Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Reading in Bed

I got married at 19. There were no shotguns present. In mid to late 1960's, it was a normal age to get married.

My mother explained to me that there would be a lot of wifely duties. Uh huh. Laundry, meals, housework, and my all time favorite, ironing. I also understood we would have sex and that was fine with me, considering we had already done "it" several times and I liked it fine.

I quit my job because we were moving to a place called Mountain View. I was a San Francisco girl and it felt like we were moving to Guam or something. Still, I went along with it because "whither thou goest..." or something like that. My husband John was a salesman and we went where his company sent us. I got that.

My husband also would have husbandly duties, namely to support my ass. Fine. It all sounded pretty much okay as far as I could tell. After a small wedding in Reno, we set about moving into our furnished apartment in the City of Mountain View, about an hour's drive from San Francisco.

John's mother, Edith, in order to assure that her son would not starve to death, insisted that we come to dinner every Sunday. (Her concerns were not totally unjustified because to say I was not much of a cook is probably the understatement of the century.)

What John did not know about me is that I was a read-aholic. I got up, put on lipstick, made coffee, scrambled him some eggs and popped some toast in the wedding gift toaster, and then kissed him goodbye every morning before he set off to his job. Then I pranced around the apartment singing "I'm free! I'm free!" and climbed back into bed with two or three paperback novels and a cup of instant coffee.

I got lost in my books for a couple of hours, only pausing long enough to make toast and jam for me before I climbed back into bed. I kept one eye on the clock because I had to leave at least an hour to shower, fix my make up, put on clothes, stick something or the other in a casserole dish and shove it in the oven, plus hide anything laying around like laundry or dirty dishes.

My preference at that point in my life was "bodice ripper romances". There was a writer called Rosemary Rogers and she was wonderful. Pirates would kidnap the beautiful horny heiress and then she would succumb to the leader of the pirates. Okay, it sounds dumb, but it was really very sexy for its time.

Sometimes I went for something really more intellectual like "Valley of the Dolls" or "Peyton Place", but not usually. My mental alarm would go off, and I would jump out of bed and start running around to get ready for my returning husband.

Corn flakes and tuna casserole don't just "happen" I found out! It took some time! (Okay, not much.) The biggest challenge was figuring out what I was going to tell him I did all day, oh, (and hiding the laundry in a place that he couldn't see it.) I claimed one day that I had been busy doing laundry all day. Another it was cleaning the apartment. (How did he never notice it looked exactly the same all the time, pretty messy?)

I could have gone on like this for years. In fact, I would have, except for one thing. John wanted me to get a job. Huh? I mean, I'm married now. Why should I have a job? Oh, for the money. John's mother Edith kept talking every Sunday about how I could help out if I made a little money. Uh huh.

Help out whom??? I liked it fine just as it was. Alas, John still listened to his mother and so I walked a mile in the blistering heat and got a job selling linoleum at Sears. Yeah, that was a highlight for me.

The job didn't last. Neither did did the marriage. I did get two great kids out of the whole deal though. So it's not all bad!

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