About ME, By ME!
Gloria Dianne Klaschka Abrams Pease

Someday someone, who probably doesn't know much about me at all, is going to be asked to say a few words about me and won't have a clue what to say. Since I consider myself to be an expert on the subject, who better than me to talk about me than me?!

I choose to enter this world February 9th 1945 in the middle of a blizzard. Mom, alone and in labor, was at the mercy of a cab driver and the snow plow that they followed all the way to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern N.Y.  

To further complicate things, I was a breach birth. You know, "Bass Ackwards"?! Apparently this type of birth and the 'spinal' they gave Mom was a 'first' for Good Sam and my entrance to the world was witnessed by every doctor, nurse, intern, or anyone else for that matter who wanted to watch! Even my Grandpa Cole, who was a patient there at the time, was also invited to have a 'look see'! Right up till the day she died, Mom never stopped reminding me of her most embarrassing moment. Me!

Dad was at Camp Shanks in New York State preparing to go overseas but was granted a pass for a quick peek at his new daughter before being shipped out to Germany. We wouldn't see him again till he returned a year and a half later.

Along with my brother and sister and three cousins, I grew up on the same New Jersey farm land that Dad and his five brothers and two sisters grew up on. We had our own ball field where we would play stick ball, a garden where we'd sneak off to with a salt shaker in our pocket and eat fresh tomatoes right off the vine. There was a brook to wade in, a lake to fish in and to skate on when winter's chill turned it to ice. Large fields grew an abundance of pussy willows, black berries and black eyed susies. There were old sheds to make forts out of and large sturdy oaks to climb and build tree houses in, all tucked in between dense wood lands filled with deer, rabits, squirls and birds. It was a wonderful place for a child's imagination to grow and explore.

After a child hood friend died, Grandma Klaschka told me the most delightful story. Jesus was a carpenter and he is in heaven building heavenly homes for us to live in. When they are ready Jesus will come and get us, reguardless of our age. On warm sunny days I spent hour upon hour laying on my back in a field of daises and buttercups just loosing myself in the clouds searching for my house. I'd shout to the heavens, "Jesus, if you haven't started my house yet, that's o.k. I am in no hurry! But when you do build it, do you think I can have yellow curtains on my windows just like Merry Monaghans?"

Back yard barbecues toped off with big ice-cold slabs of juicy watermelon were as much a part of summer as sitting on top of Dad's old Dodge watching the fireworks on the 4th of July. I can still see myself running around with my empty Mason jar racing toward the flashing lights of the lightning bugs. Summer nights we'd stay out till dark playing, Hide and Go Seek, Cops and Robbers and "Tag! Your it!"

I can still feel the joy and hear the laughter echoing through my memories of my childhood years where the words "Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe", "Do Over" and "Olly Olly Oxen Free" made perfect sense. I double dog dare you to tell me otherwise!

I attended Brookside Elementary School. Grandma drove all us "Klaschka kids" to and from school. On a few rare occasions I rode my 'bike'. I don't remember ever walking to school, but I made it a point to walk home on the days I knew Grandpa would be down town. He always greeted me with a smile as he dug deep into his pocket producing two shinny quarters he called "Sunday money". I remember thinking that If I told him it wasn't Sunday he just might take it back! Back then fifty cents would buy a bag full of tasty morsels and then some! But I just had to stop at Kraft's Bakery for a whiff of fresh baked bread and a free cookie from the pretty girl that worked there.

My first day of fourth grade had to be the best first day ever! We walked into the class room to find this tall red headed woman drawing this humongous caricature of herself on the black board. She wrote 'Mrs. Kook' in big flowing letters. Then, like a scene right out of a Julie Andrews movie, she burst into song gracefully gliding across the room from desk to desk singing "Getting to know you, getting to know all about you!" Now that was memorable!  

In 7th grade I auditioned and was picked to perform in the annual talent show. Mom was so proud! She gloated, "all those years of clarinet lessons are finely going to pay off! You know she gets her talent from me don't you?" When I walked out on stage dressed like Elvis with black crayon side burns wiggling and jiggling to Hound Dog I thought she'd die of embarrassment! I believe I was the world's first female Elvis impersonator!

I can't remember a time where I wasn't consumed with thoughts of getting married. I was a hopeless romantic "in love with love". Some how I believed life wasn't compleat unless you were Mrs. Somebody with a bunch of little someones running around. I loved to sing at the top of my lungs as I swung from the rope swing that hung from a large tree branch in my back yard while trying to touch the sky with my toes. "I'm as corney as Kansas in August, I'm as normal as blue berry pie. If you excuse the expression I use, I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love with a wonderful guy!"

My first date was another moment in time that won't be easily forgotten. Tommy and I were standing by the door saying our good nights when out of the blue, right in front of this nervous 12 year old boy, Mom says, "Glory did you remember to brush your teeth and change your underwear?" Talk about embarrassing moments! I suppose pay back is a bitch!

My thirteenth birthday was celebrated with the first 'boy-girl' party in my class! We crowded my entire class into our living room and danced the 'Lindy' to "Rock around the Clock" and "Shake Rattle and Roll". We played "post office". When the boy I had a secrete crush on called my number I was estatic! Imagin, my first kiss from the boy I liked best! How wonderful is that?! He was so nervous that he completely missed my lips and kissed my nose and cheek! I asked for a 'do over' but he said "Nahh, the first time was bad enough!"

I didn't do too well academically simply because I just didn't apply myself. All that Readin' 'Ritein' and 'Rithmetic stuff was interfering with my quest for Mr. Right. I wouldn't say I was 'boy crazy', but everyone else in the free world would!

  All I really needed was Home Economics. Mom always said a woman doesn't need an education to scrub floors and change diapers! As long as I paid attention in Home Ec class I was going to be just fine. Although I had a crush on anything in pants, I didn't have a real boyfriend till High School when I traded in my jump rope, jacks, sckate key and baby dolls for 45 RPM records, transistor radios and boys!

I fantasized about the day I would meet and marry my tall dark and handsome Prince Charming to the point of obsession. I had every detail covered. After the magical fairy tail wedding, We would ride off into the sunset to our pink house with grey trim filled with every single item in Mr. Oakley's Gift Shop and surrounded by a white picket fence. We would have a boy, David Todd, and a girl, Anna Bell and of course, a happy ever after.

College was never an option for girls like me. Mom said college is just for rich girls who are looking for a rich husband to support them in the manner they have been accustomed to. However, a woman has to support herself while waiting for her prince, and needs something to fall back on if she becomes a widow. So learning a trade was of the utmost importance! After deciding I wasn't pretty enough for this or smart enough for that, Mom suggested a trade as a florist or a beautician. However, an allergy to mass quantities of flowers made my career choice simple.

Immediately after high school graduation I attended Como Beauty Culture College and earned my beautician's license. I won a hair styling contest with my 'Fanny wing-flip creation'! That was fun! Won me a 6" trophy and a box of permanent wave lotion!

I'm all set now! I'm 19 years old with a high school diploma and that all importiant trade to fall back on, now bring on my 'prince'!

Not only was I made to believe a womans only purpose in life was to be a wife and mother, apparently there was a time limit to boot! The closer I got to the age of 21 the more danger I was in of becoming an "old maid!" Now that was a fate worse than death!

I had been playing house all of my life and I was anxious to do it for real. At the age of 21, I moved out of my parents home without the promise of marriage into an apartment I shared with another 'old maid' Joan.

While waiting for my prince to come I worked as a beautician at Buhr Studio. My boss, Bill Buhr, has to be the most eccentric man I have ever met. His idea of a joke was to spread limberger cheese on a slice of black bread and ask one of the patrons "does this butter smell bad to you?" After one good healthy whiff, the poor woman didn't need us to curl her hair! I enjoyed working there but I sure wasn't about to meet Mr. Right in a room full of woman and one wackey German.  

Up until I started working I was quite the social butter fly with an abundance of friends both male and female. It was a lonely time for me with all my friends either in college or married. I was desperate to find places to meet people my own age. I found a few bars up state where collage aged kids hung out.

They say you can't meet a decent woman in a bar. Well let me tell you, the same goes double for men! Though there was this one guy I met at Benny's who stole my heart away. It was like a scene right out of a 'chick flick'. I was sitting at a table nursing a seven and seven, the Juke Box is playing "Tonight I met the boy I'm going to marry" as this tall, dark and handsome guy walks in the door. Our eyes meet, he walks towards me, takes my hand and escorts me onto the dance floor and we danced! When he told me hisname was David Todd, my utmost favorite name, I was sure this was a sign! It's a match made in heaven! We dated for months and even talked of marriage. I really thought he was "the one", but apparently, so did his fiance! Evidently he had no intentions of revealing his double life until I accidentally walked in on his bachelors party the night before his wedding. No one before that moment has ever hurt me as much as he had that night. After him I met one low life right after the other and simply gave up dating for a while after that.

One Saturday night while bowling with my brother Don, I met my first husband. He had just gotten out of the Army and was working the snack bar until he found a 'real job'. We had grown up in the same town, went to the same schools, and knew all the same people. He was familiar and I felt safe with him. Ironic isn't it?

I was raised in a generation where girls were controlled by their parents rules before marriage and their husbands rules after. Men were the 'bread winners' and, to quote Ralph Cramden, "King of the Castle"! Wives obeyed their husbands, no matter how much she disagreed with him. A woman 'knew her place', and her place was 'in the home!'

I didn't have that fairy tale wedding I dreamed of, but it was a nice wedding all the same. We spent our wedding night in my apartment, I packed sandwiches for the drive to Niagara Falls in the morning. He didn't make reservations in advance and I suppose beggars can be choosers since he checked out several motels until he found a cheap B & B. We slept late and missed breakfast. We went to look at the falls but it was raining too hard to do anything else, and we returned to our room.  Assuming all meals would be included in the price of the room, hubby had a fit and a half and said we were to pack up and go home when he learned otherwise. As hard as things were when I was growing up I never once knew what it felt like to go hungry until that moment. Although I had spent my last dollar on a souvenier for my new husband, he wouldn't cough up the money for a meal for his new wife. Apparently the money we received as wedding gifts was to be saved for our future, if we didn't starve to death first!

Married life was not at all as I had imagined it would be. The honey moon was just a preview of things to come and would not be the only time I would be hungry, broke and defenceless against my 'protector' and that everyday would be a struggle just to survive.

Conviently for him, we moved into my one bedroom apartment and stayed there with two children for four years until we found our pink house with grey trim, white picket fence and all! We filled it with our three beautiful children and not one darn thing from Mr. Oakley's Gift Shop! If it wasn't for family 'cast aways' or itmes on the street during clean up week we would have an empty nest for sure!

I trusted my husband when he said he simply didn't earn enough money for the luxuries in life such as clothing, medical, dental, and house hold furnishings. So, like the good wife I was brought up to be, I made due with what we had and learned to live without what we had not.

When I agreed that my husband would handle the money, I never dreamt he meant it literally! I was given a small amount for food every two weeks, which was never enough, and that was it!

He claimed he didn't want to spoil me by helping me with house work, the children, buying me gifts or being romantic. He siad hugging and kissing was something you did to try and get a girl to 'put out', now that we were married he doesn't have to, but I DID!

Most occasions went by with not so much as a card. One christmas he gave me a 25˘ box of cookies from Woolworth's and another year he wrapped a brick and put it under the tree.

I learned early on in the marriage that he had absolutely no intention of providing for my needs or the needs of our children. A simple request for a dime for an ice cream or money for new shoes for the children was met with verbal out bursts that often led to a physical confrontation.

I knew married couples quarrelled from time to time. Mom and dad must have had their moments but I can't remember a time where my dad would ever consider leaving his family stranded at a theme park miles away form home without so much as a dime simply because one of us kids asked for a 25˘ souvenir. And certainly Dad would rather die before taking out his anger towards some loud mouth co worker on a woman or innocent children.

From the time he left for work each morning until he walked back in the door, life was good. The words "Daddy's home" was not met with excited enthusiasm. It was more of a warning to be quiet and NOT to do anything to set him off. The years of 'walking on egg shells' and living in constant fear of his unpredictable fits of anger and abuse was taking it's toll on my health and the emotional well being of the children.

Slowly my dreams of a happy ever after began to fade. I began to fear for our lives and safety. The marriage, along with the house and picket fence were in disrepair. My heaven on earth became a living hell.

Sadly the same unwritten laws that frowned upon a girl for leaving her parents home before she married applied to her returning home after she was married. My pleas to come back home were met with "you made your bed, now lay in it!" No one said marriage was a bed of roes" The only socially accepted single mothers were widows. Unfortunately, there were laws preventing me from making myself a widow! The local Police made it clear they don't get involved in domestic disputes. Mom made it clear that Dad was not to learn of any marital abuse. I had no where to go and no one to turn to and he knew it!

A local minister offered to 'council' us for free but he refused to do anything to save the marriage. I went and I learned to develop some what of a backbone and began to have my own life and friends during the hours he was at work. I became active in the church and Scouts and baby sat to earn money for my children's needs.

We had been living like paupers for years. The words "I work seven days a week and can't save a dime" became his 'mantra'. I did what I could and became quite resourceful making many personal sacrifices to try and help until the day I found he had been squiring thousands in a secrete bank account!  Any trust I had for him flew right out the window. Without trust there can't be love and that was the beginning of the end.

I gave him every opportunity to seek professional counselling to try and save the marriage. The final decision to D-I-V-O-R-C-E was to be his and his alone. Don't let him tell you any different!

When I received an accident settlement I purchaced a CD with what was left after I bought the children, who had been wearing second hand cloths most of thier lives, new wardrobes. It was the first time in 13 years I had any money to call my own. I had been going for marital counceling on my own since Mr. "there's nothing wrong with our marriage except she lets the kids go inthe refrigerater and I don't want them to" wouldn't go.

Although my Docter and Ministers thought counceling would be constructive, it was anything but. I was developing a back bone and for the first time standing up for myself. I was also was litterally the final blow, and I knew I had to get out while I was still breathing. I honestly didn't have the money or the energy to fight for the house and a legnthly court battle. I was emotionally drained and just wanted the night mare over. I had barely enough for a lawyer to represent me in a no fault divorce. When his attorney informe me that they will allow me to stay in the house for no more than a year and keep the furnishings in lue of child support, I had to fight to keep what was rightfully mine. Hubby was trying to take everything and leave me and the children with no place to live, furnishings and no financial support what so ever.

I was foolish enough to believe that divorce would end the night mare I had been living for the past thirteen years. Silly me! Little did I known then, but I would have to spend the next 17 years in and out of court trying to get him to pay his child support. He went to great lengths to avoid his responsibility from not working at all to accusing me of kidnapping when I, with his knowledge and blessings moved with our youngest son to Florida.

After the Tuxedo house was sold, I bought a mobile home with my share in a community in Monroe where single parent households were more common. The kids were adjusting to their new schools and friends. Because Mr. Tight wad wouldn't cough up the five bucks a year to renew my beautitians license I didn't have that all important trade to fall back on any more. I found a job at a hardware store that supplemented the child support nicely. We were living quite well, until some idiot at work told him without a court ordered support he didn't have to pay. He was sure since I didn't have money for a lawyer, and would have to pay his fees I wouldn't fight it and he wouldn't have to pay any more. What he didn't know that the same day I was informed he was not going to pay child support any more, I was told I needed major surgery and may have cancer and lost my job to boot!. I called Social Services who not only gave me financial assistance, and Nurses AId Home Health Aid training they took his sorry butt to court!

Mother, trying to keep me from divorcing Mr. Not-so-wonderful, always warned me "no man wants to raise another man's children." However, I was married to a man who didn't want or support his own children. My children were starved for a father's affection, not to mention my own needs. My Prince charming turned out to be a real toad! We weren't in our new place too long before I met my second husband. My Knight in shinning armor coming to rescue me from the muck and mire.

He described himself as a father without kids.   I had kids without a father, and he lived right next door!  Oh this has to be 'meant to be'! He lavished all sorts of attention on all of us. Buying me gifts for no reason at all, taking us on drives where we'd have picnics and go exploring. He became the father my children never had and so desperately needed, he was their Uncle Daddy! He was my should mate! My daughter was always leary of his motives, but, being able to charm the spots off of a leopard, he soon won her over.

We had a lovely wedding in our rented bi-level home, we went to a local motel for a honeymoon night. His daughter Jess, who came to be in the wedding, stayed. Her mother told us that she had been holding on to his daughter for the past 12 years in hopes she would get him back. Since it appears that is not going to happen, "take her, she's yours!" Her arrival caused a quite a disruption and she was not at all a happy camper.

I was so over whelmed with four kids and maintaining our 4 bedroom home and working I found myself doing all the work while he had all the fun with the children. I felt shut out, but they so needed a father's companionship I put my feelings aside. However, hind sight is 20/20 and if I had any idea that he had his own agenda and wooed and courted me only to gain access to my children I never would have given him a second glance.

I was so ego beaten with no self esteem by the first husband I was blind sided by the lavish attention he showered upon me and my children I simply couldn't see through his manipulative scheme. I never saw his true personality until after the wedding. The change was immediate. He had spent many months building my ego up and then spent the next 18 months trying to knock it down. I went from Ms. Can't do anything wrong' to Mrs. Can't do anything right' overnight.

I learned that he had serious issues with his mother and he felt by marring me with a ready made family and providing a home for his daughter would make her proud but, she was proud alright but gave me the credit. From that moment on things rapidly deteriorated and to him I was the enemy and he was determined to make my life so miserable I would leave but without the children. He manipulated the children into believing that they will all starve to death in two weeks if I divorced him and encouraged them to stay with him.
A few months into the marriage he started reviling things about his past and himself that made me question if I really knew this man that I married. When his former choir director was brought up on molestation charges, he defended him as "a man who was simply giving them the love their fathers never showed them." I honestly didn't know that such people existed nor that men who who were molested as children molested children when they became men. It never occurred to me that my boys were in jeopardy or that I was married to a pedafile.

My concerns were more focused on his and my 12 year old daughters. He had told me that his X wife had given him permission to "have his way' with their daughter when she was 18 and he hadn't made up his mind if he would or not. He also informed me that he lusted after his 15 year old niece and would "do here" if she were to visit. I was concerned for the girls, never in a million years did it occur to me he was interested in my boys too!

Although things were falling apart I believed we could get back what we had. He would give me these insane suggestions as to how to save our marriage. Once he reminded me that I was 40, and when people look at me they see 40, he needs for me to look and be 20 so people would look at him and see 20! (He had eyes for a 20 year old in our church so I assume if I didn't become 20 like he so desperately needed, then he's be justified to take up with her. The last night of our marriage he said he read when a lack of exercise caused mental confusion and that my lack of oversize was causing him mental confusion and if I wanted to save the marriage I had 60 seconds to get out and walk 15 miles! As hard as he tried to get me to leave, I tried harder to get us back to where we were, never realizing where we were was never real. Apparently, his intentions were all along to marry me and then make my life so miserable I would leave, only that he'd keep the kids. He stormed out of the house when I refused his ridiculous ultimatum only to return to demand I leave and leave the kids behind. I refused, demanding he leave if he was so miserable. He was outraged and would later tell the judge he was acting in self defence by attacking the children. I apologize for being so naive to the perverted ways of the world.

Once again I set about trying to rebuild our lives. It was incredibly difficult to be both father and mother to my children. I was raised to be a June Cleaver not Ward! I was forced to work many jobs for many long hours and my relationship with my children suffered. For that and that alone I will never forgive either one of my husbands.

My children can blame me all they want but I was every bit the victim as my they were. All I eve wanted was a happy ever after with my prince and our children. I was betrayed and deceived by the ones who were supposed to love, honor and protect me. My dreams were shattered and my children and I have been permanently scared.

One by one my children left to start their own lives. I worked many jobs from hairdressing to driving a fork lift. I was a janitor and a chambermaid. But not excluding hairdressing, I enjoyed my years as a home health aid. I always loved being a home maker and caring for my family and now I am getting paid for it.  In a world where it takes two incomes to run one house hold I had to work double shifts just to make monthly expenses.
I have always had to work long and hard and I often feel I am just watching my life pass me by. Even when I had to take a leave of absence to care for my ailing father I found myself still committed to responcibility and unable to enjoy what is left of my life.

Ironically, the best times in my life were between the hours of 7:30 a.m and 4:30 p.m when the first was at work and I was involved in school, church and scouts. My children were my world and I did my best to make their world as happy as I could given the restricions and limataions put upon me.