My boys must be thinking, “What’s mom going to write about dad?”
After all, Bill Cash and I were married for over 23 years. We married when I was 20 years old and a few days past graduating from school as a Licensed Practical Nurse. When we divorced he had his PhD and I was still a hard working LPN.
Bill was a senior at Southern College, Collegedale, TN back in 1970. We met at my first alumni homecoming at Laurelbrook School where I graduated from high school. After a long alumni-hosted afternoon walk, he asked me to be his steady girl and we said an emotional good-by at the airport as I left to return to LPN school in Dayton, Ohio.
We planned the wedding while I was away at school. We got married upon my return during his Spring Break on March 7, 1971.
I remember one thought that I had on my wedding day. “I don’t care if I am this happy for only one day, it will be worth it!”
In the end, Bill told me I was still the loving sweet person he had married but we had grown apart in too many ways. Whatever we saw in each other on that alumni reunion day wasn’t enough to keep us whole for all those years. The church was the walls that held us together and our two boys were the glue that held us together. Both of us are very proud of Billy and Philip. We do share that in common!
A few days ago I was chatting long distance to an old friend, Neil Hunt. Neil has been a mutual friend since before Billy was born. Neil commented that the hardest part about the divorce was not seeing Bill and I together. It seemed that we had always been together! We had created a family civilization, and I’m sure our family and friends were just as perplexed as to why we split up and how to react as our boys were.
Especially hurt was Philip, and to this day I still feel sorry for the hurt he experienced. But, Philip recently reminded me that both of us (his parents) have changed over the years having learned lessons from the past. My wise son said when a relationship is in trouble, "both feel the hurt of it".
Having said that, and if you’re still reading this, we did have lots of good times and carried on a fairly normal existence as a family. I think what held us together the most was our affiliation with the Seventh-day Adventist church. We were both leaders and contributed in many ways especially to the Eau Claire SDA Church and School in Eau Claire, Michigan.
As the boys got older, I followed them through each little Sabbath School department leading out in the Kindergarten, Junior and other classes. I often played the piano or told stories from the Bible or provided activities. . And, I always enjoyed being with my boys!
I still recall fondly the times Bill and I provided special music at church services with him at the piano and me playing the flute. We played, “The Holy City” to hushed audiences and it still chills me to remember how well we did that together! It is such a majestic song!
But, deep down I didn’t feel comfortable with Bill and perhaps he didn’t with me. We never took the time to really know the true person inside each other and ourselves. My low self-esteem and his ‘know-all’ attitude didn’t help. I felt that it was impossible for me to make him happy no matter how hard I tried to please him.
My cooking wasn’t good enough. I didn’t control spending the way I should. I didn’t keep up with him socially and I couldn’t say no when others asked for my help.
Eventually Grandma Mascunana needed care and I was the only family member who couldn’t say no to her. She moved to a nearby retirement home and demanded constant medical care and a lot of the very limited time that I had with my family. I was working 16-18 hours a day as a nurse and even then we couldn’t pay all the bills. Grandma also continued to be ungrateful and inconsiderate of my feelings.
I was feeling the frustration that had surfaced so many times with grandma, only now I could see a way out and was finally able to walk away. He wasn’t a bad man, just someone I couldn’t live with and continue breathing!
The final good-by was swift and complete. It was decided right after I won the election for township clerk. I think he was shocked that I had won! His comment was that having won the election, I would be able to take care of myself and perhaps wouldn’t feel abandoned if we divorced. He knew my biggest fear in life was that I’d be left all alone again.
I was afraid we would get divorced but he would still continue to control me, so I wanted a clean break. I was also concerned that he would consider me “clingy” if we continued to keep in touch on a regular basis. Obiviously, I wanted to live my life “my way”.
Bill didn’t want me to have any communication with his mother who always said I was like a daughter she never had. His mother and I respected Bill’s wishes for several years, but we still send birthday and Christmas cards. I was careful to disassociate myself from his dad who was always very kind to me because Bill was often jealous of that relationship even when we were married. Billy was away at college and Philip was almost ready for college. So in the end, I did have an empty nest but I discovered that I was stronger than I thought!
I have many stories already written during the times the boys were growing up and will add this to this book soon now that I've cleared the way by explaining about me and Bill Cash. There will be a better understanding of the way we lived when I was 20-40 years old.