take a look back in my address book
May 1, 1991, August 26, 2003, dates. Just dates. I never thought I would see them this way, but tonight I was hunting through my Snoopy suitcase (the one that holds all my important papers, because yes when you are me, that is where you put your important papers….in a dog suitcase) looking for my old school address book. The one that has family addresses. Addresses I need because I am mailing wedding invitations. I found it. In the process there was the divorce file. The big fat huge divorce file. I knew that I needed the divorce date so I can go obtain a marriage license. What a thing that the court systems make you provide your divorce date, heaven forbid that you are a bigamist.
Either way it occurred to me that this month people will receive wedding invitations and look at each other and say, “I thought this girl was already married”. See, because my extended families live in PA and I live in FL and there are no such things as “He cheated on my ass” cards and there’s no such thing as “Ding dong the ex is gone” cards either. And when you live far away how does one announce this sort of thing? There is no way and so you just don’t. You let it die a slow death in your own world and yet in other people’s worlds there is just no way. The year of the divorce I contemplated sending out Christmas cards minus his name. I was busy and haven’t sent out Christmas cards since probably the year 2000..or was it 1999. I think it was honestly 1999. I wasn’t happy at all in the last few years of that marriage (a marriage I used to refer to as ‘my’ marriage…and now it’s “that” marriage) and so I wasn’t sending happy little greeting cards to anyone for any purpose. So I had to giggle when I realized that while I’m rummaging through paperwork (and yes I still have some paperwork I can’t imagine how the ex has lived without) I realized that some people are going to get a surprise in the mail. That makes me giggle inside.
Of course most of these people don’t know me all that well since I moved away at age 20. Fifteen years of my living anywhere but in Johnstown, PA. Fifteen years. Woah…. I don’t feel old enough to amass a 15-year mile marker for anything.
So now, I creak open the old address book and people from my past jump out into my lap and the memories swirl around me….and thank you thank you thank you to the gods that somehow allowed me to
p.s. this address book documents the 13 addresses I had with the ex. 13!! The sickest OCD part is that within the address book I have dates listed next to the addresses and some of them are….
1. May 1991 – June 1991 (Hoffman Ave, Windber, PA)
This was the first apartment. The first place I lived in after I was kicked out of home and just prior and after I got married. The only fond memories I have of “that” marriage happened in this place. It was the “first” place I lived and there were flowers on everything. The few fond memories I have are so hazed over with what I now know to be reality, but they include 1. horses neighing outside the window. 2. ugly vagina looking flowers on the kitchen walls 3. funky 1960’s refrigerator….I thought it was cool even though now I realize it was crap.
2, June 1991 – March 1992 (3795 N. O’Connor Road, Irving, TX)
This was an elite apartment in the elite Las Colinas section of town where the roads curbs were made of pure marble. We could hardly afford it but somehow we did. We had no furniture but paid outrageous rent. The first year in Texas sucked, it was full of my confusions and pain over my parents. I can only recall brief moments of happiness and they include 1. great swimming pool 2. so tan my bits glowed in the dark 3. a black and white tv that I only remember watching I love Lucy on. It would be almost a year before we had a different TV.
3. March 1992 – May 1992 (3841 N. O’Connor Road, Irving, TX)
Moved to a bigger 2-bedroom apartment. Lived there just long enough for ex to impress his parents and then shortly thereafter could not pay the rent. We both lost our jobs (we worked stupidly at the same place) and though we didn’t get evicted we had to move on our own accord because we couldn’t afford to pay the rent. This of course was after having a freaky ass roommate for a month. His teeth fell out of his head and he would bring them to show me. It was during this experience that I thought first about leaving him. I didn’t.
4. June 1992 – October 1992 (3212 North Lake Ct. Irving, TX)
These were the long months of being pregnant with my son. Pregnant, home alone the majority of my days. The walls needed painted, the kitchen linoleum was ripped, the place was charming but needed some work. It was relatively nice but then again I think that was just the piano player that lived next to us and then there was a gorgeous small lake that contained ducks swimming. I was happy because I had a baby on the way and I fell in love with that baby during these long months. I only remember having long long hair that dried when I walked the five feet to the mailbox to check the mail. There was a front yard to all the units. Our’s was barren.
5. October 1992 – March 1993 (6500 S. Cockrell Hill Road, Dallas, TX)
This was a nice apartment. One that I liked well enough. We moved here one month prior to having my son. He came home to this apartment. We did have a crib, and his bedroom was cute. It had Mickey Mouse on the walls. These were months that I was happily and busily being a new Mom. I was however doing so alone. His father worked from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. nightly. We had only one car and this is the apartment with only good memories of my child. We moved out of this apartment when arrests happened, cars were repossessed….and I gave serious serious thought to divorce during March of 1993. I gave up ever trusting him enough to live anywhere but around family. I insisted we move back to PA and a U-haul was packed and we arrived in PA during a snow storm with a 4 month old baby, no car, no jobs, no nothing. He pissed it all away with his irresponsibility. There had been money issues for 6 months or more and he neverrrr told me. This is when he ran from theft charges….he has stillllll not faced over ten years later.
6. Notice that April of 1993….not included. This is the 6 weeks of time we spent living on his parents spare bedroom floor with a sleeping baby in a crib next to us. These weeks included much marital silence and these were also the weeks in which he worked on roofs hammering ……ending with him NOT getting paid. These were also the weeks that his goofy assbackwards parents started to inform me that my son should have a sweater on should not have a sweater on…needs to eat….isn’t hungry….hell people I raised him alone for 4 ½ months…go to hell!
7. May 1993 – July 1993 (2006 Graham Avenue, Windber, PA)
This was a pretty run down double house, we lived in the right side. The floors were drafty and full of bb’s from the former tenants. Again my son had Mickey Mouse in his bedroom and we still owned very little. I don’t recall much happiness in this place. Worried constantly about bills, ex still trying to pound nails into roofs….money was tight. These were the months I learned about the welfare system first. 3 months people….who the hell lives somewhere only 3 months???? These 3months were full of my son pulling himself around, his shirts seemed to be constantly dirty from the drool and the dirt and grit in the floors that just would not ever come out. We painted this apartment…..we did all that work…..for 3 months while we waited for the all mighty approval from the state….(note this house was completely ripped down to the ground less than a year later...gone entirely. A gas station was built in it's place.
8. August 1993 – May 1994 (263 Stadium Terrace, Windber, PA)
This is the 10 months I spent in public housing. I could write an entire book about these months. The only bright parts of these months were full of my son learning to walk, his blondish hair and blue eyes lit up by the son that streamed into the front door. I recall making my first turkey in this place and feeling defeated and yet I still wanted to believe in him. I must have been ill in a lot of ways. I still was in denial and wanted so badly to believe that we could still be a happy family. These were the months I watched my neighbors eat steaks and buy their kids the most expensive Popsicles at the store because they had no jobs and lived on the state. My ex and one other person in a place of about 1,000 families were the only ones that had jobs. Sad. We paid $480 for rent when other’s were paying $72. It was frustrating. I will always remember the wood floors in that place and the morning my son got tangled up in his pillowcase, the thread wrapped around his throat cutting off the air…., the morning I found him finger painting with poopy paint from his diaper.
9. June 1994 – March 1998 (117 Lone Road, Elton, PA)
He landed a job making $6.75 an hour bending steel for the sides of heavy duty trucks. We moved to a trailer. We were so happy to live there when we first got there. This is the place that taught me how to be frugal (although I think I’ve since forgotten….lol) This was a cold metal place to live. The walls were cold, the snowing seemed endless. These years held a lot more promise than any of the previous. These were marital years 4 thru 7. Somewhere during these years I finally had my own car (a crappy old mustang we paid $500 for) and I got a job. From the time my son was about 4 until we moved away I got a job at a bra factory and we worked alternate schedules to avoid the expense and the mental fatigue of putting my son into daycare. This is the “only” feat we succeeded in as a married couple. The only one. I believe the 2 ½ years that I worked at that factory were contributors to our marriage going south eventually. I hated him because I had to work so hard. I hated that he couldn’t provide but I could get a job and make MORE than him within a short period of time. I had aspirations to go to college but they never panned out during these years because the only focus either of us had was “keeping the bills paid” and providing for my son. Without the help of my family my son would not have had a lot of the cute clothes, toys etc. that he had. I was fortunate to have a hand me down supply that rivaled anyone’s belongings. These were the horribly hard years when I was a trailer dweller with a man that could not adequately provide on his own. I resented him for this and I really resented his lies. They only grew with time.
10. April 1998 – August 1999 (2770 Roosevelt Blvd, Clearwater, FL)
This was the year I struck out and moved to Florida so he could take a “real” job. Sure he lied to get it but by this time I figured his lies should at least get us somewhere. With much hesitation I decided to try living elsewhere again. But the disappointments of the past came flying to the forefront of my life.
11. August 1999 - 2003 34 Ave, St Petersburg, FL (the house that was foreclosed on)
These were the confusing years. I moved out and lived at an address I never documented…(#12 address) ..for all of 6 weeks, and then collectively everyone moved to the next address that I only know a portion of (13. 54th Ave North, Kenneth City, FL) The only good memories I have of any of these addresses is the big Jacuzzi bathtub at 54th Avenue…but it wasn’t worth all the shit that happened there) Most of these years are well documented right here at my diary. They were sad, depressive, lie filled years. They were some of my worst...with my only true and happy memories being those of my son and I singing on the way to school every morning. Those moments are priceless and I'm ever grateful for that child.
And then I moved to 5th Ave ….and then to 6th Ave and then to…and now I’m living at happiness.
If I listed the last several addresses it would simply go like this.
January 12, 2003 - October 4, 2005
(there’s been 4 addresses, all in the same exact complex…different addresses for reasons that had nothing to do with money!!)
First address: moved in with Rick and his twin brother. Lived there for 3 months in order to live out their existing lease. Could have moved out and got own place, decided that after having the man next to me for 3 months I could not turn back and live without him across town. Happy memories include, the small small bed that Rick had when we met….it was small….it was great…., the lack of hangers, the big screen TV that took my mind off of the past a lot of nights, the hamburgers and cheese and crazy nights of eating dinner at midnight….it was like being in college…never alone…and much activity. I liked waiting for the boys to get home at night…..listening to their nights activities. I remember laying in bed half asleep half awake….waiting always waiting for Rick’s warm body to find me in the dark.
Second address: Rick and I get our own apartment. It’s located right above the complex’s swimming pool and I will spend months sitting at night looking outside at the lights and the beautiful view. That view is a memory that will remain as a beautiful memory of that place. Our first place together. This was the apartment where I emptied out my storage unit and said hello to my belongings again and it was a nice feeling. To have not seen them for months….months that allowed me to heal and start anew and then reorganize, etc. It was months of letting go of the past, realizing that I was living a new life. This is where I was when I enrolled in college. It was a good place, but certainly a place of learning anew. We have to move out at the end of the lease because the complex is remodeling the entire complex one unit at a time. We move into a newly remodeled apartment.
Third address: The newly remodeled apartment has mold issue’s on the wall from constant leaking from the upstairs apartment’s water heater. We find that we must move, this occurred within a 24 hr period of time. (note: this apartment has still not been renovated, fixed etc. I got a letter from the county stating that the complex has until the end of October to address the issues or begin paying $500 a day in fines.)
Fourth address: The apartment we live in now. Hoping the next address is our own home……this apartment is a nice one as well. Outside of the locking up AC unit and the wet wet clothing (that the complex did comp some rent for) it’s been good. I especially like the new green grass and the Parisian style fence outside of our living room. Making for a nice view. We now have a gas grill and a stake for the dog to run around on….her leash attached.
The last 4 addresses…..happy memories. There’s one small patch of rough memories….but they are memories that made us stronger, better, more…..not less. I wonder how people live in only a few addresses in their lifetimes. I’ve had 17 now….and there will be more….hopefully only one more now. But still….that’s a bunch of addresses. There for a while it felt like all I ever did was pack and unpack.
Reason’s #768,214,325,990,110 and #768,214,325,990,111 I pick Rick?
Because we’ve never been evicted and because we have happy homes full of good memories. Thank you honey! Thank you for showing me how it can be.