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A PROMISE OF MARRIAGE AFTER GRADUATION AND A DEPRESSED MOTHER



1960-1961
          


          A few weeks later Al came to Grants. He told me he had been having a hard time.  Of course I forgave him.  We took up where we left off.  He drove us back to Albuquerque where I picked out an engagement and wedding ring.  Al put them on lay away.

          “We’ll get married next summer as soon as you graduate.” Al said.

          Grants was 70 miles from Albuquerque.
          Route 66 passed through the long main street of Grants.  Uranium mines and mills were the town’s main income.

          A small three-bedroom house was rented and Bronco and I began school. I was the youngest in the 1961 senior class. I made many friends and had opportunities to date, and socialize but I was “engaged.”

          Life was good at first. But as the year continued Mom was moody. Something was bothering her. There were mornings when she fixed breakfast for Bronco and I.  But some days she didn’t want to get out of bed.   She confided to me that she had tried to over doze on pills but it hadn’t worked.

          I didn’t have a car so my friend Louise picked me up for school every morning. Her parents owned the jewelry store in Grants.   
          Later in the year, one of our friends from our class, died in a car wreck.  As I attended the funeral with other classmates I once again was faced with death.

         The age-old question resonated in my mind …why was I here?

          Mom and Al were having a silent war. They couldn’t stand each other.

          “The sooner you get away from your mother the better,” Al said.

          One weekend I was invited to go to Albuquerque with a friend and her mother.  My objective was to see Al.

          “No, you are not going to Albuquerque!” Mom said adamantly.

          I spent my senior year angry and frustrated with my mother. 
          Mom was angry with all of us. There was no way of pleasing her.  Because I was "engaged" I spent most of my time at home, so I was with her a lot. 
          When I folded the towels, she said they should have been folded a different way. No matter how I did them it was never right. 
           The house had wood floors. She went on a rant that they had to be polished with wax. If they weren't just right we were all in trouble.  

It was like walking on a tight rope. 

(As a young adult, I thought it as my fault that I couldn't please her. But, now I know she was desperately unhappy.)