Maggie and Lauren alternate as hosts for the Throwback Thursday memories.
This week it’s Maggie’s turn to set the theme, which is Independence.
Learning to be independent is a critical step in adolescent development. Some people ease into it a step at a time, and others plunge in all at once. When did you start to feel independent? Maybe it was when you finally had your own bedroom, or perhaps the first time your parents let you stay home alone. Or maybe the first time you slept over outside your own home. Money can signify independence. What was your first job? Maybe independence was transportation – a new bike, your driver’s license, a new car or your first trip on an airplane. Or maybe, it was when you moved away from home – maybe into a college dorm, or an apartment of your own or maybe it was moving in with a significant other and sharing space outside your parents home. Or maybe it was something else entirely. What milestones signified your search for independence?
I guess I stepped up to being independent in 1972, which was a difficult year for me.
I was 16 and right in the middle of my ‘O’ levels, we had family problems and I found myself very much on my own. So much else was going on but no-one seemed to have any time for me and I was kept in the dark as apparently everyone wanted to ‘protect’ me.
Had I known, I would probably not have been so upset, confused, and eventually resentful because I would have understood the reasons why my Mum was never home when I got in from school and why we would never live in the house my Dad was building for us.
I grew up very fast that year, and left school in July having sat 5 ‘O’ levels and eventually being notified of passing 3. Disappointing, but not surprising under the circumstances.
I landed a job at the local gas board and was earning pretty good money for the year. I budgeted and worked on the rule of thirds……… a third to Mum for my keep, a third to savings, and the rest was mine.
I didn’t have much of a social life, lost a lot of weight which nobody noticed, and generally kept myself to myself.
I got married in 1977 which turned out to be a big mistake, separated after three years and got my decree absolute the month before my fourth anniversary. I’d moved back into the parental home and in October 1981 I announced I was going to quit my job and move in with a guy and his two young kids 75 miles away. I still see the way the fork stopped halfway to my Dad’s mouth before continuing. My parents were surprised but never said I couldn’t or shouldn’t do it, and Dad said it would always be my home, but I could not expect to come and go as I pleased if relationships went wrong. I know now that he never approved of my partner and as things turned out, he was right about him and I had been used for what I could provide. He never said I told you so though.
When things turned sour and I had my breakdown, I was very much on my own again to fight my battles, but I had a good GP and a supportive boss and a year later, Dad and my brother turned up outside the house with a van and I moved out.
I left the place clean and tidy, the laundry up straight, a meal cooking on timer and Easter Eggs in the cupboard. I’m not proud of the way I left, and although the family knew I was going to my parents that day, they had no idea that this time I wasn’t coming back. Funny thing about it all was that the first thing the Ex wife asked was who was going to look after the kids?
My brother took me and the dog in, and priority was to find a job, which I did in 2 days through a temp agency. I was made permanent within a month and stayed with the bank for over 12 years, having two promotions and for the last five years was a financial analyst, a job I adored as it was all number crunching. Money was always tight and I was working three evenings at the dog track to meet my financial commitments, which is more than Ex Partner did, so the bills mounted up over the two years it took for my solicitor to get a court order to make him sell when he refused to buy me out.
Hubby and I have been married over 30 years and been together 32. We are a couple, a pair, a twosome, an ‘US’ but two independent people who could manage on their own should anything happen to the the other. Hopefully that won’t be for many years yet.