The Story of Vera and Her Family, Chapter 10

21 02 2008


                              AND A NEW JOURNEY BEGINS

My spring semester had started at our UK community college. Again, we were facing car problems. Your dad and I had never taken a loan out for anything. We had been married 13 years and I thought it was about time we took a loan out for a decent used car. We took a walk one Sunday afternoon to discuss this matter. Jim just didn’t want to go that route. I was tired of having cars that always broke down. I knew we couldn’t afford a car payment on a new car. I talked and talked to your father. Finally, he agreed to at least look at used cars and then make a decision about a loan.
Shortly after that walk, we were driving out on North Main. Our eyes caught sight of a small used car business. We saw a very nice looking blue station wagon. Dad especially liked that car. We stopped to inquire about the cost and met the dealer. He wanted $800.00 for the car. For the very first time in our married lives, we went to our bank to inquire about a car loan. Our bank turned us down, so we went to another bank. They told us that if we could find someone to co-sign for us, we could have the loan. Dad talked to one of our friends who was a respected business man in the community. He did co-sign for us and we got the car for $40.00 a month. That was a strain on our budget because Dad barely made $6.00 an hour. At the time, we were excited just to have a car that worked and wasn’t ugly. We celebrated by driving to Clarksville, Tennessee and eating breakfast at a Shoneys restaurant. It was such a relief to have a car!
I loved the way my classes were set up for the spring semester. I took 12 college hours which met from 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I was home on Tuesdays and Thursdays– which made it wonderful for studying, cleaning, and baking. I made many a loaf of banana bread on those days. I especially loved my English Literature class. We were studying Wordsworth’s TINTERN ABBY , the last of February. That is a poem that uses the early signs of spring as a means of hope with the problems of life. That started my own personal tradition to read that poem  each spring.
One afternoon in early March, I went over to visit with our next door neighbors– the Genners.after my classes. Mrs.Genner informed me that our home was up for auction at the courthouse steps– the end of March. I asked her where she had found out that information. It was then that she showed me the classified ads with our house listed for auction. I can’t even describe the hopelessness I felt at that moment. How would we get through the school year without having to pack up and move?
Car problems and the threat of losing our home-were problems that always beset us. Our home was large and the rent was less than the house payment that we paid while living in Alabama. We felt comfortable and settled. Now, I had that sick and sinking feeling. Almost immediately the landlord came for his rent. He seemed very anxious for his money. We paid him before we found out that he had already lost the home. We also found out that he had never used the rent money to pay the mortgage. He actually robbed us -when we paid him that last payment because the house was no longer his.
We waited the month of March out with that awful feeling of dread. My spring break came in mid March. I remember daffodils were blooming and then snow falling again. It was so very cold that week. My back was strained and I remember getting back in bed to read my English Literature assignments, after getting you children on the school bus.
The court house sale finally came. Our house did not sell to a private family but the Veterans Administration took it over. The strangest thing happened. Absolutely no one contacted us about having to move out. I consulted with my long time friend in the reality business. I had known Wally since I was 18 years old. When he was a young social worker just fresh out of college, he would drive many of us around to evening Bible study groups. We had so much fun together. Wally advised us to take what we were paying for rent and put the money in a savings  account each month. That we did! We knew to trust Wally. Somehow he would help our family. I was sure of it.
To get our minds off our trouble, we often took Sunday afternoons as a time to visit parks and places of interest in the area. We discovered that Madisonville, Ky had a beautiful city park. We began taking a picnic lunch to that park– most every weekend in the late spring. When summer came, we enjoyed the park swimming pool.
In May, I graduated from UK Community College. I was the recipient of a scholarship to finish my degree at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. I had made straight “A”s for both semesters. I had a small party at our home for our family. Joy of joys, Tinker, our cat, had a litter of kittens the end of May. We could tell that she was searching for a place to give birth to her kittens.. She ended up giving birth to her kittens in a well prepared box in our living room. We assisted her in the birth of each of her kittens. What an experience! How interesting it was to watch how she licked all the afterbirth off of each kitten. By the afternoon, Tinker and her kittens were all clean and sleeping peacefully.
We had to start keeping all closets shut because we knew Tinker was looking for a place to hide her kittens. We had gotten used to leaving the basement door open for Tinker to come and go as she pleased. One of the basement windows was broken and we left it that way on purpose so Tinker could be an “indoor/outdoor” cat.  However, after her kitten’s were born, we began shutting the basement door.When the kittens were two weeks old, the basement door was accidently left open. I was talking on the phone when I noticed Tinker carrying her kittens one at a time down the basement stairs. I knew she had already hid a couple of them before I noticed the problem. I decided not to stop her plan or to follow her to her secret place. From then on, we left the basement door open again– so she could take care of her kittens.
Near the end of June we were invited to spend a weekend at a farm near Dawson Springs, Kentucky. We had a wonderful time and a much needed break from our worries about our home. When we returned, the opinion of everyone was that we should find Tinker’s kittens and bring them back upstairs. We found them in an old machine that the owner of the house had left behind. Oh, the fun we had watching those kittens grow that summer. We found homes for all of them but kept the runt, a little female. We named her Julie. She and Tinker had an unbreakable bond of love. For the next six years, we enjoyed their antics. ( Sadly, Julie was poisoned the summer of l993. We found her body in the yard next to a empty tuna fish can. It had to have contained some kind of poison. Sandy had seen at midnight , alive and well.)
With thirteen years of non stop financial and emotional stress, the summer of l987 was the time your Dad and I thought that family counseling would benefit us all. Your Dad and I, especially needed help. Our broken growing up years, combined with so many difficulties almost tore us apart as a family. A very lovely lady that I’d know for many years worked with our family very closely. She was extremely concerned that I wasn’t driving, She tried so very hard to encourage me to get help from a psychologist that specialized in treating fears. It took a year before I agreed to get this help. Then it took another year before I began to drive again. Carolyn showed me unconditional love as she worked with me privately. Little did I know the serious problems that laid ahead of our family. The teen age years were just ahead. Ben was 12 years old and already showing signs of deep anxiety.




4 responses

21 02 2008

Yes, the mid to late ’80’s were hard years…as you write your story, I am reviewing mine…The continueous struggles, they perpetual unknowns, they wear and tear of dealing with preteens…and you and 3 more kids than I had, whew…don’t know how you did it all…can’t wait for the next installment….Just a thought, we are the sum total of all of our experiences…you shine, my friend…like fired gold…

21 02 2008

You are more than kind, Shadowlands. When I review those days–I, too, am amazed how we survived. Again, it is so special to me that you read these stories.

28 02 2008
David Web


Tinker and Julie sounds like a lovely pet story. It’s sad that someone would poison poor Julie.

I guess I’ll have to read on to learn how you and Jim kept the house. That will be interesting, I’m sure.

Little Brother

29 02 2008

Yes, Tinker and Julie were so close. Tinker was always so sad after Julie’s death. Yes, do read on!

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