Rose Garden

I could write a blog in honor of the 4th of July; but I decided to make this one very special for a change. I have other times to do that.  So this blog will be in memory of my folks; who were married for 40 years as of July 3rd.  They’re not around anymore but this blog is a special honor to them.

Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson was there song.  There was never a rose garden and their marriage wasn’t all that rosy either.  There must had been some love there for their marriage to last that long.  Like another country song by Michael Martin Murphey, called, “What Forever For,” could also describe their marriage.

My mother wanted to get married on the 4th but the Priest wouldn’t do it.  So they compromise and got married on the 3rd instead.

Their marriage had its ups and downs.  You can decide if it was love or co-dependence.

They met in a bar.

There was a time when they were dating and I guess my real father walked into the bar.  He saw her with him.  My future step-dad said, “If he didn’t quit his staring, he was going to have to let him have it.”  My mother calmed him down by saying that he was my father.”

You tell me would you put up with that jealousy rant?

My mother didn’t knew at first that he had 6 kids at the time.  He thought he only had about 4.  When she was doing special cleaning for an elderly lady who read fortunes, she had her fortunes read and was told that she would marry a man with 6 kids.  He didn’t want to bring all 6 kids to live with us.  He would left 2 in foster care permanently.  One was already of age and the other was practically of age.  The only 2 he would had taken was Barb and Shirley.  Barb for babysitting duty and Shirley as a playmate for me.  My mother told him all of them will come to live with us.

As I mentioned in my blog, “The Lesson I learned from Dad,” he asked me if I wanted him for a dad.

One night while mom was sleeping in the house in North Fargo, he got inside; back then you really didn’t had to lock your door.  He knelt down by mom’s bed and said, “Either you marry me or you will never see me again.”  Mom thought that was romantic.  what do you think?  Was it romantic or was it creepy?

When they got married, none of us kids weren’t there out of fairness.

After they were married, they came to pick me up at my babysitter.  I ran outside to the car and trip over the sidewalk.  Once I got into the car, I asked, “Daddy, kissed my owie!”

I remember going to Duluth, MN with them shortly after.  I even got pictures.

Right around my birthday was when the rest of the family came to live with us.  It was exciting and yet scary at the same time.  Ronny went with mom and I out for my birthday and I guess I was so excited that I told everyone who would listen that he was my brother.  If I only knew then what I know now; but that is whole different blog.

In my family was like the Brady Bunch from tv; at least I thought.  As I grew up, I came to realize that we were far from it. I’m not going into the family dynamics because that is a whole different blog; that I may or may not print.

They say a woman would marry someone like their father and a man would marry someone like their mother.  So I guess you can say, dad was a lot like Grandpa Heger.  He loved his whiskey and brandy.  He was controlling and abusive.

Mom was an independent woman, you would say a Feminist.  Yet she seems to be co-dependence when it came to him.  Don’t get me wrong, they had their share of arguments.  He just couldn’t control her like he wanted to at first.

There was a time as the Alaska pipeline was being built, that he wanted to move to Alaska, but she refused to moved the family with him.

We didn’t moved down to the farm right away.  I was in the 6th grade when we finally moved down on the farm.  By then there were just 2 of us kids at home.

When they had their first grandkids, they both were very happy.  Mom had oldest granddaughter all dress up when he decided to take her out and bought black licorice for her.  Boy, was she pissed; need I say more!  He was very proud of his only grandson, that he bounced him on his knees.

Once we got on the farm, he was able to get a little more control of her.

When they voted, they usually vote for the person not the party; but it was mostly Democrat, and they voted together.

When they first got married, they had one car between the 2 of them.  They would grocery shop together.  I remember even one time as a family going to the old Starlight drive-in Theater on a Friday night.  When we were out West and were given a Chihuahua, named Peanuts.  The picture was taken of Shirley and I with Peanuts with our folks.  Thinking about that now, I came to realize that that dog was ours, not the oldest kids.

When he lost his job at Steiger tractor, luckily we were living on the farm at the time.  Mom became the ultimate breadwinner.  Not saying that he didn’t made his share fixing farmer’s equipment.  He still did his drinking and became even more violent.  Not saying he wasn’t before.  When he discipline, he would beat us kids.  One time he was drunk and angry and threw a kitchen table and made a hole in the wall; that he later turned it into a magazine rack.

Shortly after that he quit his drinking cold turkey; but he was still a dry drunk.  I guess mom had enough and must had told him to quit his drinking or else.  I found out later that she went to see a lawyer when us kids were younger to check on her rights in getting a divorce.  The lawyer told her that she could easily get the kids and the farm and he would had to pay child support.

There were happy times also in their marriage so it wasn’t all hell; but there was no rose garden for her.  It seems after us younger kids grew up and left the nest, mom’s anchor was gone.  They really didn’t have much in common to talk about.  Somehow they still must had loved each other or was it co-dependence?  Was mom afraid to leave him or was it love like she always said?

At first, mom hated the farm because she felt trap.  Once she got to know some of the neighbors out there, it became different.  There was this one neighbor, Loraine Marvig that she hung out with.  Dad didn’t care for her because she was also friend with his first wife and he thought that his first wife had an affair, so he thought mom would also have an affair too.  So his jealousy rage came out again.

When mom had the stroke, he became very scared of losing her.  They made 40 years together; something mom never thought they would do.  When they made 25 years, us kids celebrate their anniversary at the church in Rollag.  Even one Christmas, us kids got together and bought them a microwave oven.

My mother kept right working even while collecting Social security.  She said, “If she retired, dad would had drove her crazy.”  She would lose her independence.

Every morning when she came home from work, she would check to see if he was still breathing.  She was more concern about him than her own health.

When they were younger, he would start the car for her to get it warm before she went off to work.  He would fixed the car for her until he gotten too old to do so.

He bought her last car for her.  She felt that it was his way of controlling her.

When she was in the nursing home, he was there every day/every weekend to see her.  I guess he really enjoyed seeing her company that she was getting, because not many came to see him.

All she wanted to go back home with him.  He wasn’t able to take care of her.  She worried more about him than her own health.

When she died, you could a part of him died with her.  He became depressed and didn’t eat right.  He wasn’t the kind to shed a tear; but you can tell that he truly missed her.  He soon went downhill after her death, like he just gave up on living.  He had a headstone made that will be for the both of them when he died.  He planted a yellow Daffodil on her grave; so that it will come back every year.  So you can in the end she had her rose garden.

Was there marriage love or was it co-dependence?  Was she a fool for staying with him all those years?  She said that she loved him.

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