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 Category:  Biographical Non-Fiction
  Posted: August 23, 2021      Views: 193
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BethShelby is retired from the printing and commercial art field. She is married and has four children and three grandchildren. She and her husband presently live in Tennessee.

Painting, photography, and writing are her passion. She has ha - more...

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Chapter 136 of the book Remembering Yesterday
Sometime life throws unexpected curves.
"Life's Not a Fairytale" by BethShelby

During this chapter, all of our children are living away from home, and Evan and I have the house to ourselves. Still, we are family and keep close tabs on what is going on with everyone.

For new readers, who may not have read my author notes, this is written in a conversational way as I talk to my deceased husband. When I refer to someone just as "you" this means I am addressing my husband, Evan.

By the end of January, Connie already regretted having changed her major to Nursing. Chemistry was something she didn’t find interesting, and it was an extremely hard class to pass. Anatomy and physiology weren’t going well for her either. By February, she was talking about dropping the chemistry class, in spite of the expensive lab fees and books we’d purchased.

She wasn't mentally prepared to be back in college. Working part time at the furniture store and continuing to have an active social life wasn’t leaving her a lot of time to study. She still had moments when she felt lost without Lenny in her life. She wanted a stable relationship. Lenny had kept her grounded. Although they hadn't always agreed, it seemed her life had more of a direction when he was with her.

You and I were surprised to learn she had decided she wanted to become a camp counselor at one of the church camps during the summer months. She had never had a desire to attend a summer camp. Camping was an activity Don and Christi enjoyed, but Connie was a different personality type. She didn't enjoy getting involved in church activities, and she wasn't enrolled in a Christian college. It didn't seem likely she would be considered, when she applied for the position.

Surprisingly, she was offered the job, and she accepted it. She was told to report to the Alabama camp in mid-May. They were looking for someone to teach rock climbing and rappelling, in addition to being a girls' counselor. She didn’t know anything about rock climbing, but she was assured she would be assisting someone who knew what he was doing. She also was expected to get a physical exam and take a class in order to be certified as a lifeguard.

Connie's physical exam caused us a lot of stress. The doctor found problems with her heart. She had an irregular rhythm pattern and her heart rate seemed extremely slow. They did a lot of tests and scheduled her to see a cardiologist. I got knots in my stomach over the news, because I'd had rhythm problems with my own heart since I was in my twenties.

My problem, rather than beating too slow, was that my heart rate tended to suddenly go from a normal rhythm to beating around 160 times per minute. I could usually get it back in rhythm by massaging an artery in my neck. Connie's problem was different, but I wondered if perhaps it was related. The specialist did more tests and said it would need to be checked regularly to see if it was becoming worse. Since it had never bothered her, the doctor said it might be something she'd had since birth, but at some point down the road, she might have to have a pacemaker. 

In February, a friend named Joseph offered Connie a ride to New Orleans to go to Mardi Gras. She never turned down a chance to go back to the place where she was born and had spent the first thirteen years of her life. She and Joseph attended four of the parades leading up to the big day. While there, they visited my friend, Diane, although her daughter (Connie's friend, Lesley) had gone to California for the week. She did get to see another friend, Jennifer, who lived next door to Diane.

Christi was trying desperately to hold onto a relationship with Denny. He had decided he didn’t need Christi in his life and was dating another girl. Christi knew he was wrong for her, but that didn’t keep her from calling him and begging him to come back. She had convinced herself she was in love with him. She told our pastor  she’d prayed about it and felt it was God's fault it wasn't working out. The pastor used her as an example of how we sometimes blame God, in one of his sermons. He didn’t use her name, but I thought it sounded like Christi. Later, she told us he’d asked her permission.

Carol was still living in the apartment where she had signed a six-month lease. She was going to Chattanooga State and taking a computer class, and she was also working at Memorial Hospital. She was having to buy some furniture since she hadn’t kept anything except a couple of wicker chairs and an unheated waterbed. She bought a small TV, a microwave, a loveseat and a waterbed heater.

In February, she went to Georgia to visit Glen's family, even though her new friends at the hospital advised against it. She had been close to Glen's family, and they still treated her like they always had. They blamed Glen for the breakup, but Carol took up for him and assured them there was plenty of blame to go around. Glen had met someone and was planning to remarry. The wedding would be in another state, and his family weren't planning to go to the wedding. Carol seemed to feel they weren't supporting him enough. In spite of everything that happened, she still always defended him. After the divorce, the church had removed his name from the rolls. Carol resented the church having done this, even though Glen hadn't attended in a long time. She wasn't grieving over the divorce any more. I think she realized the relationship they had wasn't healthy for either of them, and it was best they both got on with their lives.

Mom and Dad were having problems. Dad was not only falling, but he was having bowel problems and was refusing to wear protection. She was constantly having to help him clean up, and sometimes he had accidents that caused her to need to clean the floor. At one point, she used paper towels and tried flushing them. The commode overflowed and flooded the house. They had to get a plumber and someone with vacuum pumps to dry out the carpet. Mom was nearly eighty and didn't need to have to deal with such problems. I felt helpless to know what to do about their situation. Dad's temper and lack of appreciation didn't help matters. 

Since Kimberly had become pregnant, Don called often to ask advice. I don't think he had anticipated the mood swings pregnant ladies sometimes have. He was worried about Kimberly and also wanted to talk about what it was like to be a parent. He seemed unsure if he was ready for that responsibility. Although he had graduated, he would still need to pass the chiropractic boards before he would be certified to open a practice. He was spending a lot of time studying in order to pass the exam.

I've told you many times, how much I have loved the years we spent together, and that if I could be granted the opportunity, I would relive every day of it, in a heartbeat. In remembering some of the problems we dealt with, I realize I wasn't being completely realistic. It was a good marriage, but in spite of the happy moments, no one's life is all a fairytale. Along with the good, come problems. That is life, and it is all a part of the grand adventure.  I don't regret a day of it.

Evan is 65 and a retired drafting supervisor from Chevron Oil.
Beth is 56 and has had a variety of jobs. She is presently working temporary jobs.
Carol is 31, a nurse, working at a hospital in Chattanooga and living in an apartment.  
Don is a twin. He is 30 and just graduated from Life Chiropractic College. 
Christi is Don’s twin.  She is working as a receptionist at a chemical company and doing massages on the side.
Kimberly Dye is Don’s wife. She is a nurse working in Atlanta.
Connie is our youngest daughter. She is twenty-one. She is a sophomore in college and is working at a furniture store.
Glen Egolf is Carol's ex-husband. He lives in Florida and works in Orlando.
Lenny is Connie's ex-boyfriend.
Denny was the boy Christi had been dating.



The book continues with Home is a Place of Refuge. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
I'm continuing to recall memories of life with my deceased husband, Evan, as if I am talking aloud to him. I'm doing this because I want my children to know us as we knew each other and not just as their parents.
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