Sunday, September 9, 2012

Looking Back at My First Wedding, September 4th, 1971

Tuesday night, September 4th 2012, a Hellish unusual fall wind storm hit Anchorage and south central Alaska. It also happened to be the anniversary of my first ill begotten marriage September 4, 1971, 41 years ago that was a disaster from the get go.

We, Paul Linden Spess and I had just graduated from Oklahoma State University that May. His major was Electrical Engineering and mine was Secondary Education with a major in Social Sciences and a minor in Spanish. However, living in Oklahoma during those days’ folks did not ask a young woman when they were going to complete their college degree, but when they were going to get their MRS. and start breeding politely know as having a family. In a sense I was sucked into that time warped culture, because I too went along with the first part.

One problem was I never really wanted to be a married person or have a traditional family. As a child I always consider myself an aspiring intellectual, a wanted to be “beat” in some sort of deformed poor white trash way. At the age of ten I preferred ballet to rock and roll, loved books, knowledge acquisition and as a teen would have probably preferred death to being just a housewife. Wow, to me, to get to give birth, change diapers and cook meals was a life sentence in H E double hockey stick. But life does have a way of trapping us in to what we least expect or want at times. It seems the Creator has a sense of humor and the joke is on the human race, me in this case.

After graduation in May 1971 Lindy worked temporarily for his family’s small oil company in Cleveland, Oklahoma while looking for a job free of family ties. I moved nearby to Tulsa with a college acquaintance and got a dead end job at Oklahoma Natural Gas working in Collections. After working my butt off for four years, I was in trauma, discovering too late, while practice teaching, my degree to be a high school Spanish and Social Science teacher, was not much more than a high paid baby sister of mostly disrespectful teenagers. So I gave office work a shot desperate for a job. It was almost as bad as teaching, The real disappointment was when President Nixon froze wages in the fall of 1971 and I was due for one. Fortunately I was able to give notice after six months. Lindy and I decided to go back to Oklahoma State and work on graduate degrees in January 1972. My plan was to teach college Spanish and Lindy thought about being an environmental lawyer, neither of which ever happened.

Now back to our wedding day September 4th, 1971 at the First
Christian Church in Chelsea. It was Oklahoma; it was miserably hot, in the days before air conditioning. I wore a high school friend’s wedding dress and my maid of honor, my cousin Judy, wore a gown she had worn in another friend’s wedding. We were thrifty, as in waste not want not. We did have flowers, cake and a worthless photographer whose name I can’t remember. I can’t even remember the name of the best man. Anyway, the photographer took the pictures in black and white not color.

Dad had brought my biological family from Illinois down for the wedding. He happen to be late to our wedding saying he got ”lost“ and he‘d been a cab driver in Chicago. I don‘t think so. I figured it was because I asked Grandpa Robert, his father in law, who raised me for the most part, to do the “giving me away“ part of the ceremony. My sister Angie says it was because Dad was busy making plans to burn their house down in Southern Illinois for insurance money. Dad was pretty unhappy that I was marrying into a rich Republican oil family, being a dyed in the wool New York labor union man and Democrat. Either way Dad got there in time to eat cake and to have his picture taken, but the photographer neglected to take my Grandpa’s picture. The Great Spirit‘s sense of humor? Or the Devil at work?

Reverend Billings performed the wedding ceremony and 17 years later in February 1988 in the same church and he would perform my Grandfather Robert’s funeral. The day we married was a bit better day, but not much. We made the mistake of trying to open all the gifts we were given in the unforgiving heat. We opened gifts for two hours until we finally gave up sweating like hogs. Lindy’s folks, Paul and Wilma Spess, eventually gathered our gifts together for us. We took off for my least favorite place, Dallas, Texas and Six Flags. We spent the first night in my second least favorite place OKC. Nothing was right about our wedding, except we did care about one another. He was a good person and in a sense I loved him and always will, but we were a mismatch. He was raised as a conservative and myself a nonconformist to the core. My plans for life were to see and experience the world and it seemed to me Lindy thought Oklahoma was the world. His idea of a good time was playing basketball and watching football, the later which I detest; mine is cross country skiing, listening to music, being with my dog and anything but organized sports.

After my sister Angie, who came to live with us in 1974, completed high school in Sapulpa in 1976 we moved to Shawnee, Oklahoma. Lindy had gotten a promotion with Oklahoma Gas and Electric. Meanwhile, for a year I attended Graduate School at Oklahoma University in Norman. Not being satisfied with life there and having wander lust, I decided to pull out and headed for Niagara Falls, NY in the summer of 1977, then back to Oklahoma where I met another Joe, (not the Joe I married) and headed to Alaska, landing in Anchorage, August 19, 1978, the best day of my life!

Eventually, after a year working for the Anchorage School District bilingual education program and spending the summer of 1979 helping chaperone Anchorage Bartlett high schoolers in Valencia, Spain, I went back to Oklahoma to get officially divorced. We both cried at the hearing, but we were not cut from the same cloth. Our situation was like the movie, “The Way We Were”. I settled for a meager $5,000 divorce settlement, my sister Angies still tells me I was crazy but I felt a great sense of guilt which I no longer feel, now I just feel crazy. (The money went toward my first piece of Alaska real estate in Rabbit Creek Heights which I owned 25 years and sold and invested in a lifetime annuity in 2005.) After the hearing, my sister, Angie, Lindy and I went out for coffee and desert. We took pictures and said our goodbyes. I’ll never forget the desert menu said “happy endings”. The Creator’s sense of humor at work again?

A couple of years after our divorce Lindy’s parents would have a bitter divorce after a lifetime together and four kids. Fortunately Lindy and I didn’t breed, something his folks always were pressing us to do. Today Lindy is following in my footsteps trying to raise two older adopted boys, one of which has left and wants no part of the adoptive family. No surprise, as adoptions seldom work out unless an infant is adopted. I had hoped it would work out better for him and his wife than it did for me and my new husband of 30 years, Joe, but it didn‘t.  The Devil at work again or maybe, just maybe the Creator's sense of humor at work again?

September 9th, 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment