Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Summer 1978 Meme: My Torrid Tale

Summer of 1978 was the year of my 1st divorce. Yes, I was a child bride. Both sets of parents had to sign permission for us to marry. And he was 2 years older than me! Why did I marry so young? No - no baby on the way. Because I was an IDIOT, that's why.

I spent the next 6 years after the wedding thusly: Spent 2 weeks opening gifts and setting up a tiny duplex as 'home'. When the last gift was opened, I called my mother and said I wanted to move back home as I couldn't cook and was sick of husband complaining. She replied "You ARE home. Figure it out." We bought a house, with his parents as co-buyers as we were too young to originate a loan. The house cost $18,900. It was built in 1880.

I worked in law offices, then started my own business. Modeled for hair/makeup photo shoots early mornings/evenings and weekends. Worked out Every.Single.Day at the downtown YMCA, which had exactly 3 women members in their co-ed phyed classes when I started working out. Meanwhile, I put husband through 6 years of undergrad and part of grad school. And paid for Every. Single. Thing. Did I mention he was a spoiled Mama's Boy? And that his parents were wealthy, and he was used to buying whatever he wanted? And that I loved his mother to pieces? More than him?

In 1977, I decided I was done raising my soon to be ex-husband. By now, I was living between 2 communities, as dh had gotten a job 4 hours away up in the mountains. We bought a nice condo up there, right at the bottom of a ski lift. But I was still essentially maintaining 2 households on my income, as his seemed to evaporate. I filed my own 'dissolution of marriage' paperwork and had him served. I hammered out our separation agreement, giving myself 75% of the assets. It still cost me a huge sum of money in 1977 dollars - $25,000 - to get out of that marriage. We did not tell his parents for 6 months. It broke his mother's heart. We were That Close.

I found cajones I never knew I had that year. I left a man who had controlled me since I was 15. And I never looked back.

And I discovered P.A.R.T.Y.I.N.G While you guys were riding your bikes around and playing in forts made of tangled roots, I was partying. Aspen. Vail. Boulder. Lower Downtown Denver at a gay dance club called Tracks, which was the Studio 54 of the West. Their sound system was so great, it was worth the drive.

So, here's a typical day, summer of 1977. I might work; I might not. My house payment was $144.06. Bills were low. I had a huge garden and ate out of that. Friends always brought over tons of food and booze. If I had scheduled work that day, I might have to start REALLY early if it was a photo shoot. If it was office work, I could get up around 7. Throw on nice clothes and catch the bus. Read on the bus. Read for lunch. Read on the bus ride home. Miss my stop. Read some more. Get home, find guests waiting on my big front porch. We'd cook, drink and eat. Go clubbing, or maybe not. Get home, catch 4 or 6 hours of sleep, and do it all over again. Weekends were parties, trips to lakes for boat rides (I couldn't risk water skiing - no health insurance!) trips to the mountains for hikes and picnics, sometimes packing in and camping. Life was not just good - it was great. I had never had such fun in my life.

I met J in a bookstore, winter of 1977. He was 10 years older than me. He was a vegetarian, very well educated, very handsome, very laid back. He had greenhouses of gorgeous plants. And lots of cash. Since math wasn't my forte, it never occurred to me that That Much Money probably didn't come from owning greenhouses. And that he traveled to California alot. Plant business, you know? Nah, that wasn't it. If you saw the movie 'Blow' with Johnny Depp, you get the idea. It took me 3 years to finally figure it out. He was very slick about it. And not a user. I'd drive to San Francisco while he was 'working', and buy clothing from little known designers. Go to City Lights bookstore. Entertain myself. The fact that we had a Mercedes, a BMW and flew first class to places to party should have been sending off alarm bells. But, everyone loved us, you know? We were The Couple.

I decided that we should start hosting big dinner parties. But I couldn't cook! J sent me to cooking school. So Summer of 1978, I learned how to cook properly. It was a great summer. I sold my business and gardened, read about history, and religions and sure; some trash - and cooked. I do believe that 1978 was the best summer of my life.

Things went to hell later, but this is Summer of 1978.


Carolyn said...

Wow, I envy you 1978. How fun!

The smartest dealers never use.

Carolyn said...

Well I don't envy the divorce thing, but the partying, I envy.

WV is phauq. Hee hee

PJ said...

I got married in 1978, and yes I was baby. Lucky for me, he is my soulmate. I'll tell you all about it in September;)

PJ said...

Hey! I was partying in Boulder in 77 & 78 too! Did you ever go to Button Rock?

Sarah Louise said...


My float said...

Wow. WOW. You have lived quite a life. You did well ditching the first one, but tell, what happened to J?

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Such a great story! You really took me back with you and now I'm just a tiny bit jealous (and yes, I have a child bride divorce behind me too and I know, I know, I know!!)

MsCellania said...

Caro - I'll email you about the shoes after I find all the insoles.

PJ - Las Vegas in September? Hmmm, Group Meet, anyone?!

SL - Cooking and Reading, double yum!

mf - Badger is going to have to do a 1982 Meme to find out about J.

bec - Wasn't being a child bride BORING?! We were substitute mothers - picking up after them, doing the cooking, laundry, cleaning etc. What Were We Thinking? Hey, wait a minute! I"M STILL DOING THIS. But there's a joy to this now. This one helps. Sort of. Well, at least he doesn't run out night after night with his friends.

Surfing Free said...

Wow!! What a fantastic year '78 was for you. I was still in primary school trying to figure out important things like my favourite band and if I could ride my horse to Brisbane (about 350kms away) without my parents missing me. But 1988 was a different story ;)

Joke said...

One would have to be utterly mental to get married that young. I was almost 30, with my Wilderness Years behind me, and I STILL think I was too damned young.

Madness. Just...madness.


Lazy cow said...

My sister was a youngish bride and she went from being a party girl to a Stepford Wife. That didn't last long though, as she ditched him.
I sort of DO envy your 1978. I was in primary school dreaming of being a high school kid. And reading. That's all.