Thursday, May 28, 2009

2413 Past Lies Can Come Back

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This little blurb,
had me hyperventilating, little bits like "For the most part, divorce hearings are presumed to be open to the public" and "Defenders of disclosure say revelations that come out of divorce cases can provide insight into the character and habits...".


I'll admit that when I married Ex#1, I didn't want to marry him, but I felt coerced by his threats of going AWOL if I didn't. Ten months later he was home on leave from his post in Germany, and I got pregnant, against my will. I was taking birth control pills, and he went to some of the most extreme measures to make sure they didn't work, like he'd suggest visiting his parents "just for the afternoon", take the pills out of my purse because his mother would freak if she saw them, and then trap me there without the pills (or clothes, or toothpaste) for four days. Reminder: in 1966, a man forcing his wife was not considered rape, even if it involved beating.

The following January, when I was 7.5 months pregnant, there was a fire in my apartment building. Arson, by a mentally disabled girl who liked to watch fire engines. I suffered some smoke inhalation, and the next day our daughter was stillborn (in the wheelchair on the way to a labor room). He came back from Germany on compassionate leave. I was devastated. The hospital wanted to keep me longer because I had an infection, but it would have to be in the maternity ward, and the sound of babies crying when they brought them around for feeding had me constantly crying. I couldn't go back to the apartment just yet. There was baby stuff there. So on the third day the hospital released me, we went to see a funeral director to make arrangements for the baby, and then left that day for Florida and stayed with my parents for a week. Then he went back to Germany.

A few weeks later he was transferred to Seattle. He had only six months left in the Army, so he didn't want me to join him there. I got a substitute teaching job to finish the school year. In the summer, he got out of the Army and joined me in Pennsylvania, where things went rapidly downhill.

A buddy of his expressed surprise that he had come home. Turns out he'd taken up with a Wac in Germany, she had been transferred to Seattle too, and they had shared an apartment there. There were a lot of things wrong, anyway. He didn't want to get a job. I had the education, so he figured I'd be the primary breadwinner, which would have been fine except that back then, high school teachers resigned or were fired when they were pregnant. So my job was not assured. And, he was flat out stupid. Our attitudes, goals, opinions, were opposite. He considered me "highfalutin'", and I was often yelled at or hit if I expressed an opinion different from his.

I finally got up the gumption to leave. I interviewed with The Company and got a job in upstate New York. I had managed to save $500, which was just enough to get me through to the first paycheck, but he went to every bank in town and finally found my savings account. Even though the account was in my name only, the bank gave him my money, because back then, anything a woman owned belonged to her husband. (Remember all this when you feel like sneering at libbers.) I left anyway.

I didn't file for divorce. I didn't care. Within six months of my leaving, he'd found a woman with two kids that he wanted to marry. I told him to go ahead and file. His grounds would be desertion, I'd left and had no intention of returning, and that's all he needed. I left with nothing, so there were no property issues, and I wouldn't contest it. It wouldn't cost more than $200, tops. I even sent him $100 toward the costs.

I did see a lawyer, but only to confirm that it would all be very simple, and I didn't need representation.

And then I kinda forgot about it....

...until I got the letter announcing the date of the hearing - that very afternoon! Um, shouldn't I have had more notice? In the envelope was also what he intended to swear to.
That I had many affairs during our marriage.
That I had never told him that I was pregnant.
That it was an attempted back-street abortion that landed me in the hospital.
That when he appeared at the hospital room door, I had screamed and thrown things at him and told him that the baby wasn't his.
That after he got out of the Army I refused to have anything to do with him, did not perform my "wifely duties".
That I had brought lovers home, in front of him.
That I had stolen money from him when I left.

Never even mentioned desertion.

I was furious! I called my lawyer. Even though he had not been listed as officially representing me in this matter, he had also received the letter, and figured I'd call. I went to his office. If I got on the road quickly, I could make it to the courthouse in Pennsylvania in time for the hearing, and I wanted to fight it. It was all lies!

The lawyer calmed me down. He said all that garbage didn't come from the Ex, that is was all from his lawyer, who just wanted to make sure the judge declared the marriage irretrievably broken, because you sometimes get Catholic judges who hate granting divorces if there's any chance, blah blah blah, so I shouldn't be angry.

"But, he signed it! He denied his own daughter! His own dead daughter! How dare he make me sound so bad when he's lower than low! He signed it! He swore to it! He didn't have the guts to tell his lawyer to leave his child alone!"

The lawyer kept talking at me until it was too late to head for court.

And besides, he said, "divorce records are sealed, and no one would ever see or hear any of it." There's no reason to fight it.

Not true. I guess I'd better not run for office. Or try to marry anybody important.

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