But, I Loved Them More…

“I married my first husband when I was two months pregnant with my oldest daughter. He was dark and handsome.  I was a light skinned Irish Italian girl and he was Puerto Rican. Those two didn’t mix often in the fifties in New York City but tell that to a young girl crazy in love.  If I saw him across the street I couldn’t wait to cross the street to get to him. We had a quick wedding since I was pregnant. The actual wedding was in my in-laws’ living room. Eighteen months after my first daughter, I had my second.”

“My life as a wife and a mother was not all that I imagined it would be.  My husband had a very bad drug addiction before people knew what that meant.  No one, myself included, understood the downward spiral that he was on. Our life was a series of ups and downs.  At times things were ok, and other times, I would come home to find that he had sold our furniture to buy drugs. Nothing is sacred to someone on drugs, it’s a sickness. Things were rough, he was violent at times, and we struggled to make ends meet.  I worked through both of my pregnancies as a waitress and tried desperately to keep things together for my girls and myself.”

“My pregnancy with my second daughter was very hard.  My husband went to jail for the 4th or 5th time. I remember him casually commenting, “Don’t worry baby, I’ll see you in six months.”  All alone, I refused prenatal care because I was too proud to take charity and had an episode where I bled heavily at work. Back at home, my husband sold everything out from under me for the last time.  I was sitting in an apartment on Christmas Eve with an eviction notice, no lights, and very little food. I looked at my belly and my little daughter and knew it was time to love them more than him.”  

“I was done and filed for divorce.  Although I was madly in love with him I was able to have the strength to walk away because I saw history repeating itself. My children were not going to live the life that I had. If you think that being a single mother is tough today, imagine in the 1950’s the stigma that was attached to it and don’t forget to add that my daughters were of mixed race. Although my husband came from a proud, hard working family, he had a serious drug addiction, we were poor, and he was in and out of jail.  I had grown up ashamed of my family and my upbringing and I did not want that life for my daughters. I was uneducated, unmarried, and all alone but I knew that I would find a way and I did.”  

“At the writing of this book I am 83 years old and I can tell you that I never loved a man the way that I loved my first husband, which is a good thing.  I was desperately in love with him in the way that only a young person can be. It was that kind of crazy love that you makes you do stupid things and keeps you on edge.  When it was good it was great and when it was bad there was no limit to how terrible it could get. I married my second husband more out of respect than love but grew to love him more than I thought I could love a man over time.  He earned my love and affection which is very different.”

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