I fell deeply in love with my first husband, Darrell. We were married in the September after I graduated. A sailor, he was stationed at Oceana Naval Base, near Norfolk, VA. I became pregnant right away.
After a turbulent 3-year marriage, and after he used a stick to “spank” our little boy while I was across the street at the library truck, leaving bruises on his bottom, I knew I had to leave for my son’s sake. I had had an operation for endometriosis, and the day after my doctor released me, I packed as many belongings as I could and headed back for Ohio. I know we had married too young, but I did not stop loving him for years, in spite of everything.
In Ohio I found a job at Summitville Tile for three years. My ex-husband moved back to Ohio during that time, lied about his residency in Virginia, and filed for divorce. I learned about it when one of the ladies I worked with mentioned she saw it in the paper. No papers had ever been served. My lawyer did not allow me to go into the courtroom, because he knew the judge would ask about the residency requirement, and I would tell the truth. So I waited in the hallway.
It was also during this time that my friend, Ruth Burchfield, prayed for me. One day I looked at my mom’s Living Bible and then I went and I knocked on the door of the pastor of Ruth’s church, Howard Pauley, and asked him to please get me a copy of the Living Bible. I sure didn’t know where to get one! He did and I read a lot of it. I devoured it. I stopped at that pastor’s house and asked questions. I talked about it with my friends. They asked me to get them a copy. I asked Howard to get me several more for them, and he did, and I paid for them. In April 1975 –I do not know the exact date—Howard baptized me into the Lord. My life had already drastically changed, and my friends had noticed it. I was probably a pretty good witness to them without realizing it.
A friend from church arranged for me to go with a bunch of the high school youth to Kentucky Christian College for the weekend so they could check it out. Long story short: That fall I quit my job at Summitville Tile and in January headed for Grayson, KY, where I spent a year healing from my divorce. I met my friend Theda there, another divorcee, and we became lifelong friends. She now lives in East Liverpool – just another gift from the Lord!!! All this time I was desperately lonely and I could not understand why I could find no one.
At some time during all this, I came to the realization that I would not want my ex-husband back, even if he came crawling to me. I still loved him, even though he was remarried, but it was different. I believe maybe I had idolized him, but that was gone. I began to pray for his salvation. (I still do pray for him sometimes, but not as often, and he is divorced from wife number four now...and Rich, my husband, and I celebrated thirty-six years last January.)
I came back from Kentucky financially broke and in debt, but managed to get a job through CETA. Then I got a better job, a secretarial job, at Deming pump company, Marketing Dept. They were so behind on their filing that I had room for a sheet of paper on my desk –that was all! And there were more boxes of filing underneath my desk! I became the go-to person to repair the copy machine. I learned to run an old-fashioned trunk line telephone system. I learned to operate the Telex machine and I used the Dictaphone to type letters for my two bosses. And, I filed and filed and filed. I was “bumped” over to Export during a layoff. I learned to ship things overseas. Then after we were all called back to our regular jobs I had to take over another secretary’s job in addition to my own when I was finally sent back to Marketing. I gave my singleness to the Lord, because it was too much for me to carry.
A new boss was coming and they were redoing an office for him. I had to go down the hall there for some reason, and there was a guy behind the desk running some electrical wires. I watched for a moment and then said, “What makes you think you know what you’re doing?” eighteen months later he asked me out for New Year’s Eve. I turned him down because I had promised my friend to babysit her daughters while she went to a party. He didn’t ask me again.
In January there was a movie the Marketing Department was required to view. It was called “Second Effort” and featured Vince Lombardi. I sent an interoffice memo to Rich, who I rejected the fist time, in the maintenance electrical department, and suggested he go see that movie. In January 17, 1981 we went out on our first date, and a year after that we were married. The Lord answered my prayers bigtime with Rich!