We have now moved down here and into the house on Beverley Hills. It was heart-rending to leave Vestal as we had made several improvements to the house to personalize it into being our home. Originally, we had planned on staying in the Binghamton area. However, it had become plain to me that the company I worked for, GAF, was slowly going down the tubes and I didn’t want to go with it. Also, I received my MS from Binghamton University in June 1969 which added another credential to my resume.
For Marge, it meant leaving the family she had in the area as well as new friends she had made. She become seriously involved in the Christian Charismatic movement and developed friendships that were meaningful to her and it was difficult to leave them. I did not share her enthusiasm for this movement, but she became much less withdrawn than she had once been and was easier to live with. I was not against the Charismatics, just not my way of doing things. So, in that way her commitment was really beneficial to each of us, and also to our marriage. We had a talk about this and I told her I could sense a difference in her, she was easier to live with, and that I recognized the change her decision and commitment had made. I tried to avoid upsetting her by moving from the house and area we had planned on living for some time. We did discuss the pros and cons of moving and what to look for after the move. I don’t know what else I could have done.
Marge had a dread about both loss and being alone. I didn’t realize to what degree this affected her until sorting out her papers after her death. To some extent she did share with me her dislike of loss of any kind. She was the youngest of 3 sisters. Sister Pat was 5 years older than Marge, and her oldest sister, Anne was maybe 8 years older. Once in a while they would play marbles as a pasttime. The last game Marge played with them the older sisters said they were playing “keepers.” Marge did not understand the meaning of the word and when the game was over, Marge wanted her marbles back. Her sisters told her no, that wasn’t the kind of game we decided to play so they got to keep what was her loss. This was very distressing to Marge and this distress over loss of any kind stayed with her all her life.
I do recall an event which happened later here in Las Vegas. We had gone to a movie in what was the first multiplex here. We were about to get in the car when she discovered one of her earrings was missing. She started crying very hard about this and we went back to see if we could find the missing earring. Perhaps the set had some special meaning to her, unknown to me, I have no idea.
Fortunately we got back in, I think I explained the problem as Marge was very distraught and crying. We got back before the theater cleaner got to where we had sat and we found the missing earring. To me the earrings were nothing special or costly, a set that one could buy in a department store for a few dollars. Of course it made sense to try to find the missing one but Marge’s reaction seemed out of proportion to me. I kept my opinion to myself naturally.
Loss and loneliness may be related. Marge wrote a paper in high school, for herself, not as a work to be graded. This combines relationship loss and being alone and not being understood. As far as I know, I am the only male in her life that did not either abandon her, or recognize her feeling of need as a way to manipulate her.
The honeymoon was over when we moved into our first lodging, a one room apartment not far from the University. I had to leave her as I left for work, so she was then alone until I returned. All the old negative feelings and fears returned to her and she was entirely different from the girl I had dated. I did not understand what had happened to her.
I suggested early on that we try seeing a therapist since she was still a student and we could use the student health facilities. This did not work since Marge quit when the therapist starting to ask about her father. Her father had divorced her mother when Marge was in High School. He was an officer and served as such in WWII so was not home much. Loss again.
In many ways, I was similar to her father. I could not remedy her childhood feelings of loss and distrust of men in general. I did my best to involve her in decision-making when we moved which is my reason for re-hashing former posts. Marge’s old fears were not far from the surface. I don’t know even now what I could have done differently, but I was dimly aware that this negativity existed, though did not understand it.
I don’t know if Marge knew how she appeared not just to me, but to others as well. She left the output of a computerized personality test copyright 1984 and I think it is quite valid. The name of this is “Mind Prober.” I Googled this and came up with the following comments:
“One of the many “psychoanalytical” programs released in mid-1980s, Mind Prober by Human Edge is an intriguing piece of software that tries to pinpoint your personality and gives advice based on your answers to questions, most of which consist of answering whether you agree or disagree with various adjectives used to describe you.
The program purports to help you understand yourself better as well as the minds if your friends, spouse, or anyone. Based on questions, the program gives you instant evaluation reports, from first impression to secret fantasies you may (gasp) harbor. The approach is quite scientific, and the results are interesting.
For anyone who enjoys Alter Ego or Mind Mirror, Mind Prober is an early cut-to-the-chase self-analysis program that is well worth a look. The program also comes with a thick manual-plus-book that contains many chapters on how to better understand people around you. It’s also one of the first programs of its kind to ever come out for PC.”
I will share parts of the report starting with the section that dealt with relationships. This quote has nothing to do with me and describes quite well how Marge described herself using this program. Living with her was not merely “may be puzzling” it was puzzling.
“Ms M.F.’s approach to relationships may be puzzling”
“On a casual meeting, Ms. M.F. may seem to be a likeable sort of person. If you become further involved with her, you might find she hides a fair amount of angry feelings. She may seem to want a smooth satisfying relationship, but be pulled to do things to disrupt it.
You may wonder if someone took advantage of her in the past. She can be friendly and then suddenly switch to being very annoyed or irritated. It may not be obvious as to why her feelings changed, with the exception that she is likely to attribute her occasional upset to others.”
I know I have written of our move to the Kutztown , PA area in a rental while we were house hunting. Living there was hard on Marge as Ingrid had now started school, and except for Louise who was a baby, Marge was isolated, had no friends, and the culture around us was on the fringe of the PA Dutch culture border. Decent enough people, but English was almost a second language, and all our neighbors were farmers so we had nothing in common. Marge held up pretty well, all considered, and we both looked forward to buying a house and settling in.
I have posted before about the house on Beverley Hills in some detail, and don’t need to repeat that. Briefly, the house was a new 4 bedroom brick house on a half-acre lot in a new suburban development . I had a good job with a solid first class company and had a good rapport with my boss who had hired me in 1969. Ingrid had to change schools in mid year but handled the transition OK. Marge had found a pre-school nearby for Louise so we were settling in to the middle class norm. That was the environment we grew up in and we accepted it. We had a lot of company, no radicals, hippies, etc. When I grew up, and my children also, it was reasonable for parents to expect them to enjoy a higher standard of living, but not for children growing up now.
We lived in PA for a decade. In writing this post, I have found that chronology by itself is a logical approach, but too limiting. Events and memories from the past affect the chronological present, and reflections from the chronological future add additional meaning and understanding. I think so and will try that approach in the future. Let’s try it and see.