|Biographical Non-Fiction posted June 30, 2022||Chapters:||...155 156 -157- 158...|
1995 had turned out to be a terrible year for me.
A chapter in the book Remembering Yesterday
Putting to Rest a Bad Year
I've not posted in this book since early June. You may find some repeats of things you've read before.
For new readers, who may not have read my author notes, this is written in a conversational way as I talk to my deceased husband. When I refer to someone just as "you" this means I am addressing my husband, Evan,
As 1995 drew to a close, it seemed that everyone in the family was having some kind of a problem. I was glad to see the year come to an end because it had been one of the worst in my memory. It started with the nearly two-month jury trial in which everyone was upset with me for not seeing things exactly the way they did. Then there was the time when I left my car out of gear to run inside for a minute, and it rolled down the hill into a tree almost totaling it. It was in the shop for two months. We had to rent a car to drive to Mississippi when I learned my mother had suffered a stroke and a heart attack. After two weeks in the hospital, she passed away, and I had to quit work to take care of my dad. There were so many ends to tie up after Mom’s death, and caregiving became my fulltime job.
Both you and I seemed to be having a lot of heart concerns. My palpitations, which started when I was in my twenties, had gotten more frequent and more severe. They never failed to alarm me. You were having tachycardia and your blood pressure kept going so high you had ended up in the emergency room more than once. The doctors had not found a prescription which could prevent it from happening.
Our children were always on our minds and managing to keep us on edge. We’d finally persuaded Christi, with all of her cats, to find another place to live. Still, she continued to have clients over at all hours for massages. She was continuing to juggle five or six guys as dates. Only one of them claimed to be madly in love with her. We all thought he was by far the best of the lot, but she had decided, now since he wanted her so badly, he was boring. He would call me and talk for hours until I’d have to tell him I needed to go. She had also started to get taken in by jerks who claimed to have pull in the music industry. They would tell her she could become a star if she would pay them to get her into some singing competition. They would promise her a likely record contract, but after she gave them money, they would disappear from the scene.
Carol had spent a couple of weeks in a place which was supposed to help her get past her divorce and over her co-dependency. As a result, we had somewhat been declared to be the reason her life was off track. She came home and got involved with a twelve-step program. I went with her to a couple of the meetings at night after I got Dad into bed. Most of the people there had family members who were alcoholics or drugs addicts. I don’t think they saw Carol’s problems as serious as theirs. She still had a serious crush on a guy who appeared to be an off again/on again friend. The lack of consistency was causing her a lot of unhappiness.
Connie and Charlie were planning to marry at some point, but they were often at odds. Connie was pushing getting married, but Charlie was dragging his feet and seemed to miss living in Mississippi. He’d decided, instead of being an EMT, he wanted to go back to college and become a nurse.
Just before Christmas, Connie quit her job as a salesperson with Home Place. Getting her back into school in January cost us well over $1,000 for her books and other materials. She was still living with Carol, but she was starting to feel that she was getting on Carol’s nerves. She wasn’t about to move back home. She and Carol weren’t as close as they had once been, and their age difference and that of their friends was a problem as well. Connie went looking for work again and got a temporary job doing data entry with an insurance agency.
Don and Kimberly were deeply in debt. They had sold the house in Atlanta and Kimberly had moved back to Chattanooga and was working, but Don was still doing construction work in Atlanta, because it paid better than being an intern in a local Chiropractic clinic. He couldn’t as yet afford to start his own business. Kimberly was using me for a babysitter whenever she could.
The fact that Don was in Atlanta so much of the time was taking its toll on his and Kimberly’s marriage. Connie and Kimberly were becoming close, and Kimberly confided in her that some really cute guy she worked with had a crush on her, and she was finding it very hard not to show an interest. We told Don he’d better get back to Chattanooga and find work here if he wanted to keep his marriage together.
Lauren was becoming a bit spoiled being moved around from one place to another while Kimberly worked at the hospital. When I kept her, she found reasons to cry a lot of the time. Kimberly tried her in a childcare center for a while, but she became very sick with a cold and ran a high fever for several days.
Since Home Health had dropped Dad because the insurance was no longer paying, all of Dad’s care fell on me. Bathing and shaving and other needs took up quite a bit of my day. I was also trying to keep him from feeling sad, so I played board games with him. You were never the kind of person who liked playing games, but Dad had always liked dominoes, checkers and Rook. I spent time with him playing games every day and also doing his bookkeeping and writing checks. I went to the library and got large print novels for him to read, as well.
One night, he couldn’t sleep, so he got up by himself at three in the morning, and read one of the books I had gotten him from cover to cover. It happened to be a Perry Mason book. I don’t know what Dad found objectionable about the book, but the following morning he told me, “I don’t want no more of them Gardner books because Perry Mason’s a damn liar.”
At least, most nights Dad went to bed really early, and it became the only time you and I could relax. I didn’t try to see very far into the future, because I knew as long as Dad lived, I would likely be his caregiver. I loved Dad, but my future seemed bleak.
Other than our family, the most noteworthy thing which happened in the US was the Oklahoma City courthouse bombing in April. It was August before Timothy McVey and another man were indicted. In October the O.J. Simpson trial ended with him being acquitted, to the surprise of everyone. In December, a Boeing 737 American Airline crashed into a mountain in Columbia killing 160 people.
Incidentally during the year, Mississippi became the last state to finally get around to ratifying the thirteenth amendment acknowledging the end of slavery. The amendment had originally been ratified by other states in 1867. People always seem to find reasons to make fun of Mississippi. I had to admit my birth state was a bit slow in getting in step with the rest of the world. I’m sure some folks there were unwilling to admit they were no longer a part of the Confederacy. The Rebel flag still flew.
THIS IS US:
Evan is 67 and a retired drafting supervisor from Chevron Oil.
Beth is 58 and has had a variety of jobs. She is presently working temporary jobs.
Carol is 32, recently divorced, and a nurse, working at a hospital in Chattanooga and living in an apartment.
Don is a twin. He is 31, a recent graduate of Life Chiropractic College
Christi is Don’s twin. She is working as a receptionist at a chemical company and doing massages on the side.
Kimberly is Don’s wife. She is a nurse working in Atlanta.
Lauren Elizabeth Jane Shelby is Don and Kimberly's baby one year old
Connie is our youngest daughter. She is twenty-two. She is a senior in college.
Charlie is Connie's boyfriend who has recently moved to Chattanooga from South Mississippi.
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