he sent a total of $300.00 in September and $25.00 in October. Go figure....
* * * * * *
On November 5, Laurie got the typical letter from his Daddy:
"I have been very busy. The Lord has blessed our work here more than at any place I have ever been. We have absolutely so much visiting to do that we cannot even get around to half of it. We asked if possibly the Conference could send us a Bible Worker. We are going night and day. We baptized six Sabbath and have another baptism for this Sabbath. '
After much more of the same, telling Laurie that he preached four times last Sabbath, he suggested again that he take the last child support money and pay down on a scooter. Then he says,
"I would be happy to get you a good V W under the following circumstances: if you and Mother would agree to turn Tammi over to me officially."
* * * * * *
I attended a workshop for parents one Sabbath afternoon. A professor from the college at Keene was at the church. I was interested in several things he had to say. For instance, "All men are beasts and all women dumb." A couple of us ladies jumped right to our feet.
"Wait a minute, ladies. I don't mean `dumb' as related to intelligence. I mean as relates to understanding the nature of a man, and how to live with him!"
Another thing he said was that fathers are objective, and mothers are not. A mother will say, My child wouldn't do that! But a dad will say, Yeah, that sounds like something my kid would do.
I thought about that a lot. I was going to have to be mother and father, so I'd better start figuring it all out. I had to learn to be a little tougher.
* * * * * *
Christmas was coming and I didn't have enough money to give four children a big Christmas. So I went to Otasco and applied for credit. They accepted me, and I was able to get presents for them all. Mac was a member of an organization where one could buy at wholesale. She took me to look at portable record changers, and I picked out a Motorola. It didn't have the quality of sound our big console, sold in Iran, had, but we could play our records now! I was really missing the music. Mac gave me a Carman Cavellero and a Liberace record for Christmas. Madeline gave me my first Bert Kaempfert recording. It was the first time Patti had ever heard a muted trumpet. She listened a minute or two and looked at me seriously.
"Mommie, that's dirty!" I had to agree, but secretly I loved it!
Nineteen-sixty-four started out with a marvelous snowfall, ten inches in our area, and the temperature stayed below freezing three days, so we had a ball playing on the highway while the cars couldn't travel. Some winters we don't get enough snow to play in.
Laurie found a red heart-shaped doily and made a Valentine for me. Inside it said:
TO: my dear mother
For: A happy valentines day
Just a note of appreciation to you for not getting rid of us
and taking care of us so good.
Laurie was supposed to have become a Doctor of Letters so he could sign his name, LLD, LLD! He was good with letters, though. Notes on Valentines, too!
* * * * * *
Reciprocal action in Pennsylvania awarded the children $100.00 per month. Bryan had told the boys he had a job.
March 6, 1964
I was wondering if you would like to commence sending the support that the Pennsylvania court awarded the children? Wouldn't it be better for you to start now than to have to go through the court proceedings and pay the costs of another court order?
We have not even begun to replace all the items of ours (including bikes) which you sold in Iran, and for which you promised the money for replacements. I cannot tell you how badly the children need your help. In exchange you may win their respect, which I think you will some day desire.
* * * * * *
The grapevine had it that Bryan was dating a divorcee in Pennsylvania and that he had gone to court with her in her endeavor to collect her alimony and child support. Interesting, yes?
Well, as a result of my latest action, Bryan left Pennsylvania where the Lord was "blessing our work more than any place I have ever been," where the visitation was "so much that we cannot possibly get around to it," and moved to Maryland. Someone told me where he was, and I entered action there.
He wrote the Arkansas court on March 11:
"I have already sent $25.00 a month in advance, and $75.00 additional for February will cover the amount requested. I am willing and happy to help the children when I have employment. However, the job that I have will perhaps last only 6 weeks more, and I do not have a thing in sight after that. I am working for a small hospital, but due to lack of sufficient patients, they announced that it is very probable that the hospital will close the last of April. The checks I have gotten so far have always been quite late due to lack of funds to cover the salary of the workers. I have applied for many jobs, even going to the employment agency. However, any responsible position for a divorced man is almost impossible to find. Nevertheless, if we get our checks, I will be able to help out for a few weeks at least. Past then, I don't know what will open up for employment."
He left the state the day before the Maryland court date.
* * * * * *
Bryan did not know that I had bought a mobile home. He still thought I wanted the trailer in South Carolina. I did have the title, however, as it was among the papers which were packed in the trunks. He said he did not need the radio now, but that if I would send him the title to the trailer, signed over to him, he would pay off the accordion. So I signed the title and mailed it to him. Since Elder Pascoe had been in on the negotiations, and Bryan so desperately wanted back in the ministry, I felt confident that he would pay off my accordion. That was all I would realize from the sale of the trailer.If we had been settled here in the States at the time of our separation I could have managed much easier. But having to replace practically everything we had owned, not having a home to be awarded me by the State, no car, and growing children to clothe as well as feed - it was rough!
Bryan also wanted the black light material, the typewriter, and other items. And there was the usual complaint that neither he nor his mother could see the children. I was tired of it.
I told him the condition of the black lights and other equipment.
"The typewriter didn't come home. Surely you knew that. I sent your personal things except for the radio, and I have your letter stating that you didn't need it, for me to sell it if I wanted to. I have not as yet sold it. I'm sending title to the trailer. Seems like part of what you get from it as well as the land should come to us.
"The children all know that the court has given you visiting privileges."
I assured him that his mother was welcome to visit the children. I did, however, stipulate that someone, Mac, or Mother, or I, would be present. That didn't go over well, but he was constantly asking me to send them out of the State for visits. Mr. Short told me of a client he had at that very time, whose children had been taken out of Arkansas by a family member other than a parent, and the mother was forced to go through all kinds of legal hassle to try to get them back, not to mention the agony of waiting. And she did not have them back yet.
"I just wouldn't let 'em out of my sight if I were you," he said.
* * * * * *
I had answered the angry letter I received from Beth some time back. I really felt sorry for her if she were innocent, and if she weren't, I still had sympathy for her, as the man had scarred more than one life. I asked Mac to read the letter before I mailed it. Her comment was,
"Pat, that is the kind of letter someone should have written you from over there last year."
Coldheart wrote, expressing disbelief that Bryan had ever mentioned Beth, among other insinuations, and anger that my church had reinstated me.
On May 4, 1964 I responded:
"Dear Elder Coldheart: I don't know where to start, and that is exactly what I do not want to do - start again. This thing is dead as far as I am concerned. I just do not want to get into it again.
We have suffered enough this past year. I have adjusted to this situation in which I must realize that there will always be some who are influenced one way and some another, and plenty on both sides to talk about it. I was terribly hurt at first, and desperately tried to have my say. Except for Elder Wilcox, I was not believed by you brethren. He seemed to realize that I was sick and discouraged, and he was a kind Christian gentleman , at least to my face. I had to be brought to the realization that all this commotion was seriously impairing my health. I am trying to forget the past. [Believe me, one can do this. I had forgotten a lot of things these letters are bringing back!]
"Please let this be understood: I am no longer Bryan Dulane's wife. Therefore, it is not necessary to dive into the matter at all, anymore."
I told him I felt like they were picking an old sore. I assured him that Bryan had written Mother letters which indicated he was involved with Beth, but that I would not be tricked into another situation where they could, "by techniques usually known only to lawyers, out-talk me and distort the truth."
"Please understand my situation. I do not wish to dig this thing up again. To me it is a closed subject. If for you it is a matter of clearing Bryan, I have nothing to say on that, either. We have a life to build. And we are making progress. We don't want to wallow in the mire of fifteen miserable, wasted years, nor do we want to suffocate in self-pity. We want to live unmolested, and without the constant friction that comes with letters like the one from Beth."
I really had no responsibility to answer and try to smooth what he said or did. But I pitied the girl.
I have seen others in the same boat over the same man, and I have been there, too, more than anyone else. I gave him more than any man should expect from a wife, including the best years of my youth. I gave all I could, and I stopped giving. It's over. I have nothing whatsoever to do with him in any way with the exception of trying to make him help support the children. The State which married me to him has granted me an absolute divorce, and that is that.
I have never, before or after my marriage, before or after my divorce, conducted myself in any manner which would give him the right or reason to divorce me or re-marry, either by the standards of the Church or State.
It is so necessary to the Only True Church to prove actual adultery. Anything else, intimate fondling, admitting adulterous thoughts, not caring properly for one's spouse - those don't count as unfaithfulness. Only the completed sexual act counts.
* * * * * *
I was dating Will, the blue-eyed service station attendant, from time to time. It turned out that it was just an interim job. He was a draftsman and an excellent guitarist. In fact, he had played at the Grand Ole Oprey for two years, then with Bob Wills for a couple of years. It was interesting, us trying to understand each other's music. One of his friends asked him if his girl friend played an instrument.
"Man," he bragged, "she can read stuff that looks like somebody threw an ink-bottle at it!"
But, as with most classical musicians, I didn't know what to do with country music. I started listening and trying to learn something about the artists. I could easily handle Leon McAuliffe, as well as Ray Price singing "Where's That Place Called Lonely Street?". I thought I lived on that street! And I liked everything Jim Reeves did. But some of the nasal, twangy stuff I just never learned to appreciate. That goes for the distorted singing of a lot of contemporary "Christian" singers today. I turn on a quality Bible teacher coming in off our dish, and am offended by the grating, screeching sounds the singers are squeezing and forcing out of their throats as offerings to the Creator of that mechanism which was designed to produce clear, beautiful music to His glory!
One of the younger engineers at the Highway Department came over occasionally. His grandma, to whom he was devoted, was a Seventh-day Adventist. We had some interesting conversations.
* * * * * * *
But, even though life was interesting, the last year had taken its toll. I was tired all the time, and pushing myself to do anything, work or fun, and having some physical problems. The imperative that only in the works-oriented, perfectionistic Only True Church could one find salvation kept me in that gossiping, accusing, unforgiving community. I didn't give departure a thought. I just tried to hang on. But there were times, especially when I was on antihistamines for my allergies, when I felt like I just couldn't make it. I should have slowed down a little. I took all my sick days, but often worked all day on the house or stayed with a sick child. Many nights I would stay up until well after midnight sewing, so that my little family could dress as well as anyone else in the church.
One day at a church gathering someone told me Bryan was saying that I had borne a child by an Iranian man, and that was his grounds for divorce and re-entry into the ministry. I was dumb-struck. I looked around for Mac, bless her, and told her what I had heard. "Tammi was born before we ever got to Iran. I can prove it!"
Mac smiled at my distress.
"Pat, you had a hysterectomy in 1958. Remember?" Goodness! How upset can one get! Still, it was humiliating to think that Seventh-day Adventists around the world would hear such a thing and believe it of me. All "God's people" thinking I had committed adultery and borne my little girl out of wedlock! I could hardly handle it.
One day I was trying to walk it off, and stopped on a little bridge. I leaned on the rail, looking down into the water. It wasn't deep enough to commit suicide in, but I wondered, as I watched the current, what it would like. I wouldn't choose drowning (I'm scared to death of deep water!), but I was so tired of the long fight with Bryan, and all the looks, innuendoes, and gossip which surrounded me. If only I had known that I needn't stay in that organization to have eternal life! It probably would have added years to my life, and certainly would have added life to my years!
But suicide was out of the question. There were four wonderful kids who depended on me. I couldn't do that to them.
* * * * * *
One of the engineers talked me into going out with him one night. He said he knew where there was a great band, and we could dance.
"I don't know how to dance," I said, regretfully.
"Don't worry about that," he laughed. "I'll teach you!"
So we went out on the Old Conway Highway to a dark little dive. There was a small band, all black musicians, and they played quality 20's, 30's, and 40's songs. I was on cloud nine. Nat knew how to lead, so I danced!
"I thought you didn't know how to dance," he accused.
"I don't," I insisted. "I've done my own thing at home all my life, but I've never done any ballroom dancing."
"Well, you couldn't prove it by me."
"I'm afraid I sometimes try to lead, and do my own thing."
"Go right ahead. I'd follow you anywhere!" We had a great time, dancing the night away. Nat's cousin had come along at the last minute. I had tried to find another girl to accompany us, but it was too late. I hated the cigarette smoke that filled the air, and I hated the smell of the beer they both drank as I sipped Dr. Pepper, but the music was intoxicating, the dancing exciting! I was whirled and twirled, and we got lots of attention. Three o'clock the place closed, and we had to leave. The three of us went back into town where we ordered a huge breakfast. Finally I went home, exhausted, but not so depressed anymore.
* * * * * *
When I went out at night I always waited to leave home until after supper and spending some time with the children, usually having worship with them and getting Patti, and Sam, too, when she was with us, to bed. Then I called them from wherever I was, giving them the phone number, and calling them every 30 or 40 minutes. I thought that if I went on week nights when they couldn't go anyway, saving the weekends for them, that I was doing ok. Nat and I danced several more times during the next months, but I never stayed out that late again.
The boys discovered KAAY - The Mighty Ten-ninety - which boomed out for thousands of miles every night. They enjoyed the songs of their times: "Blue Velvet", "It's My Party", "Blue On Blue". Jerry built quite a collection of free 45 rpm records by being the first to call in to the station after the signal. He worked out a procedure. "Doc Holiday" talked directly to him over the radio:
"Now, Jerry, it's not fair to dial all but the last number and let it go just as the signal sounds. C'mon Jerry, give somebody else a chance."
Then there was the KAAY Turtle Derby. On August the thirteenth Jerry entered a terrapin in the race - and won! State-wide radio and television announced that Jerry Dulane's turtle had won the derby! But when Doc Holiday picked Jerry up and took him and his turtle to the State contest, the stupid turtle wouldn't budge! On, well. Asi es la vida!
I was always on the look-out for a better paying job. I answered an ad at Timex. They immediately gave me an examination for position of supervisor. The pay would be considerably more than I was making.
"No Saturday work?" I asked.
"Only rarely. Once in a while we have work to catch up."
By now you know that I couldn't even consider that job. Later, I answered another ad, not knowing what I was answering. I had no idea what a distributing company distributes. The company was advertising for a front office girl. I was sure I could do the job, and they were, too. But the Only True Church would have had to disfellowship me for working at a business which sells alcoholic beverages.
"Pat," the manager said, "You would never see a drop of it. You would answer the phone and do our paper work. We'd really like to have you." I had to say "no" to an extra $100.00 a month in income.
One evening after work Madeline called.
"Get your duds on, kid. I've got two gorgeous men, and I need someone to go with us." They were the principal and coach of one of the area high schools. Nice looking, clean looking men. I had told Madeline that no way would I date a married man, so I thought the guys, at least one of them, would be single. They took me to the County Line Club. I told Laurie where I was - not far from the trailer park - and we sat and talked, they with their beer and I with a Coke, as the club had no Dr. Pepper. I couldn't believe my eyes when Mother's husband, Leo came in.
"Come out to the car, Pat. Your mother wants to talk to you." Did she ever! I really caught it. Mother thought I was in a real sin-house. She had found out where I was from Laurie and wanted to tell me that Mama Miles' cancer had recurred, and was inoperable. I had been pretty sure of it, and was terribly saddened. But Mother somehow connected it with me being at the County Line Club.
"Your Grandmother is dying, and you here at a place like that! I don't know how you can do it!" She let me go, and they went home. I told Laurie later, that, although I didn't want him to lie, he didn't have to tell anyone where I was from then on. I would always let them know, but we would have to keep our business to ourselves. The kids all understood, and our little family drew closer.
Madeline and her guy got in their car and said,
"Follow us!" We followed them out a little country road and into a mining area. They parked a little bit away from us, and the war began. I finally convinced the gentleman (?) that I wasn't going to play his game, and we just visited. He then admitted that he was married, and I explained that I had no idea or I wouldn't have been along.
"I told Madeline not to tell you. She said you were such a super girl, I thought I might be able to convince you to like me if you didn't know I was married." Later she told me that he asked about me every time he saw her after that. What in the world is the matter with the guys? If he had been giving his wife half the attention he was trying to give me they would probably have had a great marriage.
Another time she invited me along.
"He's not married, Pat. He's divorced." I tried one last time. No, he wasn't married, and it didn't take long to figure why. He was a drunk. The evening started out all right. Madeline and her new friend got lost in the back of the house, and Leroy and I were left to our own devices. He apparently was not interested in books, music, dancing or intelligent conversation. It was an evening to endure. So we sat in the kitchen and he drank and drank. I would probably have been safe at any rate! When the others came back in I said,
"Ready to go home?"
"Yeah, we are." As we headed for Madeline's car I said to her, "Why don't you two get cozy in the back and let me drive?"
"Great!" her date yelled. I had some concern about getting home safely, and since I was the only one who had not been drinking, I could get me home safely!
As I was driving along the highway, the lush sitting by me ran his hand up my skirt. Without a second's thought I swung around and "knocked the tar" out of him. The car swerved, and the two in the back jumped up.
"What happened? What happened?"
"Nothing. Just dodging an animal." Madeline married her man. That was my last blind date.
* * * * * *
Son Laurie had a poem published in the Denomination's weekly Junior Guide and we were all very proud of him even though he didn't seem overly excited about it.
* * * * * *
My instruments arrived from Iran in June. The accordion was in good condition but the organ had some broken keys. It was worth the price of getting it fixed to have them both with me.
* * * * * *
Undated, from Bryan:
"I am sending the money this month for child support. I am sending you the tithe with it so you can tithe it there if you care to. I will do this hereafter. [He could save 10% that way!]
"I would like to make arrangements to spend 10 days with the children at a friend's ranch in southern Missouri. They have some very fine children, a lot of place to play, many horses, and we can go camping and canoeing near by. If you are going to expect reasonable support, you are also going to have to agree to reasonable visiting privileges. I haven't seen the children for a long time and I feel this is reasonable. I would like to see all four of them, and alone.
"I hope you accept this reasonable request. I will care for all their expenses by bus.
"Let me know what to expect so I will know what to do in the future. If it is necessary to go to court, I am going to request the equivalent of one day a week, which is reasonable."
He closed by asking for the ham radio.
* * * * * *
One of the engineers at work did a lot of electronic puttering in his spare time, and I asked him to stop by and appraise the radio for me. I thought maybe I could sell it and get the family a TV. Wes stopped by one day after work, and we opened the trunk. He looked in.
"Pat, this thing is broken all to pieces." I leaned over and looked. It was badly battered. Glass from broken tubes was everywhere. I guess Wes could see how disappointed I was. He pulled through the mess for a minute or two.
"I'll tell you what. There are some usable parts here. I have an old black and white TV - it's big and bulky, but has a good picture. I'll let you have it for these parts, and I'll probably find some use for them here and there."
That was fine with me. Now we could enjoy Bonanza, Gunsmoke and my favorite, The Iron Horse. Something about Dale Robertson reminded me of my dad. The twinkle in his eye, I guess.
I had sent Bryan all of his personal things. I had not sent the broken black lights which were absolutely no good; the radio, which he had once told me I could sell; and I had not sent the "Spirit of Prophecy" books, those Ellen White books with all the rules and regulations in them. I had to have those to raise my children correctly! Since I was the one raising the children, I had kept them. Bryan had gone to Pascoe with his complaint. So I had to write Elder Pascoe and explain all of that to him. I closed:
"The children will not be permitted to leave the State. They are settling down now. All of their grades have risen this year. They have stood at the head of their classes, children to be proud of. Everyone loves them, both in and outside the church."
* * * * * *
I attended two concerts at Robinson Auditorium that year. The first one was Liberace. He was flamboyant and funny, and I enjoyed him. Jack and his wife were personal friends of "Lee", as they called him, and they took me backstage to meet him and get his name on a brand new dollar bill. A silver certificate, no less, which I still have.
Some time later Roger Williams performed there. I found him to be 100% musician, pleasant, and accompanied by a really neat rhythm group. Afterward he had time to discuss music and teaching with me, and seemed genuine in his interest. He didn't have on thick, thick makeup, nor did he change clothes four times. He just gave us real and well-performed music in a pleasant atmosphere.
* * * * * *
Little Sam was growing. She had the most beautiful and lively dark, dark mischievous eyes you ever saw! Every time I took her with me, Leo got mad. Neither he nor Mother thought I should have the right to take her when I wanted. I wanted her all the time, but I didn't know how to resolve the situation, I had always tried to respect and honor, even obey Mother, even though I was a grown woman. She had been helpful in some of the binds I got into, and I appreciated it. I didn't think I owed her my child.
Will would take me for a drive on our beautiful country roads .
"What on earth do you do with an Adventist woman?" he once asked. "You don't smoke, you don't drink, you don't go to shows?" I would always have him drive me out to see my baby. Pretty soon he caught on, and we automatically went by Mother's. Tammi and I would rush to each other, and she would sit in my lap and show me all her latest activities. When we left, she would follow the car down the driveway, crying, and I would be crying, too. Will would get angry.
"Why don't you just take her and be done with it? You can't go on like this!" I didn't know what to do.
She was so cute. Mother and Leo would take her with them when they went out to eat. Like most Adventists at the time, they went to a cafeteria where they could pick and choose around the meats, or anything they thought might have been cooked with meat or meat fat. The Golden Host Cafeteria was their favorite. One day as I was leaving, little Sam asked,
"Mommie, will you go to the Holy Ghost Cafeteria with us?" Precious!
* * * * * *
If divorced fathers would send their child support payments to the court, and on time, mothers wouldn't get so frustrated with trying to keep everything moving smoothly, and the children wouldn't hear her complaining about "your lousy father" all the time.
I would probably have never received a thing, but Bryan needed to look good to the "powers that be", to enhance his chances of getting back into the ministry. In July he paid two months to catch him up. I wrote him on August four concerning tuition costs for the year.
"Laurie enters the ninth grade, and his tuition alone is $20.00 per month, Jerry's and Patti's are $12.00 each, with a $2.00 discount for two, which brings the total to $42.00 per month. The public school bus comes right by our door."
Bryan had always predicted that I would not keep the children in church. However, at that time, I thought I had to keep us all there for our salvation. But even an idiot could see that I couldn't pay the $30.00 book fee, the $42.00 per month tuition, in addition to all the other monthly bills which added up to about $170.00 total before food, clothes and car expenses, out of less than $200.00 take-home pay. There was nothing left for social activities for the children.
But the boys were inventive and ambitious! Since we could not depend on Bryan's checks to be regular, the boys applied for and got jobs cleaning the church premises for Sabbath - Laurie the sanctuary and Jerry the three school rooms which had to function as Sabbath School rooms on the Sabbath. They were able to provide their own tuition that way. Then when Daddy's checks came in we could get such items as shoes! Shoes and jeans were the major expenses for the boys. I could make shirts and pajamas, I could sew for the girls and myself, but I couldn't make shoes. And the growing sons needed suits twice a year. Whatever fit them in the Spring, would not fit the next Spring, nor yet even in the Winter! And after all, were they not the most eligible young men in the church? Not to mention the smartest, handsomest, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!
* * * * * *
Will wanted me to date him exclusively, but I was not ready for that. We had a friend for whom the boys had done some work who called me one day. "Pat, I've got the company mobile home on Lake Ouachita this weekend. You and the kids wanna come along?"
"Sure. Why not?" It would be a nice break, and having a man along would prevent the constant fear of flats or other car trouble.
We packed food and bed rolls, the boys took what fishing gear they had, and we piled in with Troy, heading for Lake Ouachita, The Lake. There is really no other Lake! As we unloaded into the mobile home I remarked how this was the only way to camp out!
"Never mind," Troy grinned. "I brought camping gear!"
I got my first taste of a trot line. And last. Getting up in the middle of the night to look for fish caught on a line is a little much. However, Troy thought I did great.
"You're the first woman I've never known that could run a trot line." I didn't have the heart to tell him he'd never catch me doing it again, either!
Next afternoon we loaded the boat and started looking for an island. Finally Troy found us a place up a large stream which ran into the lake, and the boys agreed it was fine. We got set up - no tent - so we could all look up at the stars. The kids played in the water; then there was supper around a campfire and talk before we rolled up into our individual bedrolls. I went right to sleep, forgetting that in Arkansas you just may as well forget star gazing and put up the tarp right off the bat! By the time we were awakened by the thunder shower and got the tarp propped up over us, we were well soaked. There wasn't much sleep the rest of the night as we tried to get dry and warm.
We tried trolling for fish the next day, caught none, but no one really cared. It was a relaxing weekend, and the kids had fun. Laurie still doesn't think he's had a vacation after all these years unless he's had his week on Lake Ouachita!
Will was very unhappy that I had gone to the Lake with Troy, even though he knew I wasn't "loose". He wanted to "go steady", even get engaged. I was thinking about it. He thought I was a princess, a thoroughbred; "too much", he said. I was not accustomed to all the sweet talk and was eating it up! If he kept on...
* * * * * *
My grandmother was failing fast. I needed to go see her. One Saturday Will said, "Let's go. I won't be off 'till 6:00. Be there and I'll fill the car with gas and we'll take off. Maybe it would be okay if I slept some on the way?"
He had played at a club the night before and worked all day.
We left about 6:20. I had forgotten there had been an Arkansas - Texas football game in Little Rock that afternoon. I was passing cars at a fast clip, one after another on the old two-lane highway. Will said,
"Pull over and let me get in the back seat. I can't watch this driving you're doing. You're scaring me to death." He climbed into the back seat mumbling something about hoping he could sleep through it. That old Plymouth Fury could really get up an go!
My lovely little Mama was very sick. She was up and around, but obviously failing. I cherished the time with her, as well as with my aunt at whose home Mama was staying. I had hung over the piano many hours as a kid, watching my Aunt Billie's fingers fly over the ivories. Now Will was seeing what I meant, and they were enjoying musical discussions, both of them having been club musicians for years.
When it was time for me to go, Mama asked me to play some of her favorite hymns. I remembered the times I had heard her singing, oh so softly, "More like the Master", "Give Of Your Best To the Master", and later, when the new hymnal had come out, "In the Heart Of Jesus". Partings are sad. I decided to come as often as I could.
We left Gladewater early enough on Sunday that we didn't have to night-drive, and got to Mother's to collect the children and get home in time for them to prepare for school next day.
* * * * * *
Miss Bryant, the County Clerk in charge of child support cases called me one day in October. They had found one of Bryan's checks which had been lost under a pile of papers on a desk. She said she would put it in the mail. The she read me Bryan's letter to the court in which he claimed I wouldn't let him see his children outside of the State, and he was afraid to come to Arkansas to see them because "she would tie up my car and have me put in jail."
I wrote Bryan on October 16. He was back in Texas.
"Miss Bryant read your letter to me. The court here knows, Bryan, that you are free to visit your children. Their business is to see that we each care for them. I asked you to please send their support regularly, so that we would not be embarrassed when tuition is due."
I told him the court had found his May check.
"Did you also send one for August? We have not received anything for October yet, either. I don't know what you consider "reasonable support" as you mentioned in your letter to the court. All the fathers I know of pay $50.00 per child per month and stand good for their medical expenses. You have been asked to pay half that, and you haven't contributed to their medical expenses at all, yet you feel you are doing too much.
"Laurie fell doing the high jump three weeks ago and broke his collar bone. We still owe the doctor $35.00 for that. The school nurse says Patti needs an eye examination. I haven't the money. You will never do too much for these children. They are at the heads of their classes, and have made tremendous progress in every way in this last year.
"I have told you before, you may visit them here - the court gave you visitation rights. As far as my tying up your car and putting you in jail as you told Miss Bryant, you are giving me ideas."
I didn't tell him what the attorney had said about not letting the children go out of the State.
"There has been enough said around the world about our problems from both sides of the story. As far as you and I are concerned, it is finished and there is no need for you to keep running me down to everyone who will listen. I'll work something out for you to see the children, but it must be in Arkansas and without disturbance."
"An old sore, constantly picked, will never heal. The past is past.
"We can take this to the court there where you are now and let them decide, but I don't think we need a court to help us if we both work for the good of the children."
I guess he never learned to read. On October 29, from Santa Maria, Texas, I received this:
"I will be sending $25.00 a month as we agreed upon for a while, as I am on a limited salary at the present. I would like to arrange to see the children with friends in Missouri or Louisiana some time before too long.
"You mentioned about my starting life over again. It is hardly possible as long as the church declares you morally my wife. If you care to write a personal, confidential letter to Bubba, (his cousin) who is the church elder, changing the situation, things could be different. But right now, there is nothing that I can do."
We had discussed it in those distressed days in Iran. But sorry, no lies to help him out now.
A support check bounced.
November 4, 1964
I am enclosing the check which was returned to me. Your attorney said that you were sending a replacement. That was more than two weeks ago and it has not yet arrived. Would you please send some proof that you have sent it to the court here? We need it immediately. Otherwise I will have to go back to the court.
Maybe when you start "building a new life" you will have to choose another field. I can't help you out in any way toward staying in the ministry. I don't care what you do, but I certainly think you should help support your children. If you don't you are "worse than an infidel", so wouldn't be fit for the ministry, anyway.
That letter crossed in the mail with the following , dated November 6, 1964:
"Dear Pat, One of your dear friends told some friends of mine that they had heard that we were back together. I have been thinking since I heard that, that I must write you, and see if you might not have still some desire to reconstruct our home.
"You know it is hard to forget a person that you have loved as long as I have loved you. I often think about you and the children. I think that you have found, as I have, that this matter of living alone is a very dissatisfactory (sic) existence.
"I do not go with anyone. I just do my work, and keep busy at that. When I finish that I come home to my room. Since the church still recognizes that we are married, I guess this is the way it must be for both of us as long as this life lasts, at least until we can work out some happy agreement to continue on together. I am just waiting until you change your mind, as I feel sure that you have some warm thoughts for me still. Even though you have committed adultery against me, I want you to know that I do not hold a grudge against you. In fact, I often pray, "Father, forgive her, for she knows not what she does."
If this were the funny paper my thought at this point would read !@*!?+&#?%! But it wasn't funny. I couldn't figure out what was his point at first. It finally dawned on me. The back side of the paper the letter was written on indicated it had a carbon under it. I guess he thought that by putting the big lie, with all its self-righteous trimmings, on paper, the "powers that be" would assume he would put truth on paper to me, thus assisting his return into the ministry. As you can imagine, I was upset.
"It may not be long before I will be on full salary again, and perhaps at that time I can send more that the $25.00. But I want you to know that I will send faithfully and regularly the amount that we have agreed upon as long as we are separated, as I know you need it for the children.
"I trust that you will let me know about the prospects of getting married. If you ever consider marrying anyone else, however, don't look to me for any more money for the children. But I am still waiting for you. Sincerely, Bryan."
Romantic, huh, Ladies?
And Brother Bryan had a letter to show which would "prove" his ex had "committed adultery against" him! A close friend of mine, a lady psychologist, asked me when I shared this letter with her,
"Do you know what a psychopathic liar is?"
"I can't really say that I do," I replied.
"A psychopathic liar is one who, after telling a lie several times, brings himself to really believe it." We just looked at each other and nodded our heads.
* * * * * *
Years later I woke myself up crying hard. My husband, waking, grabbed me to him.
"What's the matter, Sweetheart? What on earth is it?" When I could quiet the panic I told him.
"I dreamed the General Conference was making me go back to Bryan." I sobbed. It felt like the end of the world." He held me close and assured me that no way, ever, could such a thing happen.
"He must be one louse (not the word he used) to do something like that to your mind." That was not the last time I had the recurring dream, but it tapered in intensity until it was finally gone.
* * * * * *
Laurie was doing some cleaning for Troy.
"Why don't you let me move your trailer over to my park? he asked, "You'd be closer to everything. Laurie would be near my office. And you wouldn't be any farther from your job." I liked my present trailer space. I had a front lot, which meant neighbors on only one side. I didn't feel so hemmed in.
"I've got a front lot open right now," Troy said. I hesitated.
"It's so much work. I'd lose a day at work just getting it ready to move."
"You get the inside ready and leave me the key. I'll get it unhooked, moved, and set up before you get home from work."
I couldn't beat that with a stick. So we changed locations. Mother preferred going the new highway, anyway, so she wouldn't mind picking up and dropping off the kids still.
Troy was a good friend. He wanted to be more than a friend, eventually proposing to me. He would have been good to the kids, and there were times later when I thought I should have taken him more seriously. But he smoked constantly, drank more than I liked, and he thought everyone in the churches were hypocrites. When my water pipes froze, he wrapped them with an electric wire which kept it from happening again, helped with the car when it acted up. One night there was a movie I had always wanted to see. I mentioned I was going to watch it.
"Why don't you watch it at my place, on a color TV?"
"Okay. Let me get the kids fed."
TV was old hat to Troy. He was dozing long before it was over. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and when it was over the National Anthem came on to signal the close of the station's day.
"Troy? Stand up!" He groggily stood to his feet and looked around, bleary-eyed.
"Why am I standing up?" he demanded.
"Because they're playing the national anthem! I laughed. I could tell by the look on his face that I was in trouble, and ran back to my trailer with him right behind me. He stopped at the end of his yard and quietly yelled, "Goodnight, you brat!"
* * * * * *
On November 28, 1964, I wrote:
"As to your question, Bryan, although it is not my desire to hurt you or your people, I cannot now, or ever, consider a reconciliation. Your way is wrong for me, and I can't go back to a life that destroys my peace of mind. So please lay all your plans without me. The past is past, dead, finished. Find yourself an honest way of life that will earn an honest living so that your children can be proud of you. There are so many things you can do with your education. I have been eighteen months in a job for which I was not qualified at the beginning.
"When someone tells me you are carrying garbage or delivering papers I can't help wondering why you enjoy being a martyr, when I know that you are qualified to teach or go into business of many kinds. Most Adventists have to work "in the world".
"As far as I'm concerned, you'd be better to just find that woman you said you thought would want to live your way and make you happy. Good luck!"
* * * * * *
I was absolutely determined to get bicycles for the children's Christmas this year. I didn't know how, but they had to have them. A friend's husband worked at the bicycle factory. When she told him about my predicament, he said for her to tell me he would get me three bikes which I could have at cost. Immediately after I got them the company cracked down on the employees doing that, but my three oldest kids had their Christmas bikes!
Ingathering was going strong just before Christmas. All the kids who raised over a certain amount of money would get a free trip to Six Flags Over Texas, the expenses to come out of the overflow above the goal imposed on the Church by the Conference. Mind you, the children said, at the doors of the people from whom they were soliciting, that they were collecting money "for welfare and uplift work". I didn't mind the trip to Six Flags as a reward, but felt the trip money should be raised another way. Oh, well, I guess a visit to Six Flags with all one's friends would be uplifting!
Jerry raised over $400.00, practically at the cost of his health. He came up top man, but Ingathering every night, regardless of weather, plus school, his church job, and home responsibilities - he ran his resistance down.
Will was really putting on the pressure. For my Christmas birthday he gave me a marvelous ring with a white pearl on either side of a black pearl, and six small diamonds to light it up, all mounted in white gold. I had never seen anything so exquisite! I knew then that he must really love me. There was always, however, a tiny, unexplainable bell ringing in the back of my head. Nothing I could actually put my finger on. He always had some reason not to take me out to the country to meet his folks. He told me about his little daughter he was crazy about. But he never brought her to our house with him. He was good to take all mine with us just about everywhere we went, and seemed even to enjoy them.
I couldn't wear my ring to church, of course, which kept me on my guard lest I run into a church member somewhere, but I loved wearing it to work and when we went out together.
After Christmas I was having some trouble with my Plymouth, and Will puttered with it a bit and came up with the idea that "we" buy a certain beautiful 1963 Ford galaxie from a friend of his.
"Let's trade the Plymouth in and I'll make the payments. Then it will be our car." I bought into the plan. I loved a great car and this one had been given excellent care. The man who had owned it worked at the airport, and had lined the entire floor, rear deck and trunk with an insulating carpet used in planes. It was really quiet inside. And would it go! No one yet believes that I raced a Porsche out on I-30 southeast of Little Rock. We stayed "neck 'n neck" right up to the City Limits, where I backed off for fear of getting a ticket.
Will was working in Brinkley and needed no car there, so I would go get him on Friday night and take him back on Sunday night. Sometimes on Saturday nights we would take the kids to the stock car races. I enjoyed the races, and since we had a friend who raced it was even more exciting. The friend's parents were in the church, and heartily disapproved of his racing.
I would stand right up to the fence during the during the actual race so I could see everything. One night I told Will I thought I would like to try my hand at racing. Brother! He was furious!
"No place for a woman! You must be crazy if you think I'd ever let you get in one of those!" I wasn't aware that he was doing the "let"-ing, but I would never have done it because of what might happen to the kids if I got hurt. There's nothing quite like four children to keep one on the straight and narrow!
* * * * * *
In January I entered reciprocal action in the Brownsville court - Bryan was back in Texas - for additional child support. $25.00 per month just wasn't enough. It would be twenty-five years before I would know the full extent of all that happened as a result of that action. I would be shocked, as will you.
* * * * * *
Will was spending most of his free time with us now. We had a lot of fun trying to understand each other's music and since I had never cared for country music, and classical was completely foreign to him, we enjoyed "easy listening" together, as it bridged the musical gap between us.
I came down with a horrible throat. It was so bad and the fever so high that I hit the bed and couldn't get up. The Doctor said it was strep throat and prescribed Chloromycetin. Will went for my prescription. I took the first dose and slept, fitfully. Every time I wakened during the night, there he sat jumping up to bring me water, my medication, or whatever I might need.
"You need to go home and get some rest," I mumbled.
"No way - not till I know you're all right." I decided that he really loved me. But I explained to him, as I began to capitulate to his proposals, that I couldn't marry out of the church.
"Well, I guess that means I must join your church, huh?" So he started studying.
I reacted violently to the Chloromycetin. One morning a few days later I woke up with several burning, throbbing red spots on my legs. I had no idea what it was, but was always having something on my skin that was weird. I went on to work, but by evening there were more, from the size of a nickel to that of a fifty cent piece. There was no sleep that night. I went to the doctor next morning.
"You're so weird, Pat. This is rare."
"What is it?"
"Erythma nodosum", he said. What in the world was that?
"We don't know much about it. It's most probably a result of the antibiotic I gave you. Poor kid. You always do the wildest things!" He twinkled sympathetically.
"Go home and rest and keep your feet propped up. That should help with the pain." It's painful, all right. There is a deep itch, more like a burning, with a painful throb every time your heart beats, in every one of those raised, tender, bruise-like nodules.
Years later, when my Patti had the same problem, I called another doctor's office and told the nurse told that I would like an appointment with the doctor; that my daughter had Erythema Nodosum. She thought I wanted a prescription for Erythromycin! It must still be somewhat rare.
And that was when we learned about systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, as it is often called.
* * * * * *
In a letter to Laurie on February five, Bryan wrote:
"I will be going to Shreveport no doubt within the next few weeks again, and if you would like to see me there, I'll try to have some of my friends come up and get you and Jerry, Patti and Tammi, and we can spend a weekend together." Laurie had mentioned wanting a car in a letter to his dad who told him all the reasons he couldn't have a car right then, [he was fifteen], and added:
"I was planning to try to help you get a scooter last summer in Missouri, but you mother wouldn't let you come. Before that, you know I sent you $150.00 for all of you children together in event you cared to get one."
Same song, second verse, third verse, fourth verse. On the fifteenth, after thanking him for a check from his mother for the children's tuition for a month, I answered:
"There will be no need for you to have anyone go to the expense of coming for the children for they will not be leaving the State. However, you are welcome to visit them here any time that you come peaceably."
* * * * * *
I had done well at my job, having already received a raise. I had learned to do the figures typing quickly and accurately. And I did it in rhythm! There were a dozen or more columns in which we had to type the figures which indicated the results of the laboratory tests on the soil, cement, gravel, reinforcing and structural steel, and other materials used in highways and bridges - even the grasses which are planed along the roadsides. Can I help it that my typing went 1-2-3-tab-1-2-3-tab-1-2-3-tab, and so on? Everyone in the office laughed at me, but I knew no other way to type. I once told someone I was counting my life away, first, in taking piano and dance, later in teaching piano, directing choir, teaching dance. If I don't watch it I will find myself counting the lines in the street as we drive over them. And anything that moves out of rhythm drives me nuts!
I would get through with the work on my desk, then sometimes I would help Maurice with his filing if he happened to be behind. At the end of my second six months of my work there, I had gotten a $20.00 a month raise instead of the $5.00 everyone else got, "To get her salary in line with the others," the boss said. Sometimes I was asked to write letters to help out the boss's secretary, when she got overloaded. Then I was asked to be supply room clerk, also. There was a room, like an oversized walk-in closet, where all the many report forms were kept, along with other paper supplies, and as the men came into headquarters off the job for more supplies, I was the one to fetch them from the supply room.
One Friday a scruffy looking guy came in. He followed me into the supply room and immediately made a pass at me. I resented it, and let him know it. He asked where I lived as he left with his stuff, and I wouldn't tell him.
Next morning, just as we were ready to leave for Sabbath School and church, there was a knock on the door. I opened it, and there stood Mr. Scuzzball himself.
"How did you find this place?" I demanded. He just gave me a dirty grin.
"I came to spend the morning with you."
"Sorry. We're just leaving for church." I informed him. I sent the children on to the car. I didn't want them to hear what might be said.
"This is Saturday. No one goes to church on Saturday."
"We do. We're Seventh-day Adventists."
"Well, you're not going today. Take the kids on and come back. I'm going to make love to you."
"You are not going to make love to me today or any day. Move out of the way. Get out, please. I must go or we'll be late."
The Scuzzball was becoming belligerent. He grabbed me by the arm.
"What'sa matter. Think you're too good for me, don'cha?"
"No, I'm just going to church. Please get out."
"Are you frigid or somethin'?" Whaddya thing a woman's for anyhow?"
Boy, that was it!
"Listen, you! One thing is for sure. This woman is not for you. Now are you going to get out or do I call the police?"
He finally got the message, and we went on to church, though I was more than a little unnerved.
* * * * * *
In late February Will went to the church to meet the pastor. They studied together and Will was baptized a couple of weeks later. There were some little adjustments we would have to make, but mostly we got along well, and we surely did love each other, so I was sure it would all work out swell. Will had a hot temper, and I was not the most patient person on earth, but he seemed to be a good provider. Talented, highly intelligent, somewhat jealous, but a little jealousy was natural, wasn't it?
I had made a lovely dress with a black velvet bodice and silver lame' wrap skirt, with a large silver bow at the waist for our New Year's Eve date, and I wore it at our simple wedding at Mother's beautiful new house. We got matching rings, though we didn't use them in the ceremony. Will said no way would I not wear a ring, but he consented to my removing it for church.
On March 26, Jerry's birthday, Bryan wrote: "My dear boys, Well, the calendar says that you are 13 years old today, Jerry dear. I wanted to drop you a line and wish you a happy birthday. I also want to wish you a happy birthday. I am sending you $25.00 each through the court for your birthday present. You might like to use it to buy a new suit, or whatever other clothes that you might like.
"I'll be happy to hear from you at any time. Give my love to Patti and Tammi. I pray for all of you real often. With much love, Daddy."
I wrote him a thank you for the money, which actually arrived, plus the April $25.00 for child support.
"If you could have seen how badly it was needed, and how happy they were to receive it, I think you might strain yourself for your sons a little more. They are old enough to like to look nice, now. We got them some semi-dress pants and shirts, new shoes, and Jerry got a white coat. Laurie had one from [eighth grade] graduation last year, and Mother got them some black trousers for Christmas, so now they look pretty nice. Laurie had a big weekend this week and was not wanting to participate because of his shoes, so now he can go ahead with the rest of the kids. Thank you again, Pat."
* * * * * *
The plan was that Will should go on to Dallas, find work, and when school was out we would all go to Texas with him. In the meantime he would come home on weekends. I sold my mobile home and moved into some property Mother had on the market, and stayed there the two months until school was out. As it turned out, Mother and I went to see my lovely, dying Mama most weekends and Will met us there. It was hard on Mother as well as myself, coming in tired and going to work on Monday. One Sunday night when we got in I crawled into the bathtub and woke up a couple of hours later, the water cold. That was the week I had a severe bladder hemorrhage. I took Laurie with me as I drove to the doctor.
"You may have to drive me back, Honey. If I can't make it you can do it. Just take it slow and easy," I instructed. But I made it back home and into bed.
Will had gone hunting in Dallas and had had no trouble at all getting a fine job as a draftsman. Although his company did not get the job, he figured every bit of steel, every nut and bolt in the Frito-Lay Building. I was proud of him.
Finally school was out and I took Jerry and Patti, leaving Laurie and Tammi with Mother, and went as far as my aunt's home where Mama was staying, to help in any way I could while Mama lasted. We worked together for the next two weeks, growing more and more weary. I had another, though milder, hemorrhage. Will was very concerned about me. Mother came down the second weekend and sat with Mama all one night,and we got a little sleep. We tried to get Mama into the local hospital, but they didn't take terminally ill patients. Mama was in unbearable pain. Finally we found a private hospital which took her on a Friday. The next day Will took the kids and me on to Dallas, and when I called back to Gladewater around noon on Sunday, Mama had died several hours earlier.
She left me her hymnal. I have a worn and frayed postcard which I have treasured all these years, which says, among other things, "You are on the top of my list, my sweet. You have always understood me more than the others."
* * * * * *
It was a hectic summer. We had found a great old house in Oak Cliff, with a huge yard. We returned to Little Rock, rented a truck and hauled all our stuff down to Dallas. Laurie was going to help mother during the summer, so Jerry and Patti and I rented a lawn mower and cut all the grass on the half-acre yard. There we played catch and hit a few balls.
There were dozens of tarantula holes in the yard. We watched the big spiders and discussed the cost of a coat made from the glistening golden-brown fur of the tarantula as compared to the cost of a mink coat!
We were still receiving only $25.00 per month from Bryan, and had heard nothing from the Brownsville action in February, so I went to the Court House in Dallas and filed again. I had no way of knowing that the Brownsville Court had admonished him to begin paying $100.00 per month in June. He sent $75.00.
July 13, 1965
The $75.00 arrived. Thank you. It is, of course, $25.00 short of the $100.00 which the courts in Pennsylvania and in Dallas have ordered. We would like for you to make up the back support as requested by the Dallas court. I'm sure if you can afford a new Honda for yourself you could have afforded to send the $100.00 which your children deserve. In letters dated 8/4/64; 10/16/64; 11/28/64; and 2/15/65, I requested that you send enough support that you could be considered trying, at least, to help support the children, and you were welcome to visit them.
Bryan had petitioned the court to give him the children for August. The court, however, told him to discuss it with his attorney. I responded:
'Laurie is working this summer, and I can't let the little girls leave for a month. Jerry would rather not come alone. He says why don't you plan to visit them for a week-end?"
I told him what the tuition in Texas would be, and asked him would he like to be responsible for it, or pay the back support, or get the boys the scooters he promised.
"Let me know your response and we'll work out a visit arrangement for you. We await your reply. Pat."
The children were unhappy in Texas away from all their friends. Especially Jerry, who had left at least one girl friend behind. He had worn himself down with Ingathering that year, and had taken a summer cold he couldn't seem to shake. He lay in his room coughing for days, and I tried to nurse him back to health. I hate Ingathering, I thought. Will and I discussed the situation. Tuition was going to be higher, rent was higher, and there was always the possibility that I could have more problems with Bryan in his home state than if I were at home. Will said he didn't mind the drive to and from Little Rock every weekend. His children were there, too. So we decided that even after all the trouble moving, we would go home to Arkansas before school started. The following weekend we went home and collected Laurie and Tammi and brought them down with us so I could take them to Six Flags before we left Texas.
I heard that Bryan was at the Seventh-day Adventist summer camp in Athens, Texas. It wasn't that far. Surely if Bryan had a look at his kids he would want to help them enough to at least send his check regularly. So I piled them all into the car and we drove down in the Texas heat to Athens.
Bryan's mother was staying with him, as usual. They were stunned at our sudden and unexpected arrival, but invited us in. Bryan's hands began to tremble noticeably, and I felt a little sorry for him. After a bit everyone began to relax somewhat, and we went down to the lake where the children enjoyed several hours in the water with their dad. As the long summer day began to taper down, I told everyone we had to leave. Tired and soggy, the kids piled back into the car. Their grandmother stood beside her son as I started the engine. I had always felt sorry for her that she wasn't seeing the children grow up. I said to Bryan,
"Bryan, these are great kids. $75.00 a month isn't that much. I would really appreciate it if you would be regular with your checks. That would be a big help."
I will never in my lifetime forget his cold look when he said,
"You haven't spent $75.00 on them yet." Two years and five months since we separated and I hadn't spent $75.00 on them yet?
After we went to Six Flags over Texas a couple of days later we started packing.
* * * * * *
From the children's grandmother on August 12, 1965:
"Dearest Pat, Laurie, Jerry, Patti and Tammi,
"What a happy surprise you gave us yesterday! I'm so sorry I did not recognize you, Laurie and Jerry. You had changed so much from 8 and 10 years of age to 13 and 15. But I could tell it was the same dear boys after I looked twice. You have grown up into such manly noble boys. And the girls, you are so sweet and attractive. I wanted to take you all in my arms and keep you forever. I hope I can do just that when we get to heaven. This wicked old world will soon pass away and our hope of the future is all that we have ties to.
"How many prayers have been offered for you and how many tears have been shed! A broken home is a thousand times more cruel than the grave! Bryan has tried so hard to see the children for he loves them so but he could not go to Arkansas. His boys need a loving father to guide them through the stormy teen age. He also needs them. Sister White gives so much instruction as to how fathers should guide and counsel their sons. Bryan wants his children so badly."
Poor dear. I truly felt for her. But how could I comfort her? She had always believed her son to be without sin. She hadn't heard him say of me, "She's the one who wanted them," and "God will give me more children."
She told us about her work at the school in Honduras, and how she was needed back there.
"But Bryan needs me worse than the school does for he says nobody loves him but mother." I wonder how our lives could have been if she had said, early on, "Get out there and make like a man! You'll get no more money from me, or sympathy. Get your life straightened out. Do it!
* * * * * *
How many of us keep returning to Arkansas! We think we can make it somewhere else. And maybe we do, financially. But we have to spend more, in order to make more. And there are not the rivers and lakes, mountains and hills, hot springs, crystal mines, caves of our Ozarks. Guess I'd better quit bragging or all of you will move down here and we'll be overcrowded and it won't be fun anymore!
We found a little house and settled down to get ready for school. There was a new vo-tech school opening in Little Rock, and it sounded like just the thing for my boys. I felt strongly that they should have a trade as well as a profession. That way they are doubly protected, no matter what may happen in the economy or in their futures.
Jerry was not old enough yet, but I decided Laurie should go. The curriculum was normal for the grades ten, eleven and twelve except there were trades offered each semester in place of foreign languages. By the time the kids finished the eleventh grade, they should know what they wanted to major in, and they were put on a work-study program with different businesses around town during the last semester of their high school. Jerry and Patti were enrolled in the church school.
A court order in Cameron County finally ordered Bryan to send us $75.00 per month. He agreed to this. He didn't tell the court, but he told friends that he would not pay for Tammi.
He was now in Berrien Springs, Michigan, attending the denominational Seminary, which had been relocated from Takoma Park, where he had attended years earlier. Mother Dulane, of course, was with him.
Support payments continued to be a problem.
On September 15, 1965, I wrote, thanking him for a check and asked:
"Is this the August or September check? If it is the August check the September check is late. If it is for September the one for August has not arrived. You said you had nothing to do with it, that the Texas Conference was taking care of it for you. The court order says you are to pay it. I shouldn't have to remind the Texas Conference to fulfill your duty...Seventy-five dollars per month for a man who drives two cars, travels extensively and is in his sixth year of college is more than reasonable. If you could see how both the boys work to dress well and provide for themselves you wouldn't be so reluctant to help them."
I was provoked that he complained that he couldn't come to Arkansas. Everyone knew it was an excuse for a disinterested father.
"You really couldn't care less for the children, could you? You told the ministers in Iran that I was the one who had wanted them, not you. In June you told a mutual friend that you only wanted the adopted one. Some day you will loathe yourself for the way you have ignored them."
Or so I thought. Wrong again.
* * * * * *
"I will wait ten more days before entering complaint. It will, of course, be in Michigan." I sent a copy of the letter to the Texas Conference President.
Bryan's mother wrote offering to help with the tuition.
"...but the last time I sent it I had no acknowledgment or receipt, so I did not want to send any more that way. The check returned so it was cashed and somebody got the money. Bryan had very good reasons for not coming to see the children. He can hardly stand it not to see them, but he cannot come to Arkansas." Oh, boy. Here we go again!
Assuring me that he would check on the money matter at the Texas conference, Bryan wrote that he certainly did care for the children, and would sign over everything he owned for any one of them that I would legally give to him.
"I have never said that I cared only for Tammi. You told me to get rid of her since you didn't want folks thinking you had been running around with a nigger."
That made me so mad I wanted to kill him. I thought it called for an answer.
"There were a few statements [in the letter] which must have a reply for the sake of record - not because you will pay any attention, for you only believe what you want to about any situation, with complete disregard for facts.
"1. My complaint has never been of the children, nor of my responsibility for them. The complaint, sir, is of the lousy way in which you do your share.
"2. THERE HAS BEEN NO CHECK FOR AUGUST.
"3. I have never told you to get rid of Tammi. You well know that. Nor have I said I was afraid someone would think I'd been, as you so crudely stated it, `running around with a nigger.' One of the ministers overseas said something to that effect, and if you have any memory at all, you know that I was indignant. I've never used that word and you know it. It seems to me that it was you who were so anxious to get rid of her - for $2000.00? That was the amount you mentioned.
"4. Please don't ever say you can't come to Arkansas again. The children know that if you satisfy the court I couldn't prevent you seeing them.
"5. Child support consists of food, clothing, tuition, rent, utilities, piano payments (all four take lessons), allowances, furniture. Ask the court. Every penny you send goes in, on, or for the children."
On September twenty I wrote Mrs. Dulane explaining that the church treasurer endorsed the tuition check.
"If you want I will have her write you personally. I assumed your check was your receipt."
I tried to answer her complaint that Laurie was in a vocational school and not in church school: "so he can put himself through college. He has learned early that he must become independent." I told her that Laurie had had surgery on his toes which she could surely believe, since Bryan had had the same operations, and I reported the expenses involved in it.
Then I unloaded a bit of my bitterness.
"Bryan had deceived you about his not being able to come to Arkansas. And you have always chosen to see his side of everything that ever happened between us. There were times, at the first, when I sought your counsel. But you turned a deaf ear. Bryan's happiness was all that mattered. If he had not always been assured that he was right in everything he did; had he been told to consider someone other than himself and his own selfish desires, things might have been much different.
"If he satisfies the court, he may certainly visit his children. Ask any attorney."
It was a waste of time to write her. She replied, telling me about her daughter who was expecting a baby:
"She wants me to go out to be with her. I sure hate to leave Bryan alone to batch, but I can't be everywhere. I do wish you would let Laurie come up and go to school and live with Bryan. They would be so happy together. He would love it here. He would care for all his expenses and pay his fare up there."
She went on to explain the great lack of funds they had, asked again that Laurie and Jerry, too, come to live with their father. "They need him."
And yes, she said, she had wanted to hear from the church treasurer.
"I wanted to have a receipt and find out if the children were ok."
It made me mad that she would insinuate I was not giving Bryan and her the truth about the kids as well as their church school attendance, and the money going to the school. Did she think I was forging checks sent to the school for tuition? Does she think I had the kids locked in a basement? That I was blowing the tons of money Bryan was sending? What did she think?
* * * * * *
The first weekend in October Will was home and we took a picnic to the park. Everyone was having a great time until Patti tried to come down the slide on her tennis shoes. We heard the crack when she fell. I think I hurt almost as badly as she when she winced as I tried to hold the broken arm still as we drove to the hospital. I couldn't stand to see her suffer. The setting required more than usual procedures since the break was right at the ball of the elbow joint, so said the doctor. We got her home after she woke from the anesthesia, and after a couple of days she didn't seem to have much trouble with it until the itching started under the cast!
* * * * * *
On October the eleventh Bryan wrote Jerry a second time. He had written him the day after our trip to Athens asking him to come back down and spend time with him.
"Just was thinking of you and wanted to tell you that I love you very much and would like for you to be with me. No doubt Laurie told you that I got you boys a Honda and I especially had you in mind as I remember how you enjoyed the one in Iran.
"Yesterday I took a friend riding on the Honda way out in the country down a pretty lane where the leaves are just turning. It was a beautiful drive.
"But the Honda is yours when you are here, as I told you I would try to get you one.
"Any time you can come up here I'll pay your way and we can get you clothes or anything you need. Things are very nice here. You would really enjoy it.
"P.S. Please answer when you get this letter."
If you were thirteen years old, how would you feel about the way the promise of a Honda was fulfilled?
Laurie got an almost identical letter with the same P.S.
"Please answer right away if you receive this."
I could never convince Bryan and his mother that I didn't open their letters or keep them from the boys.
* * * * * *
The Little Rock church asked me to be their organist. It was an unpaid job, of course. It never crossed the minds of Seventh-day Adventists that a qualified musician had probably spent years longer to become a musician than the average preacher spends becoming whatever he is. A good church musician begins piano studies at an early age, with hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours of practice time long before college.
I was building up my piano students. Since I had been in Texas during the summer only, it was not a problem getting all my students back. The Highway department had asked me to come back twice since I left, and I should have, but my heart was in music, and I liked teaching because I could run my own show. Of course, I could have retired from the state with a pension at a fairly early age!
I never figured out why the Texas Conference was involved with Bryan's income, but he discovered that they had, after all, failed to send a check to the court, and with that he got us caught up.
* * * * * *
As has been stated, anyone is supposed to get hired if he goes back to the Seminary. Things were looking great, Bryan said, and he had a girl friend who, according to Mrs. Blenden who knew her, thought Bryan's lifestyle to be just fine. They had spoken frankly, she said. Lucinda was the "friend" on the Honda ride.
"If you want to let the children come up here I'll get what they need if I have to borrow it. I won't be sending additional help, in money, right now though [referring to medical]. I offered to care for Laurie's toes in Texas. Could have done it there and saved you the expense. I hope Patti is doing better."
"It is beautiful up here and things are going nicely. Our trailer is just a little ways off campus. You will remember that I offered to give it to you, along with everything else I possessed but you refused it for your children. Cordially, Bryan."
Laurie wrote him. I added a note to it.
"He always gets your letters - always has."
Then I gave him the particulars on Patti's hospital, doctor and anesthesiologist bills. He wasn't happy that Laurie was in a "worldly" school, and I explained that the local church school was accredited only through the ninth grade except at the Conference Academy at Gentry, Arkansas. Then the usual attempt to reason with him, and also as usual, wasting my time.
* * * * * *
Laurie would have liked to run track at the school, but many of the meets were on Friday night and Saturday, so of course that was out. Later, when Jerry started at the same high school he wanted to play football. Besides the fact that I didn't want him to ruin his weak knee, he would have Saturday practices which he couldn't attend. Also, Sister White condemned football.
The boys had been working at odd jobs, and they bought an older motorcycle - a Zundapp - when they realized their dad would never come through on a motor scooter for them. It's a little hard to ride a bike in Michigan when you are in Arkansas. Will was angry when the boys purchased the motorcycle, as he had had a friend who was killed on one. But I only let them ride around in the neighborhood. I enjoyed riding it myself.
Weekends were holidays! Will came in and we always planned something special for the time left after church until he had to return Sunday afternoon. He had talked me into another car deal when we moved back from Texas. We needed two vehicles. Since he wanted a truck we made a deal for both a Ford truck and a pretty little Fairlane, eight cylinder sedan. It was a fine car, and would really go. One weekend I loaded it up with kids, including a friend of Jerry's; camping equipment and food, and took out for Lake Texarkana where we met Will for a fun weekend. On the way home the boys kept urging me to go over on the new, not-yet-opened freeway and see what the car would do. Against my better judgment, I did it. We got out on that smooth concrete, not an obstacle in sight, and I gave it the gas!
"Go, Mother, go!"
"All right, Mom!" Loaded down, that little `65 Fairlane went right on up to 105. It was still climbing, but I decided that was enough. All those children in there with me, plus one who wasn't mine - too much responsibility for that kind of showing off, so I let it drop back. But the kids had a story to tell!
I was pretty crazy about Will. He never objected to having all the kids along while we were going places and doing things. He called me "The Most". I loved it. We would play around with the children till late, put them to bed, then enjoy each other completely, often going to the kitchen and cooking steaks at 2:00 a.m.! (I no longer felt "holier than thou" by remaining a strict vegetarian!) Will enjoyed cooking and turned out delicious, though fattening, meals. We might just sit on the porch and laugh and talk, or go to a dinky little cafe for coffee - mine was always a decaffeinated brand - I still worried about sinning by drinking coffee.
One Saturday night we loaded the car up with everyone plus the boys' little girl friends and went to the State fair. Will and I walked around the booths and concessions, always available to the kids.
Another weekend the Razorbacks beat Texas in Little Rock and were number one in the nation! We joined in the downtown madness, the truck piled high with kids, all of us yelling and blowing car and other horns along with everyone else. The cops didn't try to quiet anyone down. It would have been useless anyway! Since Arkansas has only one major ball team, we are a little fanatical in our support of it.
* * * * * *
Will had taken me to meet his mother in the Spring, but his father wouldn't come from the back of the house while I was there. I was a little uneasy about our relationship. There were times when Will would see something out of place in the house, like maybe one of the kids left a glass on the floor by a chair, and Will would go into a horrible rage far greater than the incident merited. And on Sundays when it was time to leave for Dallas, he would become furious over nothing, then sink into a depression. I was not a psychiatrist, but I knew something was wrong. There was nothing much known about food and chemical allergies then, which can cause such reactions, or I would have suspected it was "something he ate".
I don't know what it was, but later learned of several problems in the family to which his actions may have been related. Or perhaps it was his guilty conscience, knowing what was bound to happen to us, sooner or later.
* * * * * *
On the eighteenth of October, Mrs. Dulane wrote Patti:
"I hope you are feeling real good again by now. I am so sorry you broke your arm. How did it happen?
"Have you started to school again? What school do you go to? What is the name of your teacher? What is the name of the doctor who cared for you when you broke your arm? Please write and answer all my questions and a lot more."
Patti did exactly what she asked, listing the answers ! I suggested that it would be nicer if she could enclose the answers in sentences, so she re-wrote the letter.
Mother Dulane answered:
"Your sweet letter made your Daddy and me very happy. I'm glad you are getting well and are in school again. It was nice you did not have to miss one day of school.
"I'm sending two checks. One for you to give to your doctor and the other to give to your school. Please ask for receipts for both and send them to me. Please do not forget to do this, as I want receipts.
"Auntie Veronica will be wanting me soon so I will have to leave your daddy alone. He says he needs me worse than she does."
I answered the letter of course, as my eight-year-old daughter wasn't doing the family finances yet. I thanked her for the checks and enclosed her receipts, gave her an update on Patti's arm and invited her to visit the children.
On November 5, Jerry received this:
"Jerry, dear, It was so good to get your letter. I appreciated it so much. Sure wish I could see you. I just feel like we need each other, even more than the others, who I would also like to have. But I especially wish you could be with me. Any time you can come you will have a very welcome home. There will also be a new mother who will love you dearly.
"I got the Honda for you boys and it is yours whenever you are with me. We are going out riding in a few minutes. It is a beautiful day.
"I love you very much and just wish you could spend some time with me. Any time you care to come, just call me collect and I'll work out a way for you to come."
Bryan's plans for returning to the ministry were looking good, so his checks were pretty regular from then on. He needed to show the brethren he was "supporting" his children.
* * * * * *
The 17th of November started out the same as any other day. I got the kids off to school and was straightening up the house. I would be going to teach piano at the church school later in the day, as I did two days every week. The phone rang. A friend's voice said simply,
"Pat, you'd better go get a paper and look in the divorce column." I didn't know what was going on, but a deep, dark fear started welling up in me. I finished getting ready for my day and headed for the nearest newspaper rack. I bought a paper and went back to sit in the car. Opening it to the divorce column I was stunned beyond belief to see Will's name in there. A woman was suing him for divorce! But he had said he was divorced! His friends had seen it in the papers. They had told me so. It just couldn't be. I loved the man. How could this be happening?
I was weak all over as I drove on to the school and went straight to the telephone and called a different attorney from the one I used before. I didn't want Mr. Short to know how badly I had messed up.
"Pat, I'll call you right back. Let me see what I can find out." I tried to keep my mind on John Thompson and the budding pianists. When the phone rang I rushed to it.
"Well, it's what I was afraid of. Will has a wife, and she is not only suing him for divorce, she has named you in an alienation of affections suit. [There really were such grounds for legal action in those days.] Give me a little time to talk to her attorney and see if I can talk him out of it. I'll get back with you soon."
It seemed like days, though it was only and hour or so, till Mr. Hadley called back.
"We're in luck," he said. "I told her attorney that my client didn't know her husband was married, that she was a nice Christian lady. He conferred with Will's wife, and she agreed to drop the alienation suit when she learned that I would file for an annulment immediately." (Dear Lord, what do I do now?)
"Mr. Hadley, "I've just been elected church organist. I've walked a tightrope over my church membership during my divorce from Bryan. What do I tell my pastor?"
"I'll talk to him. Is he there now?"
"No, not right now," and I told him when the pastor would be in.
Harvey Hadley was as good as his word. He explained to the pastor what had happened, and the pastor had the good grace to say that perhaps he, too, was partly to blame, not having looked into Will's history at all. He wasn't, of course, to blame in any way. He had to assume I had some sense. I was to blame because I had wanted someone to love me, to think I was great, someone to like me as I was, not asking me how much I weighed every morning.
I couldn't sleep. The bottom had really fallen out of my world. After supper I would spend some time with the children then go out and walk until I could sleep. Because of all my drug allergies, I couldn't take pills to help me sleep. I had discovered that I could sleep if I got myself physically tired. Laurie, bless him, usually insisted on walking with me.
"You shouldn't walk alone after dark, Mom. It's not safe," he would say.
Will insisted that he had not known his divorce had never been finalized. True, his wife had filed, but then she dropped it, which explained why Will's friends had seen it in the paper which published both filings and final decrees in those days.
* * * * * *
Maurice, my dear friend from the Highway Department days, heard about my plight.
"Pat, Paron needs a music teacher. Interested?" I'd better get interested, I thought. I was back to square one.
"Yes. What do I do?"
"Go out and talk to the principal. I'll call him so he will be expecting you." So I got part time work there in that little country school. I had three choirs and students were permitted to come for private piano lessons during their study hall. I was there two years. They were a terrific bunch of kids. We put on some great programs. Some of the children came from extreme poverty, but those proud parents would find a red dress for the Christmas program, or black skirt and white blouse - whatever we needed. I purposely kept it simple, so there would be no hardship on the families. And sing! My, how they sang! When we put on a program the hall was standing room only, and the kids did their folks up proud.
* * * * * *
Will was really losing it . He lashed out at me, went into jealous rages every weekend when he came back to town. I wouldn't let him sleep at the house. He had signed papers for me to get an immediate annulment but was sure I would remarry him as soon as his wife's divorce was final. As I began to back away, he became unreasonable. He said I was just looking for an easy way out to leave him. I had considered remarriage at first, but the relationship deteriorated to the point that I talked to a policeman about protection. Will had become physically violent and my sons had had to chase him off. Now his father, after all those months, actually called me and asked me to go back to him.
"He's done better with you than he ever had before." Oh? He must have kept his temper fits to a minimum with me. But he had lied to me about his divorce, and I discovered at this time that he had also lied about his age, and what else? In talking with a physician in some detail about Will's behavior, I learned that he very likely was manic-depressive or some such thing. I would always have a very tender place in my heart for Will. He was like a first love. But I could never trust him, nor would I put the children back in the environment of his rages. It could never be the same again, but it would take a while to get over him.
Mother was worried about my status with God and the church. Had I lived with a man out of marriage? Committed adultery? My attorney tried to explain to her that an annulment was as if the relationship had never been.
"But you did sleep with him!" True. And some things can't be wiped away. That is, until one comes face to face with Jesus Christ, and I had not.
* * * * * *
In the midst of all the turmoil the children got a wedding invitation from their father. He was getting them a "new mother".
* * * * * *
Al Dill, the assistant principal at Paron was an acquaintance from a couple of years back. I had met him through a friend. Since I had been teaching at the rural school he had taken a personal interest in me, checking my room every day to be sure things were going along ok. He was in charge of discipline at the school, but I assured him that I could handle my own discipline, which he found to be true. When he discovered I was having my marriage annulled he became very sympathetic. It wasn't long until he suggested that he swing by my house and take me with him on the two mornings that I went to Paron and "save you a little gas money." Sure. Friendly concern. Of course.
* * * * * *
I went to Otasco for the children's Christmas again. They had a nice time I think, and I passed my 34th birthday quietly. Christmas birthdays always get lost inside the Holiday.
* * * * * *
Al Dill, who had been calling me a lot lately, came over for awhile. We enjoyed snacks together. When he could talk out of earshot of the children, Al informed me that he was going to date me when my annulment was final.
"Really?" I asked, laughing.
"Really," he replied.
"We shall see."
* * * * * *
On January the fifth the annulment was final. Will was still convinced that I was obligated to him in some way. There were a lot of uncomfortable conversations before he finally left for good. I missed him, but I didn't ever want that kind of trouble again, nor did I ever want to be involved with a man I couldn't trust. Were there no honest men? Were they all liars? Why was I having so much trouble? No one advised counseling by non-Adventists, and there were no Adventist counselors. So no one asked, Pat, why do you always get involved with manipulating men? Why do you seem to have a need for the con-man type?
So I made assumptions: God was probably punishing me for wearing some makeup and jewelry when no one was looking. Or maybe I was too lax about Sabbath-keeping, or I shouldn't have eaten meat. I didn't realize that I was punishing myself, unwittingly. I was trying so hard to please someone - anyone.
If a fellow fed me a sweet line, I reacted like a puppy who had just gotten a pat on the head - tickled to death! Like many, many women I have known, I hung on to every silly word said to me, making something of all those things men say and don't mean. I thought I was pleasing someone, and I had never been able to do that before - not my mother, Bryan, Sister White - and now with a divorce and annulment, I would never be able to please The Only True Church.
* * * * * *
A letter from Bryan's mother said she was sending the children a subscription to the Church's Junior Guide for Christmas. She was back in Honduras with her eldest daughter and family.
"We have been so very homesick for you through these sad years. Nobody knows as well as I do what your poor daddy has suffered by having to be deprived of your sweet company. He has suffered death hundreds of times over and would do anything to see you. His lawyer said he must not go to Arkansas and he has tried so hard to see you in some other state. I hope he will not always have to be away from you. We both pray very often for you and hope we may be together in heaven if we can not here."
* * * * * *
Mother was going down the last lap toward graduation. She had been teaching, building a new house, taking correspondence part of the time, and attending Little Rock University, holding a high Grade Point Average. During that time I had come home from Iran with my troubles, she had broken her foot, all the while insisting on keeping Tammi a lot. We were all looking forward to her big day.
I had a date with Al Dill. He was a pretty nice guy, it seemed. Mother was impressed with his Master's Degree. She said she wish she could have found a man like that. I couldn't believe Mother was pleased with a man I was dating.
Laurie received a tacky letter from his daddy bawling him out for being ungrateful, writing only when he wanted something.
"No matter what I send you children, you hardly ever as much as say thank you. That isn't hard to say and I hope you will learn to thank people for what they do for you, even though it is a small thing."
Laurie didn't deserve that. I wrote Bryan:
"To my knowledge, Bryan, Laurie has always written and expressed appreciation for the things which you have sent. It seems to me to be quite a normal thing for a child to ask his parents for things which he wants or needs. As I remember, your folks gave you nearly everything for which you asked. I know that for a fact.
"These children are great kids. Anyone would be proud of them. There are 650 enrolled in Laurie's school, and he made the highest in the achievement tests in the entire school. He, Patti and Jerry are all honor students. They deserve every break they can have."
March 20, 1966, to Bryan's mother:
"Just a note to let you know the children are all well. Patti is a straight A student. Tammi can do first grade work and some second grade work. She is so smart and quick. I'm teaching her piano - not pushing, but letting her go easily, as she is so young. My hope is to start Laurie in pipe organ under my teacher in September, and Jerry in classical guitar at the time, if I can afford a guitar. They are all so talented. I am the church organist. Laurie is a Junior deacon."
I suggested that I ask Bryan's Arkansas Attorney to write her and explain why he had advised Bryan to stay out of the state during the divorce proceedings, so she wouldn't have to keep telling the children that their daddy couldn't come see them. I wrote quite a lengthy letter asking, as tactfully as I could, why could she not put aside the "suffering father" bit so that the children could just enjoy her company and that of their cousins.
"We don't have anything against any of you except that there is always an undercurrent of blame and bitterness in your letters, of reprimand and preaching, as with [Bryan's sister's] letter. Please remember that there was another side to our break-up which you never heard, and probably never will.
"Bryan has another woman, and is cared for now, so since we live in the same world, maybe the whole problem can be dropped and buried as far as the children are concerned. Sometimes folks cannot bury the hatchet without leaving the handle sticking out.
" What goes on between Bryan and me through the courts will be an entirely different matter. I will always insist that he do his part by the children. The court attorney says as a man grows more mature he begins to be more interested in his children. Maybe that will happen."
* * * * * *
The kids were doing great in school. Laurie made honor roll and was eligible for the National Beta Club the following year. In April I wrote Bryan about the children, and thanked him for putting them on his medical insurance, as he said he had done. He had again complained that they had not thanked him for something, so I apologized.
"If we have failed to express appreciation ever, we are sorry. We have certainly intended to. At least one has written in behalf of all. I shall try to see that they keep in better touch.
"Their piano recital will be May 26. All four will be playing. You are welcome to visit the children."
* * * * * *
Al loved to skate, and my little family was soon going with him to the rink every week. He paid for lessons for us all, and we learned to waltz, two-step, and do the Academy Blues step. It was great fun, as well as exercise. It sort of took the place of dancing for me and for my eldest son, who could have been a great dancer.
When the boys' birthday came around - they were just three days apart - I rented the skating rink for an evening, and all their friends came out for a happy evening. I made and decorated a huge cake, and there was pop in the machines.
On the morning of April 26, we got up as usual and got ready for school. Laurie went on to his school with the boys he rode with. Jerry, Patti and I started out a little later in my little white Sports Valiant. After wanting a truck, and talking me into signing my name to the two cars, Will decided he wanted the Fairlane when we separated. So I went to the friend of a friend, who had a car business, and he kindly took the truck off my hands and sold me the little car. It was a jewel. White, with red interior, bucket seats - the kids loved it as much as I did. And when we went over the dip in the road on the way to Paron, I could actually get it airborne! The children yelled with excitement.
Well, that fateful Spring morning, on our rainy way in, I made a left turn, signals flashing appropriately, no car in sight, and we were hit hard by an oncoming car! The woman in the other car skidded but couldn't stop. We did not see her coming. The driver of the car she knocked us into did not see her coming. The kids standing there waiting for the bus did not see her coming. One girl said she had seen her turn from the side street, but her father wouldn't let her get involved. I was charged with an improper turn. I still don't know where that car came from.
The door was jammed. Jerry had been thrown on top of me, and when I turned to see Patti, blood was pouring down her face.
"Are you all right?" I asked Jerry. He said he was, so I said,
"Move 'way over, Honey. I've got to open this door." My only thought was to get to Patti. So I turned sideways and with both feet hit the door and got it open. Wrecker and ambulance came, and took us to the hospital where Patti had to have stitches over her eye - much too close to the eyeball - and on her leg. She had received the worst of it. I had a mild concussion, and Jerry seemed to be okay except for some glass cuts. I called Laurie's school as soon as we arrived at the emergency room, as I feared he had heard about the accident from the radio on the way to school which he had.
"I just knew that was you, Mom. Are you all right?"
"We're all okay, Dear. We lost our little car, though." Thank the Good Lord for our safety. It tore me up that my children were hurt. And we came so close to losing Patti's eye!
I went back to my car-dealer friend.
"Girl, you really stay in trouble, doncha?" Southern gentleman accent, soft and slow. He looked at my insurance coverage and did a bit of figuring.
"C'm'ere, honey. Lemme show you somethin'." He showed me a little dark blue Valiant.
"Get in and we'll drive it." We got in. I thought we would go around two or three blocks, but he took out the England highway. We talked religion (he was an Assembly of God preacher); music; family, and he asked about my plans. I told him I was teaching two days a week at Paron, and two afternoons at the church school.
"You're having it rough with four kids aren't you?"
"Yes. We're making it, though. The boys do as much as they can to support themselves, and that helps."
He turned down a lane into a housing development.
"See that house, the split-level one?" Did I! It was a lovely house, brick and redwood. I had always wanted a house of my own.
Mr. Frank told me he was into construction in addition to cars.
"I built that house. I will build you a house just like it if you will let me come see you two or three times a week."
I felt like I needed to clean my ears. This married man claims to be a Christian, a preacher, no less. Oh, well. Maybe that's par for the course. Hadn't I been married to a preacher?
Bryan had bought several homes, but never stayed in one over eighteen months. Will was going to build me the prettiest home in Little Rock. Now I was being offered a lovely one with very little asked for in return. Or was it very little? My children would know how I was paying for it. I could never stand to lose their respect. So I assured him that I couldn't do that. I did, however, accept a two-week job filling in for his secretary who would be on vacation. The first day on the job he came into the little private office. "Pat, wear something low-cut tomorrow. Don't you have a low-necked dress?"
I didn't have anything low-cut. And I didn't go out and buy anything, either. After three more days of fighting the good preacher off I decided he could answer his own phone until his secretary returned. I couldn't possibly need the money that badly.
* * * * * *
On Mother's Day Al took both our mothers and me to the "Holy Ghost" (as Tammi called the Golden Host) cafeteria for lunch. He thought it was a grand success. Mother was sold on him. My friend Troy, however, didn't want me to marry Al.
He said,"Pat, you've had too much happen to you too fast. You'd better wait awhile."
And my attorney also advised against it.
"You're on the re-bound, Girl. You'd better slow down. Besides," he said, "My wife and I are probably getting a divorce. I might marry you myself!" Brother! I figured both of them were advising me for their own benefit.
* * * * * *
Mother graduated with honors on the 29th of May, 1966. We were happy for her, and relieved that she could take it a little easier now. My piano recital went well, the kids all doing their best to do themselves up proud.
* * * * * *
"Mom, I've got to have some money." It was Jerry speaking. He always liked to do things up right, such as money for good clothes and for spending on the girls.
"If you'll get me a lawn mower from Otasco I'll make the payments." So we went down and picked out a mower. That kid mowed for folks in the neighborhood all summer. Sometimes he would call me to come get him, sweaty, hot, and exhausted, and I would feel so sorry for him then. But he had his money. They were hard working boys. I often wished I could give them more. I mentioned that to Jerry years later, and he said,
"Mother, every one of us is educated, independent, and reasonably successful. If you had given us too much we might not have turned out as well as we have. That was a considerate and unselfish thing to say. I felt some better.
In June Al Dill became a Seventh-day Adventist, leaving his former affiliation with the Church of Christ. I played the organ for the service. He was carrying out his well-laid plan, step by step, very deliberately. His biggest plus was that Mother thought he was probably all right, especially with that Master's Degree. Never mind it was in psychology, it was a Master's Degree! I wasn't at all sure of my feeling for Al, but he was sure he wanted to marry me, and was working toward that end systematically.
"You need to be with people of your own caliber, " he said. "You should be with educated, high-class people like yourself." (Flattery will get you everywhere!) "I know you are tired of the financial struggle. I want to take that burden off your back. I'll help see that the children are educated, and you can just forget fighting with their father for money."
Al enjoyed bowling, and took us with him a time or two, even buying me a bowling ball - before I requested one. It always hurt my hand and shoulder, and the noise was unbearable, I thought. We did have one great bowler in the family, however. One night we told Patti to take a turn. She had to take the ball in both hands, and dropped it right in front of her feet. It began a slow roll down the lane. Slow, slow, slow - all the way down. Seems like it took five minutes to hit at just the right spot and - I couldn't believe my eyes - a strike! The whole place had stopped to watch that ball make it's leisurely wandering down the lane, and everyone cheered!
Al sounded like a good deal. He seemed to be crazy about me. Maybe too much, I thought. He told me of his plans. He wanted to start a trophy business, and he thought we could work into one which would provide for our future. I had never so much as held a trophy in my hands. That would change!
Al wanted a small, but real, wedding. I bought pink lace and peau de soie and designed a lovely long dress with a bit of a train. Dear Mac came with me out to Mother's and we baked and decorated a cake, while Mother orchestrated the cleaning of the huge yard by the boys.
As we were starting on the cake, I asked for a Rubbermaid spatula. I hate working in the kitchen without one, both because I hate any waste at all, and I'm too impatient to try to clean out a bowl or pan with a spoon. Mac looked through the drawers but didn't find one.
"Mother," I yelled into the yard, "Don't you have a spatula?"
"No, Honey, I surely don't." I turned back into the kitchen, grumbling. "Now what? I can't do anything without a spatula!"
Al found a little Baptist preacher who would marry us - we didn't even ask the Adventist minister - and some of our closest friends, and Mother's, came out to join us. Al had planned a little trip, and Mother kept the girls. The boys wanted to stay at home, so I called them every evening to be sure everything was all right.
We headed toward Northwest Arkansas. Al had reservations at a little motel in the Ozark foothills. When I opened my suitcase to change, guess what was lying right there on the top of everything. A brand new spatula - what else! I'll get you, Mac, I laughed!
I woke up a little after two next morning with a violent pain in my abdomen. I had not had a recurrence of the old stomach problem for some time, but here I went again. The little town was closed up tight, and I just had to suffer it out till morning. I could see Al was disappointed, and he complained that we could not eat at all the places he had planned along the way. I said for him to go ahead and enjoy himself while I drank milk and ate cottage cheese, but he wouldn't. He wanted everything to be perfect, and now I was sick. I found some over-the-counter stuff which eased the pain somewhat, and got on the milk and soft boiled eggs that didn't hurt me, and we went on.
* * * * * *
As I've told you before, Arkansas is one beautiful state! We drove up through the mountains and across the State line to Noel, Missouri. There we turned east and visited Roaring River State Park, Silver Dollar City and Branson, where we took a late night ride on the steamboat and watched the thousands of fish in the river swarm to the lights from the boat. Southern Missouri is a beautiful state, too. I could have done without the descent into the huge open throat of the cavern at Silver Dollar City. Al thought my fear was hilarious. Not so, sir. I hate heights!
Back at home we started preparing for the new school year. A friend at Paron, whose talented son I was teaching, said she had a house for rent between Little Rock and Paron. We went out to look at it, and found it to be just what we needed. Three bedrooms and a double carport made it satisfactory. There was just one thing wrong with it. It bordered on the National Forest. Now normally that should be a great thing. I love nature. Most of it, that is. But I don't like snakes - any color, shape, variety or size, period! And we were to see more snakes there, mostly poisonous, than anywhere I've ever lived.
We got moved, and I started Laurie driving. I had been letting him do a little driving along. As I drove here and there with the kids I had always given them pointers for all their benefit. But since Laurie was going to have to drive himself to school that year, we had to get him licensed and going. I knew I had taught him well, but it is an indescribable feeling to watch your eldest drive off in your car for the first time. It was quite a drive all the way in to Southwest Little Rock to his school, then back again in the evening. But what sixteen-year-old ever hated to drive a long way every day?
Jerry and Patti would attend at Paron with me. Shortly after we were settled into school I was asked to teach piano in Benton, so I started driving over there after school two afternoons a week, and continuing two full days a week in Little Rock at the Church school. Al worked at the bowling lanes in Little Rock several nights a week, and we kept our heads above water. What I didn't know was that in his endeavor to relieve me of financial strain, Al was charging items on accounts I didn't know he had. He had encouraged me to pay off one of the two accounts which I had, and I had done so. I didn't know he was still paying off a roof on his former wife's house, as well as her daughter's bedroom suite, among other things. All the little gifts and presents he brought in - most were charged. He got us some badly needed chairs and chests of drawers, all charged.
Things were going well at the school. Patti was chosen Carnival Queen. I put on a musical program with my little choirs which started with the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, and sang the pioneers and trappers and explorers and mule skinners all the way across the United States: through the Erie Canal, across the Missouri River, the Great Plains, the Great Divide and on to Gold Rush of California. The place was packed. Parents and friends raved. They were proud of their kids.
* * * * * *
One day when I got to Benton, the lady in whose house I taught said, "Come here. I want to show you something." She opened the door to the basement and up the steps lumbered the biggest German Shepherd puppy I'd ever seen. He was four months old, she said, and I could tell from the size of his feet that this was going to be one big dude.
"Pat, you know how tenderhearted I am." True. She was always taking in stray animals. "I just had to take this fella. You live in the country," she looked at me pleadingly, not about to give up. "He's been mistreated, Pat. He needs you!
"Don't do this to me!" I groaned. "I swore I would never have another dog. They get to be so much a part of you, and when something happens to them it just about kills you. I can't go through that again." The oversized pup came over to me, nuzzled my hand and looked up at me expectantly. You're ganging up on me, I thought.
"I don't know what my husband would say," I hedged. "And the kids have a little dog already." The tail started wagging - and wagging. And those green eyes, begging.
"But they would love him, I know."
"I've been calling him `Wolf'", Adelle said.
"It fits," I agreed. Wolf had a gray and black coat, typical of most German Shepherds but he was trimmed in a rich russet, and wore a white collar and shoes. And those eyes! I was to learn that they could look as cold as those wolves we saw in Canada. But they always softened when he looked at me! I was caught in a trap into which I would fall again and again. He very well knew that when he looked at me like that he always got his way!
I put him in the back seat of my little blue Valiant and crawled in under the wheel. I hadn't gone far when I felt a nose on my cheek. Wolf rode the entire fourteen miles home with his front paws on the back of the seat and his face on my shoulder. We were inseparable from then on. For the next ten years he was my son, my guardian, and the guardian of my children. He was a thoroughbred, the most intelligent dog I've ever known. The only being who ever had the audacity to try to put him in his place was Jackie, the children's little dachshund, who manipulated them, also. She really thought she was hot stuff! She was a great companion to the boys, sleeping under the cover at their feet.
But Wolfie was to pay his way in the family many, many times over. In the first place, he got respect from his size alone. In the second place, he was so protective of us all, and especially me, that he would have torn anyone up who tried to hurt us. From that day when he rode home with me until nearly eleven years later, when on a hot summer day he couldn't draw another breath because of the heartworms, he thought he was my son and he protected me. Dan could always tell where I was located inside the house by looking at the position of Wolf's ears. One could sit and watch his ears turn and follow my footsteps even though he was in repose. If I went to work in the garden, he was lying right there at the edge.
After I started studying opera, he would point his nose to the sky and "sing" along with me on the high notes!
Wolfie didn't care much for men, and seemed to especially hate preachers! ESP, maybe!
His grammar was excellent, too. Once Dan said,
"Lay down, Wolf." Wolf ignored him. Dan commanded again. No response. Dan looked at me.
"Tell him to lie down." Dan looked daggers at me but said,
"Lie down, Wolf," and Wolfie obeyed. I just grinned at Dan.
Once a young man complained to Patti that Wolfie wouldn't let him ride down one of the nearby country roads on his motorbike, and he was angry about it. Patti replies,
"What you didn't know is that my little sister and her friend were picking berries just off the road. He wasn't about to let anyone down that road!"
When Patti started dating, Wolfie would saunter in between her and her boyfriend so they couldn't stand close. He was a jewel!
He had been brought to my friend chained in the back of a truck. It must have been terribly traumatic for him, as he hated men and trucks from then on, and became frantic when he heard the rattle of a chain.
* * * * * *
One Friday shortly after we brought Wolf home, I was cleaning the yard in preparation for the Sabbath. I had put a roasting pan under the faucet for his drinking water, and had left the lid lying on the rough ground nearby. This evening I leaned over and picked up the lid, and a huge snake uncoiled and slithered under the house! I found myself under the clothesline, about fifteen feet away, and I am quite sure my feet hadn't touched the ground! That has to be some kind of record, especially since I was still facing in the same direction, which means I jumped fifteen feet - backwards!
I knew it was a water moccasin, but everyone made me doubt myself, since moccasins are supposed to live in or by the water. Several days later I heard the special "snake bark" we learned to recognize. We had killed a number of copperheads and rattlesnakes right near the house. I went out where Sammi was playing in the yard, and Wolfie was barking his head off. Coming across the front yard, heading toward our house, was that monstrous moccasin! And my baby and my doggie within a few feet of him. With a pulse gone completely out of control, pounding in my temples, I got the hoe. Aiming very, very carefully, I brought it down right behind his head. The head was almost severed, and I dragged him over, curled him up, rolled the lawn mower over him to keep Wolfie away from him, and waited to show the rest of the family.
"Not a water moccasin, huh?" I challenged.
"Yep, you're right," Al said. Jerry took his head the rest of the way off and put it in alcohol after measuring the distance between his fangs - a hair over two and a quarter inches!
The incident only increased the enmity between this woman and the serpent!
* * * * * *
One night as I drove in to play for a meeting at the church (for free, as always), a real Arkansas special was brewing. Heavy clouds were rolling in up tornado alley; the air was heavy and oppressive. I was uneasy about being away from home, but "God's work" must come first. After the meeting I started for home. Some of the folks advised against it, but even though I would be driving into the thick of it, that's where my kids were. I headed west on Colonel Glenn Road.
It seemed as if the massive weight of the black clouds was hunkering right down on top of me in my little blue Valiant. I strained to see through the sheeting rain. Visibility was zilch except for the split-second bursts of lightning which came so fast I felt like I was watching a fireworks display gone mad. But I stubbornly crept on through the violence, toward home, toward my children.
I must have been within inches of the tornado as it crossed in front to me, dropping a tree across the road onto the electric wires on the other side. I braked, stopped, and backed into a driveway to turn around. Just as I put it into low to pull out, electric wires fell all around me and across the car, shooting fire at the pole and on the ground. I pounded the gas pedal and left those hot wires behind, then began slowly retracing my path, shaking into the marrow of my bones! A little way back I made a left turn and started through Lake Nixon Road which would bring me out on the Paron road. Alas! A tree was across it. Turning around was not so easy this time. The road was narrow and there were no driveways. It was isolated. I was afraid another tree would fall behind me, and I would never get out! At least until the next morning!
Actually, the twister had passed, though I was not thinking clearly enough to realize that it was probably gone. Even so, in our area there could be another one. Again I made my way back, the opposite way from where I wanted to go. As I entered the city limits, I took a through street on which I should be able to get to my road. This time there was a huge old oak tree across the street. It had fallen into a church parking lot, though, so I was able to drive through the lot and around it. By this time I was looking for a place to stop and let my nerves settle down, so I went to the home of the Berry's, friends who lived nearby. At least I could call the children from there. They pulled me into the house and I headed for the phone while everyone asked questions. The phone lines were down! Mr. Berry suggested I sit a little until it quieted down outside, and he and his son would follow me home. Only a mother knows how relieved I was when I finally got home and found my little family safe and sound. They were only on the edge of the storm area where a fifty foot wide path of trees was down. We were awed by the sight of pine needles driven straight into the tree bark! God is good. Even when we don't yet know Him.
* * * * * *
Al started out in the trophy business by getting an order for some inexpensive little awards for a minor event at one of the riding clubs. We cut and finished some simple, but different, small walnut trophies. At the end of the school year, when Al changed his contract to Bryant, we moved to a place closer to town. We were buying it! A home of my own at last! It was small, but the boys would be leaving home in two or three years, so we would have plenty of room for the two of us to retire in. Gradually we bought tools to finish wood: drill, saw, sanders, nut drivers. Starting with small tools to "get by", and gradually replacing them with heavier duty ones, we grew into better looking and better quality trophies than most of our competitors. I was in "pig heaven" designing unique trophies for the different events. I studied the catalogs to see what was selling, and I thought Al was buying parts wisely. Our customers were happy, many of whom would call and say,
"Pat, you know what we want for this 'coon hunt better than we do. We've got $275.00 to spend. Fix us up." I would have a record of what we sent them the last time, as well as what the other clubs had received, so I could give them something original each time. My pleasure came from designing the trophies and having satisfied customers. I soon discovered Al's pleasure was in trying to put a certain two of our competitors out of business. Within eighteen months one had folded. Al gloated. But one can undersell too much. We needed to get a fair return for our parts and labor.
Our house was full of trophies. The bar in the kitchen was covered with parts and tools, holes were bored into it for bolting down drills and other machinery. Boxes labeled "gold legs", "silver legs", and "blue balls" gave our visitors some chuckles. The kids put in a lot of work and were glad to have the money. Even Patti could assemble some of the simpler awards. The dining table was our assembling area. On Friday there was a mad rush to clear off the table and stand the trophies all around the rooms next to the walls so we could at least have Sabbath dinner on the table. In less than two years Al was not only teaching school, driving the school bus and still working two nights a week at the bowling lanes, but I was working late into the night to keep up with the trophy business. I was tired all the time, but thought the time would shortly come when we could put our enterprise into a building of its own, and I could have my house back. We were really selling trophies. Sometimes we had one or both our sisters-in-law to help, or a friend of the sons. One after another we captured the riding clubs, raccoon hunt clubs, skating, tennis and motorcycle clubs. Al was even delivering trophies into Springfield, Missouri.
The boys had learned to engrave the brass plates, as well as assemble any kind of trophy. We originated a black ink stamping process for plates, baked on in the kitchen oven, which has been picked up and used by other trophy companies. That gave the clubs a less expensive plate, and is actually much easier to read than engraving.
Finally, we absolutely had to have more space. Al mortgaged all my furniture - he had brought only an old rocker into the marriage - to build a big room across the back of the house to use as a shop. We still had to do the assembly in the kitchen, but much of the other work could go out of the house. Al would attend trophy conventions and buy parts at a discount - or so he told me - and I had quite a supply of parts to choose from in my designing.
Some clubs, particularly motorcycle clubs, were interested more in height and size, so the parts did not have to be expensive. Other clubs, like the Appaloosa Riding Clubs, wanted quality. It was challenging, interesting, and fun, though the hours were long. But working toward the goal of a large business in a real shop some day - or so I thought - kept me pushing.
One Friday afternoon Al called from school in the middle of the afternoon, a bit of panic in his voice.
"I think I've made a mistake. I'm supposed to deliver Blank's trophies tomorrow night."
"No, you're not. It's not on the calendar."
"Well, I failed to put them on the calendar."
It was the most expensive order we had ever had, as well as the first for us with this club. Al had worked hard to get it. I had taken some red velvet I had left over from making a dress for the Christmas concert at the school, and made a front for the gold sample trophy he had taken to show the club, placing a little gold crown in the center. No one had seen anything like it before. Red velvet and gold! Luxuriously beautiful. But not that easily assembled. We were going to have to work on the Sabbath. I was devastated, but I had no choice. Without a word, my sons came in and started working beside us. Long past midnight we worked, finally dropping into our beds for a short rest before time to go to church. I played the organ, my family sat on the front row as usual, and Al left for his trophy delivery up-State immediately after church.
I prayed and prayed for forgiveness. We know that there was forgiveness for sin, but not for deliberate sin. Justification, we were taught, was for past sins only, at conversion. Sister White had said not only allow no business to encroach upon the Sabbath, but that we shouldn't even speak of our business, at all. She said it was better to lose our employment than to break the Sabbath! I was suffering mental anguish because I had even caused my children to break the Sabbath! But how could we possibly let one of the largest riding clubs in the State meet without their awards because of Al's mistake?
* * * * * *
One day Jerry came in from school and said, "Mom, have you heard the song `Honey'?"
"You mean the old one that goes, 'I'm in Love With You, Honey'? I used to sing that to you all when you were babies."
"No, it's a new one. You've gotta hear it."
I had only recently discovered Robert Goulet, and had bought everything of his that I could find. I obtained a new recording shortly after that conversation with "Honey" on it, and I saw what Jerry meant. I'm a real softie. I had to wipe my eyes.
I played my records a ot while we worked, and one day my sisters-in-law and I heard my little nephew, a first-grader, singing "Lonely Is a Man Without Love." We didn't let him hear us have a good laugh at that little man singing about being lonely without love!
Laurie was going great at Metropolitan High School. His second year there he was elected Student Council Vice-president. He belonged to the the National Beta Club, National Honor Society, VICA; he received awards from the Governor and President, and even a safe-driving award! His final year there he was elected Student Council President. Jerry started at Metropolitan that year, and he, too, made National Honor Society, National Beta Club, VICA and more. His second year there he was elected Student Council Vice President. However, he would opt to attend the Adventist academy in northwest Arkansas, for his senior year.
Patti was making straight "A"s at school, and had written an entire book of poetry by her tenth birthday. One of her poems was published in the Junior Guide when she was eleven.
The one good thing from my marriage to Al was that he gave me the courage to bring Tammi home. "Either forget her or get her."
"I can't go up against both Mother and Leo. And I hate to hurt her."
"But you're going crazy for your child, and you're driving me crazy, too." So maybe it was selfishness on his part, wanting me peaceful, and working harder, but I brought Tammi home. I saw to it that she got to visit her grandparents often to try to ease everyone's hurt.
Tam was a smart little rascal. She read early, and loved music and rhythm. She would go into the boys' room and play Laurie's drums with exact beat. Laurie was doing well in both drums and electric bass guitar, while Jerry had started classical guitar lessons.
I needed to get Tammi naturalized, but Bryan had never sent me her adoption certificate, even though that was part of our divorce agreement ages before. I called Elder Pascoe who must have contacted Bryan's conference President, as he called me, saying he would try to get it worked out.
* * * * * *
The Southwestern Union Conference was having a big Youth's Congress at the Convention Center in Dallas. The kids of our church, including my own, wanted to attend, but most of them couldn't afford it, and we couldn't afford it for them.
"Why don't we put on a talent show?" one of the boys asked.
"Yeah! And a bake sale!" someone else piped up.
"Make it a baked goods auctions!" another added. "There would be more money from auctioning than selling."
So everyone got to work. I got them all together and assigned some parts, although most of the kids knew what they wanted to do. It was an exceptionally talented bunch that year. We decided to set it up like a TV show, with announcers and hosts at a table with headphones and microphones. In addition to the performances, we were going to have commercials. That's what really brought the house down. There was a popular one at the time concerning bad breath, where the girl is brought home by her boyfriend and he simply says "good-bye" at the door. She turns to her roommate and wails, "A handshake instead of a kiss!". We combined that commercial with one about a famous candy bar and it came out like this:
Jerry brought his girl to the door and they went through the handshake and no-kiss scene. The roommate gave her a package of breath mints and the scene began again. As Jerry brought his girl to the door he slowly leaned in for a kiss and most of us heard her mother gasp! But at that second the announcer held up a certain well-known candy bar and shouted,
"And when that irresistible urge hits you -"Jerry dropped his girl like a hot potato and rushed for the candy bar and on down the aisle, "reach for an Almond Joy!" Mamma hadn't quite recovered. "Oh," she said aloud. "I thought he was going to kiss her!" Everyone heard her, and that added to the hilarity.
Patti had read a take-off of "I'm In the Mood For Love" in Mad Magazine, entitled "I'm In the Mood for Food". She and the preacher's son sat at a loaded down table and sang it, substituting all those Adventists non-food and phoney-baloney names (i.e., "Wham", "VegeLinks" - soybean alternates and other artificially seasoned un-meats!), also "Postum" for coffee. The people loved it! Most Adventists will laugh with you at their non-flesh entrees which taste as close to the real thing as possible!
Laurie did a memorized recitation of Longfellow's "The Village Blacksmith". What made it funny is that directly behind the curtain where he stood, was Jerry in a matching shirt, whose arms were through the curtain, just under Laurie's arms. For all the world it looked like Laurie had four arms, all gesticulating as the poem was narrated, sometimes swatting one another out of the way. It was a fun-packed evening.
One well-to-do mother told me afterward, "I've never laughed so hard in my life! I forgot to bring a hankie and I've got snot all over my raincoat!"
To close, Laurie accompanied me with his drums and orchestra bells as I did a medley of "Lover, Come Back To Me" and "Autumn Leaves" on the piano. Most of the folk had never heard me play popular music. They were surprised. Another mother told me I should be playing for a club for money. That surprised me, coming from an Elder's wife.
The family-involved performances took most of the prizes. Laurie and I got the grand prize - a box of chocolates! But a prize, none-the-less! With everyone in such a great mood, the baked goods went for good prices. There was hotel, food and gas money for the church's kids to go to the Youth's Congress.
It was an event to remember for the young people to go to Dallas. I'm sure they got something out of the meetings, but the freedom to move around without parents, sit where they wanted to, stay with their friends in the hotel - it was an experience for them. The only one who would dare get out of hand would be someone with a parent present, yes?
We were sitting in the balcony as the sermon droned on, when suddenly, from the very top of the domed ceiling, high, high, high, above came a paper plate, very, very slowly fluttering down into the audience! I remembered how he described the ceiling of the Atlantic City Convention Center. It was dangerous to step from steel to steel in the network frame under which was only the lightweight fiber ceiling tiles. I could envision him slipping and falling astride a joist, destroying the family jewels, or worse, falling between the joists and becoming just a splat on the floor. I watched the plate lazily drop to the floor beside a row of seats. A few people looked up wonderingly, and everyone in the balcony was grinning - except me.
Later that day, when we were all together for lunch, I said,
"Jerry, I don't think it was very reverent of you to drop a paper plate into the congregation this morning."
He looked sheepish. "How did you know it was me?"
"Come on!" I remonstrated. "Who else could it have been?" I could see that he was proud of himself.
I claimed credit for a lot of the characteristics of my children, but not his love of heights! He was to become a fine and careful pilot.
* * * * * *
One fall day as I drove into the driveway, I heard, through all the open windows, Patti's shout,
"You'd better turn that off! Here comes Mother!" I could not control what my children listened to and watched when I was not around, but I could surely set the standard by what I permitted when I was at home. Even though they grew up in the 60's, they all enjoy quality music.
Tammi remarked to me not long ago, concerning TV programming,
"I wonder where all the mothers are. It never seemed to bother you to walk over and turn the knob, and suddenly we were sitting there staring at a black screen."
* * * * * *
Al had a problem with hate but he didn't seem to be aware of it. He hated Jews, Blacks, and everyone who didn't agree with him. He didn't believe in anything the government did - not even the Weather Service. He said no one could predict the weather. They just tried to `snow' us. He said the moon landing was a fake. Even though we sat and watched it on television, and Laurie took pictures off the tube with the camera we gave him for graduation, he said it was set up. Everything, but everything, was a Communist plot. And don't even mention the Holocaust in Germany, or he would tell you right away that there were a few Jews killed along with other enemies of the Nazis. But thousands? Hundreds of thousands? No way. And most certainly not millions. I did not know when we married that he had an FBI file as a result of his activities in the 1957 integration crisis at Central High in Little Rock.
When I tried to talk to him about equality in Jesus, he would concede that blacks could get to Heaven, but they had to do it separately from whites. Sometimes I thought he would rather not go to Heaven if there would be dark-skinned peoples in attendance. Of course, he liked some of them. Didn't he give his worn-out shirts to a little colored man in West Memphis?
Laurie was favored by Al, since he called him "Pop" and tried to get along with him, but Jerry never cared for him, and if he called him anything it was "Mr. Dill". Both worked hard in the business with us, and we paid them. Patti did not get along with him very well, and I learned from friends that he was belting Tammi behind my back. I'm sure she needed it sometimes, but I still felt that if there were to be any physical discipline it should come from no one but me.
* * * * * *
May 11 was to be the largest piano recital I had ever had. The grand piano at the church was moved to the stage. Since the "church" was really an auditorium, the sanctuary yet to be built, it was all right to have a recital there. I decorated the stage and had long dresses for the two girls and myself. The boys were sharp in dark pants and dinner jackets.
Bryan's mother had notified us that she would be arriving that afternoon, so Laurie met the bus. Surprise! She had the children's "new grandmother" with her - Lucinda's mother was along, maybe for moral support on her first visit to us. I didn't get nervous or upset, though a little disgruntled with her lack of savoir faire.
The recital went really well, and there was a great turnout to applaud the children. Laurie, my most advance student, had the last performance on the program - the Theme from "Exodus". He did beautifully until the very last chord, which he hit wrong! But he turned to the audience with a charming smile, corrected his mistake, and received the greatest ovation of all! Rascal !
Everything went well with the two visiting ladies until Laurie took them back to the bus station. Then Grandmother Dulane started in on how wonderful his daddy was, how badly he missed them all, how great Lucinda was. Then Lucinda's mother chimed in on the chorus. Laurie told me all about it when he returned. I wasn't too happy about it. I can certainly understand a grandmother's need to see her grandchildren. What I can't understand is how a man can con his mother to the extent that she never questions a word he says.
* * * * * *
Since Seventh-day Adventists boys do not volunteer for the Armed Services, the colleges have special courses to instruct the boys in how to answer to sergeants and other officers in regard to their "conscientious objection" and their Sabbath-keeping. (Many members believe that command extends even to keeping a shotgun or rifle in the home for protection of family and property.) They had decided that "conscientious objector" was not an exact description of their stance,so they began to use the term "non-combatant".
I let Laurie go to Michigan for a summer boot-like camp which had been planned for those youth who were not in the colleges. It would prepare them to be in top discipline and give them a needed advantage should their number come up in the draft lottery, and they had to go into the service. This was an effort to counter the ridicule many of them received for refusing to carry a gun or work on Saturday.
I had been working on Tammi's naturalization, and the ceremony was coming up on July 18th. I had finally received her birth and adoption certificates, and we were ready for my little girl to become 100% American! An acquaintance told me that Bryan might be coming down. I should have known better than that, but it scared me so badly I got sick. My head was hurting so badly I could hardly stand it, which usually meant a kidney infection. I went to the doctor.
"What's got you upset, Pat?" My blood pressure had soared. I told him.
"So what if he shows up? What can he do?" He was right, of course, but I was so afraid that he would try to grab one or more of the children and run for the border! None would go willingly, I knew, but one doesn't always think after years of trouble and frustration.
At last the day came, and we had friends keeping an eye out. He didn't' of course, show.
There were some other little dolls there. One couple had adopted two tiny Vietnamese girls. It was an interesting and moving ceremony involving young, middle-aged and older people. It's a great country. As I sat there I remembered the Iranian youth who attached themselves to us, not because they wanted to go to an Adventist heaven, but to Emrika - America!
* * * * * *
I continued to be pleased with all the children in their schooling. I had told the boys that they would stand out in the crowd if they greeted the faculty in the halls by name, say "Sir" and "Ma'am", "Please" and "Thank you". They took me at my word.
One day when I stopped by the school for some reason, the Principle called me into his office.
"I just wanted to tell you, Mrs. Dill, that you have our two favorite boys," he said. "They have really done the school up proud. I thought you should know that we consider them an asset." Wasn't that enough to bust a mamma's buttons!
Laurie told his friends that his mother wore army boots. I think that was supposed to mean that she was tough. One day he brought a close friend out for the first time, and because of all the mud from recent rains I had put on a pair of Al's lace-up boots and was working in the garden. It took a little explaining for me to understand the strange looks and snickers going on.
* * * * * *
The children received this letter on September 4, 1967, written on the Chesapeake Conference letterhead:
"Dear Children, We have a day off and are up at our beautiful mountain lodge. The stream is beautiful when lit up at night. Sure would like you to be able to spend some time here.
"The big news is that you have a brand new sister. She arrived Thursday AM 7:49. Her name is Sarah Jane. She weighs 6 pounds 13 ounces. She is a real little doll. She sleeps all the time about. Sometime it's hard to wake her up for her feeding time. She and Lucinda left the hospital yesterday and we drove up to our home here in the mountains today.
"We are near the academy. We have some girls here we helped bring into the truth." His usual "souls report", as we had begun calling it, included potential meetings in Honduras, Brazil, and Washington, D.C.
"I sure wish I were able to see you children and talk with you. Aunt Veronica said you didn't understand why I didn't come down. I've done everything I can to see you outside of the State of Arkansas. If I had known you were in Michigan, Laurie, I would have tried to drive over and see you. There are a lot of things I can't write and you will not understand at the present time anyway. It certainly isn't because I don't love you that I haven't been there. Since your mother had made it plain that I cannot see you unless she is with you, or a guardian whom she appoints, I doubt it would be any joy to either of us to have such an "interview".
"I have tried to get you to visit us, even though it would cost more to pay your way than drive down. I had hoped you would care enough for your old dad to want to at least spend a day or two a year. The coming of Sarah does not take away my love for you. I certainly hope she will never turn her back on me.
"I want you to know I did not leave you willingly. I was told to get out. I tried to do everything to have you children, even tho it seemed you didn't care for me.
"It makes me sad to think that my children do not have the opportunity to have a Christian education. You know it isn't a matter of money, as you can get the help you need if you desire to be in a Christian school.
"There are a lot of things you don't and can't understand now, that you will later on. I just want you to know that I haven't been to the State of Arkansas because I didn't love you.[sic]
"So far it seems however, that all I amount to is one to go to for money. I know almost surely if I ever hear from you, it will be something you want.
"The Lord has given us everything we could have desired. A wonderful wife who loves me. We are so very happy and now the blessing of this wonderful little girl. The work we are in is just exactly what I had always dreamed about. Our lodge here is the nicest place I've ever seen. The Lord has given that to us practically. We couldn't be happier in any way, except the sorrow of not having you children.
"The Lord has fulfilled to us the promise in Ps 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. The Lord has done that completely with the exception of you children. But someday we will see that fulfilled.
"Remember, you are always welcome with your dad, and I pray for you every day. With love Daddy."
* * * * * *
Jerry injured his shoulder, but it healed quickly. Not so with his knee. Apparently he inherited my problem knee which they had diagnosed as Osgood-Schlatter's knee. He had more trouble than I, with his leg turning unnaturally when the knee went out of place. I worried about it, but he played rough games in spite of the knee.
One day Patti came into the kitchen where trophies covered the bar, the table, the cabinets, and the floor. She looked around, then up at me.
"So I'll cherish the Old Rugged Cross, 'till my trophies at last I lay down," she sang, with a twinkle in her eyes. I laughed. I hear you, Baby. I thought. Will we ever lay them down? I was beginning to think we would never have a real shop, a real business. I tried to learn something about the state of our finances, but the answers were never satisfactory. I knew there was a lot of money coming in, but I didn't know anything about the out-go. I didn't even get to buy the groceries anymore. Al did the shopping for everything and brought it home, where I stayed and worked, except on Sabbath. I was still church organist. I guess they felt I was safely married now, so it was all right for me to play their organ.
* * * * * *
Sunday, November 5, 1967, from "New Mother":
"Dear Laurie, Your daddy was very happy to get a letter from you. Although you are busy he would certainly appreciate news from you more frequently. You and Jerry and your sisters mean a great deal to him. I would surely like to meet each of you, too, and wish it might be possible sometime soon. We wish you could visit us at our mountain cabin especially. Daddy keeps the Honda there and rides it a bit when we go up there.
"How much we wish you and Jerry were in our Adventist schools. While you are in a worldly school you don't realize the gradual pull to draw you away from a strong Christian experience. If it is not possible to attend one of our schools I believe that the Lord grants extra strength to meet the tests. However we cannot expect the Lord to help us when we place ourselves deliberately on dangerous ground."
She then told of her experience of being unable to attend the academy until the eleventh grade.
"It's true that at academy I was exposed to some ideas and conduct I had never seen in public school, but it was not necessary for me to partake of that atmosphere as there was so much of the positive beneficial kind to be influenced by.
"You would love your new little sister we're sure...Her first Sabbath out of the hospital she slept through three of Daddy's sermons.
"Laurie, I really don't know how you feel about your daddy, but I could surely hope that your daily connection with God were as close and faithful as his. I think you ought to know that he is a wonderful husband and daddy. I feel sure you have some misunderstandings that would be cleared up shortly if you had an opportunity to be with him for awhile. Believe me to be sincere in saying you and Jerry and your sisters are welcome anytime to stay as long as you wish in our happy home."
"Honey, do you intend to answer this letter?" I asked Laurie after he handed it to me to read.
"No, Ma'am", he answered.
"Do you mind if I do?"
"Have at it," he replied. So I wrote the lady who would counsel my sons.
"I appreciate your interest in my children as shown in your recent letter. It was very thoughtful of you to be concerned. We were all happy to hear of your husband's spiritual progress. I have believed that as he grew older he would begin to mature spiritually, and hopefully, emotionally. If, after fifteen years of marriage to him, you have had no female third parties, we shall truly rejoice with you. I am sure you are a great help to him, a good balance wheel.
"My children are fine. They are being raised as close to the standards of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as it is possible for us to do. This is the only standard. Certainly not human patterns, even parents."
She had asked about Reader's Digest and another book for them, and I told her that we had them both, which we did.
"I always keep good books aplenty for my family.
"Thank you again for your interest. When by realization and confession of past wrongs (do you want names, dates and places?) your Reverend husband rids himself of his guilt feelings, I'm sure you will be given the opportunity of meeting his children, which are also, and mostly, mine, as there is no power on this earth which can tear me from them. Look at your own baby and ask yourself to whom would you turn her over if her father left you for others and you will know the answer. He publicly stated that he didn't want these children in the first place - it was my idea. So - I wanted them, I bore them, I cared for them, before and after their father left us, and this is the home they love. You may also remember that Laurie lived with him thirteen years, Jerry eleven. Perhaps they could tell you some things.
"Any time you feel concern for my children, I shall be happy to answer your questions."
Tacky? Maybe. Through the years I have noticed when a divorced father remarries, "new mother" always begins a campaign to help "get his children". Which may be either good or bad, depending. In this case, the lady only needed a little more time with her "wonderful" husband. I could not gloat when the whole scenario played out in her own life.
November 27, 1967:
Sometime ago I wrote you and felt you didn't receive it as your mother answered the letter. Your daddy is surely proud of you and longs to see you. Of course I would like to see you and get acquainted with you, too, and hope it may soon be possible.
I'm sure you would love your little sister. She is such a happy baby and gets more lovable every day.
Your daddy and I have a very happy home, Laurie, and we invite you to spend some time with us when you can. You would certainly be happy here.
Lovingly, Lucinda Dulane
The wife of a former conference president said that Lucinda was right at Bryan's side, always - even with the baby in her arms. What she actually said was, "The woman never lets him out of her sight." So Lucinda read me, even though she didn't want to.
Bryan wrote at the same time. Laurie had requested a reading we thought his dad might still have, and Bryan answered regarding that. Then he wrote:
"I was happy to know your address where you work. (Laurie had written on the company stationary where he was doing his work - study program at an architectural firm.) I don't know whether you get the mail we send or not. Lucinda wrote you a nice letter and you didn't mention receiving it, and your mother answered it. So I'm happy to have an address where I can write to you. Lucinda offered to send you a book she thought you would like, in case you didn't receive the letter. At least I believe you should thank her for that and also her interest in you, inviting you to visit at any time. You know, Laurie, one of the greatest sins is ingratitude. This is what broke the heart of Jesus on the cross. [Theology?] He was willing to do so much for His people and they rejected Him. It broke His heart. If you can learn one thing early in life, and that to always express thanks and appreciation for a favor or kindness done for you, it will go a long ways. It is easy to do.
"I know you're not growing up in that kind of environment. In the recent letter from your mother, instead of thanking me for what I had sent she made sluring (sic) remarks.
"We are helping an attractive little girl here to get settled in an adventist (sic) home. She is 17 and has had some real problems. We hope to be able to make something out of her. She was rejected by her mother. Since I know what it is to be rejected by those you love, my heart goes out to her...
"I was told by your mother and her mother to get out of the house. Since they could put me out by law I had no choice but to go. [Tell it often enough, ol' boy, and you will believe it yourself. Besides, that kind of story attracts a lot of sympathy.]
"I have never made the statement I didn't want you children. That is another of the untrue statements she makes. I would do anything in my power to have you and still will. However, the state always gives custody of the children. (sic) I refused to sign the divorce for some time, hoping there was a way I could get you children. I would be so happy if I could see you, but it will not be in Arkansas.
" We care very much for you children and have tried to communicate it to you. However, our communications do not always get through.
"I haven't tried to embitter you against your mother. You are a grown man, now, and capable of seeing some things. I do have in my files a copy of the court order in Brownsville court, finding your mother lied under oath in the matter of child support.
"Lucinda is the most wonderful girl a person could have. For the first time in my life I have a pardner (sic) who really knows what true love is. We have a wonderful home. Your mother can write and try to cause trouble as she has already, but it doesn't bother us. We have the sweetest little doll you ever saw. She loves her daddy, and I don't think she will ever change.
"I am planning something special for your graduation if you can come and spend a little while with us. You are 18 by that time and you can choose to visit your father. I will send you money to come, and we will find you a car so you can drive back. We would like to talk to you seriously about your future. You have such wonderful and unusual capabilities we are anxious for you to use them in the Lord's work.
"We will be willing to get you a good used car as we feel that now you are capable of using one to an advantage. However, we will not come down there to buy it. If you are interested, let us know."
He tantalized Laurie with a description of several cars, including a yellow and black convertible he had at that time, then after the usual "souls report", he concluded:
"I've been looking for suits. [I had told him the boys could use suits.] $80.00 out of one check is almost more than we can afford, but we'll do the best we can as I am sure you need a nice suit. With love, Daddy."
The "best we can" turned out, not surprisingly, to be nothing.
* * * * * *
Now what, I wondered, did he mean about the Brownsville Court finding their mother guilty of perjury? I got upset and fell all to pieces. Al said,
"Call the Brownsville court and find out what it's all about."
It had been nearly three years since I had entered reciprocal action for child support at Brownsville, and made no connection between that and what Bryan was alleging. The court clerk was surprised when I told her my ex stated that I had committed perjury in the Brownsville court.
"You were not here for a court action?"
"No, ma'am, I was not."
"You didn't know about it?"
"No. Can you find out when it was?" I asked.
"Hold on a minute," she said. "Here it is. February 17, 1965."
"I entered a reciprocal action for child support at about that time," I said.
"But you weren't notified about a court date? You didn't know there was to be further action than child support?"
"No, ma'am, I surely did not."
"Hmm-mm. Well, I'll tell you what, honey. You send me the $25.00 required and I'll type up the transcript and mail it to you. I can't believe the attorney for the plaintiff didn't apprise you of this action."
I thanked her and got the address. It was some weeks before I could get the $25.00 together. I had quit teaching to run Al's business, and knew nothing of our finances. I never had money of my own to use without asking for it, but he said he would get it for me. I finally sent for the transcript in March of 1968.
* * * * * *
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF CAMERON COUNTY, TEXAS
107TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
PAT P. DULANE :
vs. : NO. 44,712-A
BRYAN DULANE :
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS HAD
FEBRUARY 17, 1965
(After I read the usual questions establishing names, causes, et cetera, I read these interesting excerpts from the 25 page document.)
Q. Are you presently employed, Mr. Dulane?
A. No, sir.
Q. How are you supporting yourself at this time?
A. By donations from some members of the Adventist Church.
Q. What is your occupation?
A. I'm an ordained minister.
Q. In what church?
A. Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Q. At this time you do not have a church?
Q. And were an order to be entered, then, if you make any payments you'd have to make it out of the donations that's being given to you?
By Attorney for Defendant
Q. Bryan, did you review your wife's affidavit as to the amount of money she says she needs?
A. I did.
Q. She shows a total amount of $287 per month. Are there any items in that that are capital investments?
Q. That's the trailer she's purchasing and the piano she's purchasing?
A. That is right, yes.
Q. You know whether or not she has any other musical instruments for the children?
A. She does.
Q. What is it?
A. Conn Electronic Organ.
Q. Did you give it to her?
A. I gave it to her [Oh, what about that plane trip to Washington and the court order I paid for?]
Q. And does she have a house in Little Rock?
A. She does.
Q. And the house is just for vacations or other than necessities for living?
A. As far as I know. [WHAT?? Where is it? I've been looking for that house of my own all my life!]
Q. You're not contesting the fact that a hundred dollars a month is reasonable for the support of the children, are you, Bryan?
Q. You think that would be a fair amount if you were earning money?
A. That is right.
Q. Why can you not get a church and earn money?
A. Because the situation involving the divorce, the charges that she has made do not permit me to bring my credentials from under fire.
Q. Has she made any other charges against you?
Q. What else.
Q. You have been exonerated of that, have you not?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You have been exonerated of desertion?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Now, the charge of adultery, is that a true or false charge?
A. It's false.
Q. How did she happen to levy that charge?
A. Well, she got involved with an Iranian man recently when we were in Iran. I did what I could to break up her relations with this fellow, and I could not. She was put out of the country by our mission over there, who refused to renew her residence permanently whereby she could stay. And it so angered her that she levied these charges against me.
Q. In other words this is a question of self-defense on her part; she levied the charges on you before anything was brought up against her?
A. I think so.
Q. Did she ever comment to you that she had had adulterous relations with anybody?
A. She charged me with not being able to give her sexual satisfaction and told me this other fellow could. That's why she wanted him and wanted to get rid of me.
Q. And that was before your divorce?
Q. Do you know the name of this other man?
A. (Andrew's full name, carefully misspelled, was given.)
At this point more finances were discussed, re-iterating the amounts of checks Bryan has sent us. They included birthday checks to the boys, as well as the $750.00 which was my settlement at the divorce, which proved to the court that Bryan had "more than complied with the decree"! No mention ever made of the fact that most of his compliance had been as a result of additional court orders which I had continuously obtained.
Q. Bryan, are you making any representation to the Court that you believe that $25.00 is adequate support of four children?
A. I never said that.
Q. If and when you are restored to the pulpit and given a church would you be willing to contribute a hundred dollars a month for the support of those four children?
A. If I'm at the time able to.
Q. Well, will you be able to?
A. I think so.
Bryan's attorney: The man's not earning any money. I hate to say this in front of Bryan, but the only thing he seems to be doing is spoiling my son's television programs on Sunday mornings. He sings on television for which his uncle pays him or donates to him a hundred and fifty dollars a month. If that money does not last - and it hasn't been -- He piles in with one of his relatives. And he has a foreign car, and I do know that at some time towards the end of the month he has to rely upon Dr. Cousin for gasoline money. He is in no position, and I don't think the Court should order him to pay Dr. Uncle's money for the support of the children, although he has been providing them the amount provided in the decree.
I would suggest an order at this time denying the relief temporarily, retaining jurisdiction so that in the event he is able to obtain employment in his calling - and he's not trained for anything else - that the Court can then enter the appropriate order for a proper amount of child support.
COURT: You may step down.
In the opening statements of this action, Attorney for the plaintiff had stated:
"The defendant is in court with his attorney of record and it's stipulated between the parties that service has not been made [meaning I had not been told of the action] but it's not necessary to make. He's making an appearance here today and waiving any questions as to venue and jurisdiction." On page 18 of the transcript Bryan's attorney says,
"We waived by 18 days out of the normal 20 to answer this matter;" on page 19 the Attorney ad lidem [mine, appointed by the Court] states,
"this was just brought to my attention yesterday;" and the Judge, on page 20 says,
"He having prematurely presented himself to the Court..."
When I showed the entire transcript to my attorney in Little Rock, he said, "Pat, I've never seen anything like this in my life." He had told me at another time that the laws were set up to protect the guilty - not the innocent.
"Money changed hands somewhere. In the first place, they were required to wait the twenty days and the attorney ad lidem was supposed to contact you about the court date. Having the hearing the day after he was notified gave you no time to appear or answer." And the following attempt to smear me with no facts whatsoever infuriated us both:
COURT: (to Bryan's attorney) Mr. E., did your client indicate when he was going to secure employment? Is there any certainty at all, and if so, any certainty as to date?
Mr. E. Judge, the situation has not firmed up, but if a finding could be obtained from the Court exonerating him of adulterous conduct by his testimony - and we have enough evidence there to put it in - and if we have a further finding, without using the tar brush too heavily, that his wife has been accused of the act of adultery in such a way that the Texas Conference can sink their teeth into something, I think he could have a church within a matter of a month or less. But the way it stands now he has no more chance of getting a church. He's under a double stigma, and until he gets rid of those stigmas he can't have a church. As a matter of fact, they just allowed him to come back within the last 60 days as a member of the church. I studied Canon Law of the Adventist Church to see if there was some way we could bring it to a head and force the church to recognize that the accusations made against him were entirely hearsay.
I failed to asked Bryan one question, Judge. I would like to ask him that question.
COURT: Ask him from where he is sitting.
Mr. E. Bryan, you testified that you were accused of adulterous conduct and homosexuality. Were either of those charges true?
A. Neither were true and neither were proved.
Q. Neither were true; is that correct?
A. That is right.
COURT: Well, Reverend Dulane, do you anticipate seriously - are you telling the Court under oath that you feel like you can secure employment within the next so many days or months?
A. I feel like that there's a very good possibility, in consulting with the president of our Texas Conference, whom I talked to just a few days ago. And what he wants to do is to get the information in his hands so he can be clear to employ me again. And that's what we are waiting for right now. When that's clear I can be employed immediately.
Mr. S., attorney for the plaintiff, was asked if he got any correspondence from this end [mine] of the matter.
Mr. S. None whatsoever. I have a copy of the petition and the letter, of course, in the file forwarding from the Clerk of the Court. There's no other - fact of the matter, this was just brought to my attention yesterday
COURT: I would like to have some confirmation in there so we won't have to keep having hearings, Mr. E. - that a hundred dollars is a reasonable amount. He having prematurely presented himself to the court, the court could start this hundred dollars, well, say on April 1st, or May 1st, some such time down in the future as would give him an opportunity to start his employment so we won't have to have another hearing. And I think the only thing, Reverend Dulane, that you should realize is that if you find that you cannot find employment in your chosen field, these children still have to eat, you understand, and I would like to put that date not later than April 1st, I think; that some way that you'd go to work as a clerk or ditchdigger or something else. Any way to see that these children eat - and they've got to eat. And that's our responsibility. We'd like to co-operate with you every way we can, so you could stay in your chosen field. And I'm going to let your attorney draw up an order for presentation to Mr. S. and we'll try to clear you, as the testimony has indicated here and nothing to the contrary, nothing having been shown.
Mr. E. Bryan, how about it? If and when an order is entered exonerating you of the charge of adultery and fixing the blame on your wife, how long would it take? how long do you think it would take before you would be employed?
[Bryan did a lot of hedging at this point, and wouldn't guarantee them a date.]
Finally the Judge reluctantly agreed to June the first, and insisted on $100.00 per month.
"I'll make it June 1st, but I wish though, that you would realize that regardless of what type of employment, these children - the hundred dollars a month will stand."
* * * * * *
I was stunned at the lies. Shocked. Devastated. Once again I had been placed in the middle, with four men judging me, three of whom had never even met me! And I had not even known, or had the privilege of defending myself! Months earlier I had requested a hearing by the "brethren", at which time I would produce original, canceled air-letters between Bryan and Mother; witnesses; character witnesses. I was suddenly aware that no one was truly interested in justice. Men will stick together, both in and out of the church; and money is power. It was beginning to get through to me that the church which calls itself "The Truth", couldn't face up to real truth, whether among its members or in the Scriptures.
I thought, as I was writing down these rememberings, that it might be interesting to see what kind of order these men devised. It took a number of long-distance calls and several letters, but finally one pleasant clerk in the court in Brownsville sent me what I needed. I won't bore you with all the legal preliminaries, as what I was interested in was the "finding, without using the tar brush too heavily," that I had committed adultery.
In the first place, Bryan and his attorney told the court that I had sworn that he had sent me only $125.00 total child support since our separation. That psyched the Court into an automatic prejudice against me from the beginning. By waiving eighteen of the twenty required waiting days, as well as the required notification of my court clerk, there was not time to check the accuracy of that amount. In Bryan's Answer he states:
"Defendant would show the Court that listed as a current expense for rent is the monthly cost of purchasing a trailer in the amount of $61.50; and a further capital expenditure shows the monthly installment for the purchase of a piano in the amount of $19.00 per month, or a total of $80.50 for capital expenditures. Defendant would show the Court that Plaintiff has a suitable home in Little Rock, and the trailer is probably purchased for the enjoyment of vacations if and when taken. At the time of the divorce, Defendant gave to Plaintiff a Conn organ which was and is more than adequate for the musical education of the children, and no necessity arose whereby Plaintiff was required to purchase a piano."
Well, was it the trailer or the house in which I was going to take vacations? His answer in court was different from his complaint. And any music teacher knows that you don't start serious students on a spinet organ! Even if they were headed for organ studies, three grades of piano are required. And no organist considers a spinet organ to be a real organ! Oh, well.
And now for the biggy:
"Defendant would show the Court that at the time the Plaintiff filed her action for divorce against Defendant, Defendant had accused Plaintiff of adulterous conduct with various people in Iran and in parts of the United States. When Defendant requested an explanation of Plaintiff she admitted the adulterous conduct but attempted to fasten the blame for her conduct on Defendant and has even circulated rumors that this Defendant was guilty of adulterous conduct, which accusation is entirely false. Until Defendant is able to show to the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventist that he has had a hearing on the purported adulterous conduct of Defendant, Plaintiff and their children in a manner in which he would like to support them. In this respect, Defendant would like a finding of the Court exonerating him from the false accusation of adultery and have a further finding based upon testimony to be presented to the Court that Plaintiff was engaged in adulterous practice."
His Answer closed with a request that "Plaintiff take nothing by her suit" and "pray that this Court enter an Order denying Plaintiff the relief requested."
Then the order mentioned in the transcript:
"Defendant will be unable to comply with such order until June, 1965, for the reason that Defendant is an ordained minister by profession and has not been employed as a minister because his former wife has leveled certain charges against Defendant impugning immorality, in this, that Pat P. Dulane, in order to excuse her commission of adultery, has falsely accused Defendant Bryan Dulane of having committed adultery and that the charges made by Plaintiff are false and made only for the purpose of hiding her own transgressions; That as soon as Defendant can prove to his Church Conference that he had been exonerated of the offense of adultery and that Plaintiff is guilty of the commission of adultery, which has been herein established by the evidence, Defendant will be given a church at which time he will earn a sufficient sum of money to pay $100.00 per month for the support of the said minor children..." The court then ordered Bryan to continue his $25.00 per month until June 1965, "or until such earlier time and defendant obtains adequate employment as a minister of the gospel or other compensating employment."
Unfortunately, Bryan did not know anything about the gospel", nor did the Church. Nor, as a matter of fact, did I at that time.
* * * * * *
The architectural firm where Laurie was working as an apprentice draftsman was full of tobacco smoke, and he became more and more tired. When he began to cough I sent him to the doctor, who discovered he had "walking pneumonia" with posterior right lung involvement. He was in the hospital for over a week. We took him off all the wood sanding, also. The walnut dust probably figured as part of his problem.
The business had grown to the extent that our immediate family plus the two sisters-in-law couldn't keep up with it, so to keep the work load down, Al began ordering ready-finished bases. That way we only had to finish out a few high-point and special bases. That was a relief, as the dust had bothered all of us except Al.
Laurie graduated in May with high honors and a full college scholarship. He and Jerry had gone to school together in their old Jeep for the last time. I don't know if they thought about it or not. They had been together all those years, and now it was time to start their separate ways. I had hoped my sons would establish a joint business or professional venture together, but that was not to be. They had to find their own ways. Jerry had finished his first year at Metropolitan. Patti and Tammi had had a good school year. One of the church teachers who had taught both boys and Patti at one time or another said to me with astonishment one day,
"Do you know that I have never caught any of your three children in a lie? That is most remarkable, I think." I was proud of my children.
Al bought a V W bus, one of those awkward little vans. Both boys were busy delivering, as well as making, trophies. One day Jerry had to run an errand for the business. Tammi wanted to go along and it was okay with Jerry, so I permitted it. It was a typical summer-twenty-per-cent-chance-of-storms day here in tornado alley. Warnings were crawling across the TV screens, dark clouds ominous on the horizon.
The errand done expeditiously, the children were on their way back when the rain started. Climbing a curving hill, a sudden down-draft blew the little van to the side of the road where the wheels dropped about six inches onto the washed-out shoulder. The wind, wet road, hill, curve, plus an out-of-line rear-end on the van - everything was against the young driver. As he was trying to pull the vehicle back onto the road, the van rolled, landing on its top in the middle of the road, just out of sight of oncoming traffic on the other side of the hill. Always clear-headed, Jerry pulled Tammi out and ran to the closest house and called home.
"Mother? Mother, we've had a wreck."
"Oh, Honey, are you hurt?"
"No, but I wrecked the car!"
"Well, are you okay? Is Tammi hurt?"
"I'm okay. Tammi's scared and wet. The lady here has a blanket around her and she called the wrecker for us. But Mother, I've wrecked the car. It's ruined."
"I don't care about the car. Just if you and Tammi are alright. Let me see if the neighbors are at home. I'll be there as soon as I can."
My children's wrecks have usually found me home without transportation. Fortunately my neighbor was at home. She met me coming down our road and took me to the kids. Jerry did have a rather nasty cut in the top of his head, and our neighbor took us on in to the hospital where the children were examined and Jerry's head was stitched up. The van was hauled off and pronounced "totaled". I wasn't too sorry. It had always driven like it was tired all the time, and one of us was enough. I didn't need a tired car, too!
We replaced it with a Plymouth station wagon, so we still had room for family and friends, or trophies. But the important thing is that my children were alive and well. No one had come too quickly over the hill before or after the children got out of the van, so there was no second accident, either. I took the stitches out of Jerry's head ten days later rather than take him to the hospital. I had had enough stitches taken out - the right and the wrong way - to know how to do it painlessly. All's well that ends well. Thank God, that ended well.
* * * * * *
The new pastor at Little Rock had been a school mate at Keene, and a long time friend of Bryan. In fact, I had been his practice accompanist when he was rehearsing for the tenor solo parts for Messiah.
One day he came out and after we had visited awhile he started asking me questions about my problems with Bryan, then Will. I had vowed never to talk of it again, but I told him all about it in response to his gentle nudgings - all the sordid messes. When he left, I felt emotionally dirty. I had pretended it was all behind me, pretended that I was in good psychological health, pretended my marriage was both right an comfortable, pretended I was happy - the only thing I never pretended about was my fierce love and concern for my children. Bless them! I don't know how they survived it all. Maybe the knowledge of my care for them helped.
But the marriage, I thought after the preacher left. I had married another man, not because I was in love with him, but because he had convinced me that it was the right thing to do. My great lack of both self-esteem and physical energy led to my believing his promise to help me with my financial problems in raising the children. I had already put all my household goods up as collateral for him. I still didn't know the state of our finances, but had an uneasy feeling about it. The marriage certainly hadn't lessened the fatigue problem. In fact, I was working longer, harder hours than ever before, sometimes sitting in a chair all night with pain in my "trophy wrench" arm. I finally had to see a doctor with it. My hardworking children and I were Al's ticket to his dream, and as a home business out on a little back road, he didn't have to meet the minimum wage, withhold taxes, or report income tax.
Of course, I didn't know all that at the time. He kept dangling the prospect of a separate building for the business before me like an apple just in front of the horse's nose, when in actuality he had no plan to move the business.
* * * * * *
Laurie apparently couldn't handle the liberalism of the University. I was really unhappy that he decided to quit when he had the entire four years covered, financially. True, it was Godless for the most part. But my extremely conservative mother had made it through. The sexual symbolism read into every story and poem in his literature class was disgusting, true enough. But since we have to live in this world we have to find a way to cope. However, I had wanted the children to have a vocation as well as a profession, so I agreed that he should take the nursing course at the Baptist Hospital. Then if he chose he could put himself through another college, another time. I never dreamed he would eventually go all the way to California for that college!
Jerry had been student council vice-president at Metropolitan in his junior year, but decided he would like to go to the Seventh-day Adventist Academy at Gentry, Arkansas. So the house was a lot quieter with one son away and the other involved in the heavy schedule of nurses training. The lady relatives seemed happy to have more work, and they couldn't beat the atmosphere - their favorite soap operas and records all day long! But I did miss my sons.
Both boys had made wise decisions, as Laurie found his "one and only", a lovely svelte redhead, in nurses training, and Jerry found his at academy, a petite, lively young lady, also a redhead. Laurie and his Joyce pinned each other and their pictures were on the front page of the hospital paper. Jerry and his Margaret emceed their Senior "Coming Out" festivities at Gentry.
* * * * * *
I had not been feeling well for some time. With the boys gone, I had much more work to do in the business, and Al insisted on continuing to work several nights a week at the bowling lanes for minimum wages. I thought he was there, anyway. I'm sure he was some nights, because he would call and I could hear the bowling balls. He had told me not to call unless there was a real emergency, and that he would call me when business was slack. Then there the nights when he was showing trophies. He very often didn't get in until after one or two o'clock in the morning. I never knew for sure where he was, and didn't really think to suspect him for a long time. Most of those long nights while he was out I was building trophies. The days were long during that time. Getting up to get my girls off to school, working with the two ladies, preparing supper, building trophies on into the night. Al was to say to me later that he had no idea how much I had been doing.
One day in late fall Laurie and his fiancée came in. I was alone, working as usual.
"Mom are you ok?", Laurie asked.
"I'm just awfully tired," I replied. Laurie felt my forehead, and went for the thermometer. My temperature was 101 degrees. Laurie went to the phone to make sure the doctor was in and would wait for us. He diagnosed a kidney infection.
"This had been dragging on until your entire system had become poisoned, Pat. Please," he shook his finger at me, "Please get some rest. That husband of yours will let you work yourself to death. You must get some rest. Can you guys take a vacation?"
I knew Al would say no way, as he was teaching daily, and we had a raccoon hunt as well as some horse shows to get out. We talked it over when Al got home that evening, and as I had expected he said there was no way. However, he said, why didn't I take a five day vacation to Hot Springs? I was hesitant, as I had never vacationed alone, In fact, I wasn't sure I remembered what a vacation was! I designed the upcoming show, wrote out all the instructions for the ladies, and packed some clothes, my portable sewing machine, portable radio and a couple of books in the car. The girls would stay with their cousins, so I wouldn't worry about them. I told them all they could contact me at the Hot Springs branch of the music store where I had done a lot of business through the years unless or until I could give them a phone number. I would probably enjoy going by and playing the latest instruments anyway.
The drive over was, as always, lovely and relaxing, even though I was uneasy about renting a motel on my own. I found a little place with kitchenette just out of town, and stopped there first. It was just what I wanted, though it didn't have a view of lake or mountains. Seated at the foot of a mountain, it looked out over a little park with a creek running through it and lots of big trees. I was satisfied with it. I unloaded the car and wondered what to do. I wasn't used to the feeling of having time on my hands! I watched a bit of TV, listened to some music, and went to bed. I lay awake a long time that night, worrying and wondering about my life.
I was Al's prize possession. And why wouldn't he prize me? I could work 18 hours a day. I was given a little money as I needed it, but mostly I didn't even get to shop for my own groceries. When he had come in last month with coats for the girls, bought only for their discount store cheapness, I was unhappy. Patti never did like her coat. I didn't have time to sew for the girls, practice my music other than for the church service, or do anything but work. I could turn out really artistic trophy designs for him which helped him take a lot of business away from other trophy companies.
Most of the deeds he did was from revenge, not from an innate idealism. When the black Seventh-day Adventists wanted to put their children in our church school, he hit the ceiling. And we could find Ellen White references to back him up, so even I, the unprejudiced one, went along with his views of the matter. I didn't know anything about our finances. I was completely out of control of my life and the girls lives, as he even disciplined my daughters. I was sure he was the main reason Jerry had gone away to school, as they hadn't done so well together.
Al had asked me to drop a present off for his daughter once, some time back, and she and her mother had screamed at me - lies, I was sure, about how I was number five, and other tacky things about Al. I heard thrown objects falling around me as I hurried back to my car and drove away, but not before I noticed the young boy standing over to the side - he looked exactly like his father! And Al had told me he was quite sure the boy was not his!
I had known the night we were married that I had made another mistake. But the man I had loved was wrong for me - he had a wife! So I married the man who should have been right for me, and was going to stay with it. But could I? Did I want to live the rest of my life this way? I knew that I didn't. I was a musician, but other than playing for the church, the only music in my life was listening to records as I built trophies. Oh, my goodness, how do I do it? I thought. One mess right after another one. If I ever get out of this one, I'll never marry again unless it's someone I want as much as he wants me. I've been talked into too many! I rolled over and cried myself to sleep.
* * * * * *
Next day I set up my sewing machine and made a dress. Sewing was fun, creative. I didn't have to be finished at any given time, so I enjoyed it. I had been too busy to accomplish any domestic jobs, and resting, to me, never meant lying up in bed. So I sewed with the TV on part of the time, the FM on part of the time, and little breaks to eat or lie down awhile.
The second day I decided I should go up to the music store to see if my family had sent me any messages. I walked through the front door and was surprised to see a man from the main store in Little Rock. I did not know him well, but he had demonstrated an occasional new instrument for me from time to time, and we had had some phone discussions concerning the old organ at the church where I played.
"Well, Dan Darnell!" I said, as he rose from his desk in the back of the store. "What on earth are you doing over here?" He met me halfway the length of the store and told me that he was managing the Hot Springs store for Mr. Neal, the owner. We visited a little while about nothing in general, and he showed me all the latest in Wurlitzer and Conn organs and I tried them out. We got into a conversation about playing by the chord method, which Dan had researched and taught himself. He had played guitar in dance bands and banjo for pizza parlors for years, so was no stranger to music. He was sold on the chord method for keyboard, and I, of course, being a classical musician, knew very little about chords. It has since amazed me that I, as well as other classically trained musicians I have met, was not aware that everything I played was a chord, or part of a chord, and could be named.
I knew majors, minors and sevenths, sixths, augmenteds and diminisheds, but I was not aware of some of the more exotic ones - ninths, lowered ninths, major sevenths, half-diminisheds, elevenths and - wow! - thirteenths! Dan was explaining his method to me, and it sounded interesting, though foreign, but I needed to hear it from the classical angle, as it would make sense quicker that way. When I indicated this to Dan, he said,
"Say, there is a fellow playing down at the Vapors that is a classically trained musician. You should hear him! Why don't you go with me to hear him tonight?" He saw my hesitancy, and figured that I didn't go to clubs. He knew a bit about Adventists, as he had been in an Adventist foster home as a youth.
"It'll be okay. It's a really nice place. And you don't have to drink." I told him I would think about it.
After I got back to my room I thought about it. I would really love to expand my musical abilities. A new music challenge was just what I needed. So, with a measure of unease, I went out to find a phone.
"I think I would like to go hear your friend," I said. "If you think it be all right for me to go."
All right? Dan was dying for me to go. And only part of the reason was music, I was to discover.
* * * * * *
I experienced a lot of guilt feelings as I climbed into the car with Dan. But after all, I wasn't doing anything immoral. We were just going to hear Don Alton play. And could he play! He sat at an organ with all the gadgets on it, an at his right was a piano, placed so the keyboards of both instruments were in an "L" shape. His treatment of "The Tennessee Waltz" with substitutions of major and minor sevenths was fantastic! "Alley Cat" had a walking bass that envisioned the prowling cat with a progression of five chords: C major 7, A9, D9, D minor 7(9), D flat major 7, that got him through only the first two measures! I was hypnotized. We listened until the break, when Dan invited him over and introduced us.
After the break Dan asked me would I like to dance. I assured him I had never danced much, and knew nothing about ballroom steps, but he insisted that I try. So I walked all over his feet for awhile and we sat back down to our drinks - mine was 7Up. We had a nice quiet evening together and Dan returned me to my room.
The next night I went to the Vapors alone, and sat where I could talk to Don Alton and watch his hands. At his first break I told him,
"You've got to teach me those chords."
"I beg your pardon?" He looked a little startled, but I was to learn that was his natural look.
"You've got to teach me those chords," I looked at him pleadingly. "I've got to learn how to get those sounds into my music."
"Well, Dan and I have been discussing the possibility of me giving lessons at his store. I'll see what we can work out and he can let you know."
"Great!" I said.
The Republican Governors were having their convention in Hot Springs that year, so the lounge was full of strange faces. A nice-appearing gentleman moved into the empty seat beside me.
"You alone?" I nodded.
"May I join you?"
"Why not?" We introduced ourselves. He was Governor Ray's press secretary and was bored for the moment, as the Governors were in some kind of extended get-together. We chatted as we listened through Don's next set.
"Is there somewhere we can go? What else is going on in this hick town?"
Ignoring the slam, I told him I knew nothing of the night spots, as I was only there to hear Don Play.
"But it is a beautiful little town I grew up here. I could drive you around to some of the scenic spots."
I drove him to the look-outs on Tower and West Mountains. It is so pretty, and especially at night! Even a bored big-city person had to appreciate it. We sat on West Mountain for an hour or so, just talking. He was Jewish, and he talked a lot about his family, his job. Being Jewish, like being a Seventh-day Adventist, had its problems. He felt alone in the world even though one would think he had about everything he could ask for.
"Have you heard the song, `What's It All About, Alfie?'" he asked me.
"Yes, I have."
"Well, that's my question," he said. "I don't know what life is all about. Everything seems so hollow."
I had nothing to offer him. I didn't know Jesus. I knew the Ten Commandments, but so did he! One thing I did know though, and that was that we all feel alone at times. Even in a crowd, or family, yet, one can feel like the Lone Ranger. Once our self-esteem is healed by the knowledge of the fantastic price paid for our salvation, we not only quit feeling so alone, we quit driving everyone around us crazy while we are trying to "find ourselves"!
I let him out in front of the renowned Arlington Hotel and returned to my room.
* * * * * *
I was having too much time to think. Maybe some people are work-aholics just so they won't have time to think.
Dan came out to take me back to hear Don again. A teaching schedule for Don had been worked out at the store, and he would begin the next week. I told him I would come by and set up a weekly lesson time before I left for home.
We danced some more, and I walked on Dan's feet a bit less. His lead was gentler than most, so I was having to learn his moves. However, I tried hard to get his special rhythm, and did better. As we sat a number out, I with my Dr. Pepper and he with a beer and one cigarette after another, he looked at me and said, "You're not pretty, you know."
"But you are darned attractive," How does one respond to a statement like that? I just glared at him.
When he took me back to my room, we sat in the car and talked awhile, then he suggested we walk in the little park across the street. He sensed my despondency and since he didn't really want to leave anyway, we walked and talked. And talked. And talked. I don't know what time Dan left, but we surely knew each other a lot better after that night. Dan was many years into an unhappy marriage, but had conditioned himself to stay by until his sons were out of school. His mother had been taken away from him and his little brother, two years younger, when Dan was only five years old. Due to a chemical and hormonal imbalance problem, they had institutionalized her. I will never forget the picture in my mind when he told me of a little six year old boy, who, when taken for the first time to see his mother in that big, drab State Hospital, exclaimed, "But that's the bug house!"
His father was a member of the Little Rock Fire Department, so was only a visitor in the foster home where he placed his sons. Then, in their early teens Danny's brother died of pancreatic cancer. World War II was going strong, and Dan joined the Marines as soon as he graduated from high school. His best friend was killed. His life had been anything but easy. He, also, had found no real peace.
I shared how I had made one big mistake after another all my life, and how I had to try to please the church in everything - and of course, in my thinking the church and God were synonymous. Always had been. And even though there had bee unfortunate marriages, I still clung to the True Church.
Dan's foster mother had been a Seventh-day Adventist. He remembered times when he attended church with her and saw all those horrible beasts glaring menacingly at the congregation. He also remembered that it was the Catholic Church, the "whompuscat", which was to bring the wrath of the Devil down on the Sabbath-keepers, Ellen White's "little flock." Later, when he became a Catholic in order to marry, and lived inside it's spiritual domain for some twenty years, even joining the Knights of Columbus, he found nothing recognizable from what he had heard in the Seventh-day Adventist meetings. He didn't have to sign an oath in his own blood to kill even his mother if the Church demanded it! I was surprised, as I had seen with my own eyes, a copy of what was purported to be the Knights of Columbus oath passed around among SDA churches.
* * * * * *
I returned home after five days, physically better, but no better off mentally. The work, of course, was stacking up. Trophies to be designed, orders filled. I enjoyed the work, but there was just too much of it. Al wouldn't hire anyone outside the family. I did, however, stubbornly take off one afternoon each week and drive to Hot Springs for a lesson with Don. Dan asked me if I would like to teach a few students on that afternoon, so I took several, two of whom were to make themselves, and me, famous locally. Sometimes I would stay and dance with Dan awhile in the early evening, then head for home.
The week before Christmas came, and I still had done nothing about the holidays. There were trophies all over the house - against the walls, under and on the table, on the piano and organ, behind the couch, covering the kitchen cabinets and bar. Wolfie, protective in the extreme, always had to check out the house after we had had customers in, and as he went through the house his wagging tail would knock trophies all over the place! We learned to provide him with an escort after we had to replace several expensive dog figures whose tails were broken off as they fell behind him.
All the time tired, I just didn't feel like decorating for the holidays in all that confusion. When Jerry came in from academy he was stunned that the house didn't look like Christmas, and that was most unusual at our place. With a little help I got most of the trophies put out in the workroom, and made enough room for a tree and some wall decorations in one corner of the living room, so we had a little Christmas.
Laurie and Joyce wanted to marry during the holidays, and Laurie wanted the wedding to be at home! Whatever was I do to with all that mess?
The day of January three, the evening they had chosen, was a Sabbath. I didn't go to church. After everyone was gone I started in. It was a back-breaking job, moving my newer, larger organ to the other side of the room. I got the notion that if I could just get some doweling rods I had, under it, I could use them as rollers. It worked! As I rolled it off the back rod, I picked the rod up and brought it to the front, continuing across the length of the room. After I cleaned the tops of everything off into a box and hidden it away till after the ceremony, I vacuumed, and placed the couch and all our chairs in rows facing the tree. I had done the tree in silver and blue, my favorite colors, so I added some candleholders on three slanting lines down the wall, trimmed them with plenty of candles and a vase of white flowers completed the effect, and a white damask tablecloth-draped trunk provided a kneeling bench. Simple, but lovely, a nice backdrop for their pictures.
Joyce was much too young, but happy. Jerry had brought his fiancée, who sang several songs beautifully, and I played the organ. All in all, it was a pretty little wedding. I had covered the table and the unfinished bar in the kitchen with blue paper tablecloths, so no one could know the bar was full of holes to hold the drill, the engraver, and other machines, and that it was marked in feet and inches so that I could measure the height of trophies as I designed them. I had found some pretty little white satin bells, and they hung over the table. Joyce's mother bought the pretty cake, trimmed in blue - a lovely centerpiece on the deep blue tablecloth.
I was exhausted, but glad that everything had gone well. Not one person mentioned the hard day's work I had done on the Sabbath Day.
* * * * * *
Continue to Part 5 - ALL DRESSED UP - FINALLY!
"A HARD ROW TO HOE"
1. E. White, Manuscript 20, 1894, quoted in Evangelism, page 243.