part ten

I was in the kitchen with my MIL-to-be cutting up vegetables or something as I listened to my FIL-to-be verbally abusing her in front of,  literally,  god and everybody. I didn’t equate it with verbal abuse at the time (that term would come later) however I did turn around and look him in the eye while saying “What do you think you’re doing talking to her like that?” He stopped dead in his tracks and just stared at me. I continued on saying “You can get what you want accomplished by asking her nicely you know.” That’s it. That’s what I said. Two sentences.

We left for the Sunday meeting in the big van they had and as we were pulling out of the driveway, I looked at R (the fiance) and said “If you ever speak to me like that, it’s over.” He said “I know” and that’s all that was said about it. Little did I know, we were already playing our parts in a drama that would last for years and, in reality, I’m pretty sure he is still playing.

I went home Sunday after the meeting and saw my parents and did I have no idea what else. Monday afternoon I received a phone call from R asking that I come to his house later that day. He and his roommate would be there so I didn’t have to worry about any chaperoning issues. I met him there at the appointed time and learned his dad had visited him at his job earlier in the day. This would turn out to be the last time I ever heard the FIL’s name without getting a chill up my spine.

I asked “What did he do that for?” R proceeded to tell me that FIL had come to tell him that perhaps I wasn’t the best choice for him to be marrying. Maybe he should think about this a little more etc etc. I sat back stunned. “What? Are you kidding?” Those were my words. Spoken in disbelief. R told me he wasn’t kidding and said it didn’t surprise him at all especially since I’d  stood up for his mom the day before. We ended up taking a walk in the park behind his house. (I told you there were ways around the chaperone issue) I was completely confused by these events and didn’t know what to say or think about it. R was upset and I attempted to comfort him. Let’s just say chaperones would have been handy at the time.

I decided to simply act as if I didn’t know my soon-to-be-FIL had said any of these things about me. We were scheduled to leave for the summer convention the next week and I had plans to go with R’s parents and didn’t really want to have to worry about stuff so I kept quiet. It seemed easier at the time. We camped at a park set aside for Witnesses just a bit away from the convention building. We would spend all day at the convention and then return to the campground to use the community kitchen to prepare food for all of us. I don’t remember much about the kitchen except the long stainless steel counter by the sink. I do remember my soon-to-be-MIL pulling me aside after a few days and telling me to watch what I said to someone.

On our last night there, I was returning from the locker room type bathroom after showering, when I came upon the FIL talking to R outside their trailer. I stopped in mid step when I overheard FIL telling R he could do so much better than me, that I was lazy and a bad example and a list of other things that I’m sure I’m purposely blocking out. I walked right up to them and said “If you have something to say about me, perhaps you might say it to my face instead of behind my back.” FIL turned around and glared. I felt scared but I wasn’t going to back down from him. Even then I had a big mouth. (grin)

I ended up being asked by FIL to remove myself from his trailer. As I entered the trailer to grab my belongings, R followed me inside to remove his belongings as well. He was going to drive me to where I needed to go and he didn’t think his dad would let him come back. We drove out of the campground and parked somewhere to talk about what had just happened. I don’t remember anything about that chat except I ended up flat on my back in the seat with R on top of me. (chaperones remember?)

I managed to get up and use the payphone to call a friend I knew in a motel close to where we were. He (this friend and his family were the ones who studied with my brother and I when we were 11 and 12 years old) told us to come on over and he said “I will be timing you so I can honestly say nothing happened between you if I’m ever asked.” For some reason that makes me giggle right now! We arrived at the motel and sleeping arrangements were made. I got a bed with Mary (his wife) and R slept on the floor with their son. The next morning we got ready for the last day of the convention and off we went.

My friends at the convention could not believe what had happened. I knew alot of people there. As R and I walked through the main floor of the convention hall, I was stopped every 5 or 10 feet or so by people I knew. I think he was a bit frustrated when he asked me “Just how many people do you know anyway?” It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never been there but I’d spent my life being ‘special’ to all these people. I was the kid who’d been attending meetings alone without my parents for years. I was the kid who was going to pioneer. I’d been on assembly and convention programs for years. I was known. By literally hundreds of people.

R and I chose our wedding date during some talk that last day. We decided on September 10th. It was far enough away to find a dress etc and close enough that R wasn’t going to lose his mind or, let me see, how can I say this delicately…ummm, die of uhhhhh…overstretching so to speak. (snark)

I do not remember being excited. I must have been but I simply cannot remember it. I do remember right before what was to be our wedding day, my ‘other mother’ invited me up to her house and told me she didn’t think I was acting like someone ready to get married. I broke down and told her I was in a bad place about leaving my parents. And I was. It was very bad. And I was very heartbroken. My dad had already made it clear he wasn’t coming to the wedding. For several reasons. Not the least of which was he would not be walking me down the aisle. He was disfellowshipped and I was getting married in a Kingdom Hall.

We were a week away from D-day and my parents had still not met R. I could stand it no longer and made him come to my house to meet them. We didn’t stay long but it was a relief for me to have that out of the way. The day before the wedding was supposed to be a busy one. We had things to do and over 300 people coming the next day for our 5 p.m. wedding and reception. I was sound asleep when my mom woke me up to say I had a phone call. I stumbled downstairs, picked up the phone, said hello and heard “I’ve decided to call off the wedding and I’ve already called so-and-so to tell them so the word is out.” I know I asked where he was. He didn’t want to tell me but he was at his parents house. He’d not spoken to them since the big blow-out at the summer convention. I also know I said “You called someone about this before you called me?” He had. I still find that hard to imagine.

To say I was in shock would be an understatement. I went back upstairs I think. The next thing I remember is driving into town to his parents house. When his mom opened the door, I walked in and found him at the dining room table. His dad said nothing to me as we walked outside to chat. I’m sure I must have cried. I don’t remember. I said whatever it was I needed to say and gave him back my engagement ring. I think I went home but actually maybe I ended up at another friends house. I still don’t know. I do know that I told no one what happened and yet everyone knew. Witnesses have quite a little network.

My best friend, Kim, brought her new husband to see me the next day. We went out to get something to eat and we ended up at the apartment where R lived waiting for me to move in.  He wasn’t home of course and I remember it was literally pouring down rain. When I arrived home that evening, my entire family was there. All my aunts and my uncle. My cousins, my brother, everyone. I was overwhelmed. I don’t remember visiting with them much but I do remember telling my dad that even if he begged me to, I would not take R back. Little did I know…

to be continued


2 responses to this post.

  1. No. way. Ohmygosh, Traci. big sigh.


  2. Wowie kazowie! So much needless drama and trauma for such a young girl!! I wish you had yourself now as your own mommy in those days.


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