I am amazed that even though I have written about many events in my life, I haven’t told you about the most successful goal. But, was it worth it?
I was 18 years old, I know what I felt about life and I thought I wanted to be free. (Yeh, right) I wanted to live my life the way I wanted to and that would be without my father breathing down my back. I was looking forward to being on my own, and I made secret plans of escape. Given the idea that I was an “in the closet” gay, it had to work.
I had my high school diploma, and signed up for Medical Reception school. I was thinking 3 months of the summer after graduation wasn’t much to sacrifice for career skills that I could use anywhere I went. My father was going to pay for it all, and he had given me a brand new Volkswagen Bug as a graduation gift.
In August 1969, I graduated with another diploma. Time to finalize plans. I showed dad my engagement ring and disclosed my plans to marry in September. Shall I say that he was not going along with my decision?
Dad said he didn’t think it was a good decision at that time. Give it some time, and if I still was in love after I graduated from college, then he would give his blessings. He asked if I was pregnant. I said, no. (I hadn’t done the wild thing, I was a Lesbian. I was fighting myself on that aspect) He told me, if I defied him about marriage, he would not walk me down the isle to give me away. He wouldn’t even be there. “And the car stays with me”, dad had said. I went to my room to think.
Is this what I wanted? I knew dad was going to be angry. I went over the whole scene in my mind. Should I wait? I could attend college, get my degree and again, dad would pay for it. I thought about my future husband and what I felt about him. The lesbian part would work itself out in time. For now, I want out. So, I will have to do this without dad. (My desire to go on my own overrode everything, including family.)
I left my father’s house in Manteca and caught a flight to Los Angeles to be with my future mother in law. I left everything I knew behind me. My car, a place to live, friends, and college.
I married my childhood sweetheart in my mother-in-laws church, with my uncle (dad’s twin brother) to give me away. My husband was in military uniform and I in white bridal gown and veil that my mother-in-law picked out. My father wasn’t present. (He was always a man of his word.) A big beautiful wedding that any girl dreams of, right?
Our reception took place in my father-in-law’s Mexican restaurant, El Gato. We had the whole big party with cake, dancing, and happy people. The getaway vehicle with rice thrown and a Honeymoon suite in the Sportsman Lodge. I was never so scared in my life. The moment of truth had arrived, consummation. Holy crap! I did my duty and then we took a flight to Alaska.
Right now, when I look at the whole event, I take full responsibility for the way the marriage played out. He never had a prayer with me as his wife. The events as previously described and in the post”I Survived A Kami”, took place because I was too coward to be me. I really think that I played with fire and pressed his triggers of his past abuse, unknowingly at the time. I was still coming out and afraid to be myself. I never expected to have so much damage left in its demise. Till death do us part? The “us” did die a painful death.
My father and I saw each other again when I took my daughter to see him when we returned back to the states. He graciously accepted us and was totally fine for a time; until the day I told him I was divorcing my husband. The very marriage he was so against was coming to an end, and now he was urging me to stay with my husband. If any of us had a chance to have happiness, the divorce would have to happen.
Dad and I sat down and had a heart to heart. I told him everything about who I was, what happened with my marriage, and I just let it all out. I watched him carefully. It was the hardest thing I ever did to come out to my adopted Catholic father and now I waited for his response. He stood up and said “You are no longer my daughter. I am removing you from my will and I never want to see you again!” He told me to leave. I asked him “What about your grandchildren?” I am not sure if he heard me. I was now disowned. The goal of living without my father on my back that I had set 10 years prior, had now come to fruition. Stunning, isn’t it?
Once more, I had a talk with my dad before I could enter the service. I called him on the phone to find out if he had a copy of my birth certificate because I was going into the Army. If I had any doubt if his feelings had changed about me, they vanished with the one question he asked. “They let people like you in there?” I swallowed and told him that I needed the service to help me rebuild my self esteem.
When I was standing at my post in Gate 2 in a nuclear weapon site in Germany, a call from my x lover and current wife of my x husband, came through. She gave me the news that 2 months prior, my father had passed away. The finality of it all slammed me into a seat. I stared out the window, tears streaming down my cheeks, trying to come to terms with the fact that dad was already buried and there was nothing else I could do, except grieve on my own.
It is in my power to forgive and dad, I hope you have forgiven me, too. I have learned a lot since then, and today I watch as my grandsons defy their parents, like I did. I understand the force that drives them and hope they won’t choose the school of hard knocks like I did. Wisdom sucks sometimes.
Posted by Steffie Rae