When I turned 18, I moved out of my childhood home; I didn’t have much choice. I needed some sense of normalcy and most of all, to have peace in my life! I felt guilty for leaving my mother behind with my father! Even though I always offered a place for my mother, she always refused! Upon moving out, my job gave me a good salary and I had great job security for someone my age. I would have to commute approximately 40 minutes each way; however, that never bothered me. I moved to Chester, New Jersey; a lovely rural town 45 minutes away from my parent’s home. I rented a renovated barn, with one bedroom, one bathroom, a galley kitchen and a 30 X 40 living/dining area. My backyard was enclosed with a stone wall; I loved this place!!! My landlords lived on the property with me; they lived in the old estate, which was a Georgian colonial from the late 1800’s; it was beautiful! My landlords demented father lived with them; he would wait for the bus right near my kitchen window at least once a week; he would be totally naked! I would always tell him he missed the bus, so he would go back inside. I had a cat and then adopted a dog to keep me company; oh yes, and had many field mice. I had freedom, determination, a positive attitude, a great work ethic, pride and peace for once in my life! It was a strange feeling to be on my own at this young age!
Within the first couple of years of being on my own, I had several very severe health issues. Shit!!! My mother was right by my side. We always stuck together like glue; we had a very special relationship. This was a chance for my father to support me, yet he turned away; he never even visited me at the hospital. I was determined to get back to my home. I remember comparing myself to a bird with a broken wing.
Staying away from my childhood home, reading mass amounts of self-help books, exercising, going to church or at least having faith, eliminating alcohol from my life, going to 12 step meetings, and attending therapy, showed me I could still live on my own and begin to heal. I was going to be fine. My life would be happy and healthy. I was motivated!!!
Through reading my self-help books, I began setting goals for myself personally and professionally. I really wanted to go to college to study psychology; yet, that wasn’t in the cards for me. I started working for a local newspaper company, selling advertising space. Following that, I moved on to a direct mail sales position with a nationwide advertising company. I succeeded with this job as well. However, I still wasn’t content with my future career options in this field; there wasn’t enough to keep me motivated.
So, I started to investigate other markets… Everything I read was stating that computers, chiropractic care, holistic care, and legal practices were on the up and coming career paths for the immediate future. So, I researched more and decided to be trained in Reflexology in NYC. I studied, and became state certified in NJ, NY and PA. I started my own business; renting rooms in oncology offices, health clubs, spas, chiropractor offices, and beauty salons. My business was thriving; then I had a skiing accident and hurt my lower back, ruptured both eardrums and had a concussion. Bending over for hours a day didn’t mesh well with my skiing injuries; my business was doing so well. What a dilemma!!!!
It was during this time when I worked for a direct mail advertising company, that I met Gordon. We later became engaged. Gordon lived in Westfield, NJ, not far from Chester. Soon thereafter we became engaged and we decided to buy a home in Pennsylvania. I commuted to NJ for my reflexology business; he was also commuting to New Jersey to build houses.
Every year on Christmas Eve there was a celebration at my parents, not only a celebration for Xmas, but for my grandmother Meyer’s birthday as well. Everyone who attended was jovial and social throughout the house; my parents loved to entertain and knew how to throw a party. My mother always prepared a huge spread of foods and desserts. My father always handled the booze and that was unlimited! Every year, just after midnight, my father would sit at the head of the dinner table and act like someone had just died; he was starving for attention. When everyone else in the house opened their gifts near the Christmas tree, my father would sulk on his throne at the table, and expect everyone to carry their gifts to him. I hated watching his sad face during this ritual. He never seemed satisfied with his gifts either; this was ironic because he never bought a single gift for anyone except my mother.
As I grew older the relationship between my father and me grew further apart. He hated that he lost control over me. When I did visit, if he started getting nasty which happened almost every time, I would get up and leave. It gradually morphed into staying at a local hotel instead of their home during visits. My mother hated this; however, I had to do it for self-preservation. Whenever I would tell my father how I was doing professionally; he would tell me “Anyone who is in sales is a shyster and a piece of shit”. Ohhhhh happy days!!! He was my cheerleader! NOT!!!
Now back to new my table in Effort, Pennsylvania. Another new table for me to set! I had this amazing dining room in the farmhouse. The room had beautiful moldings; chair-rail, base, cove and crown. There was a small servant’s door, which led to a bedroom on the second floor. In the center of the room, right above the long mahogany table, the room was dressed with a stunning pewter & crystal chandelier centered over the table. I had Schumacher burgundy and ivory toile wallpaper hung on the walls and used my Aunt’s china for dinner parties.
I cut down my reflexology hours drastically. I started going to a nearby ski resort for exercise classes every morning. One day after my exercise class, I was approached and recruited by two land sharks in the sauna; they wanted me to work for their broker in Bushkill, PA. I interviewed two days later and got the job! I also met one of my best friends on my first day of work; she’s still my best friend! I had to study for my real estate license and then pass the test in order to work with this broker; I did both. I sold land, vacation properties, quarter shares and time shares for my broker. It was a fun and crazy industry. The real estate market was booming in PA! I made a killing!!! My friend and I had a great time at work…there was never a dull moment!
I thought I would be able to keep my table clean and avoid any major problems; not so! Life doesn’t work that way. Without getting into great detail (maybe in another post in the future) I decided it was time for me to move on.
I walked away from my relationship with Gordon because of what they now call irreconcilable differences. The farmhouse we bought together, with 22 beautifully landscaped acres, said hasta la vista to a 45’ boat, and other expensive items all of which I had paid 50% for and worked very hard to get. Once again, I decided that a new table was a metaphor for a new chapter in my life.