Saturday, September 20, 2014

My prayers (5)

So, I made it to church, nearby - Hollywood's First United Methodist church.

I had cleaned up, dressed up - apparently well dressed, as it wasn't long after the services was over and I was noticed - by two young couples who hurried to tell me about a Single's class, to which I was cordially invited, and to a gathering that "just happened" to meeting in a few minutes.  Why not...

The meeting was being held at the home of the sponsors, "Doc" and Mary, a not yet elderly couple who were "Mom" and "Pop" to the group.  There were a number of cute younger women present and a couple of guys.  I can't recall everything that happened, but I was back the following week, and the next, and again and again, in the following weeks.

I was attracted to a cute, younger gal and it wasn't long before we were - a couple.  I really liked her and it was very obvious, she liked me as well.  The "liking" grew into loving and before either of us ever considered the consequences, we were in bed together.  When we learned that she was pregnant, our love bloomed.  The wedding that followed - in another church (for some reason that I have long since forgotten) was formal and not everyone noticed the baby bump.

With the thought of a baby on the way, we were excited and a new job was better than I had originally hoped that it might be.  Our offices were at the corner of Hollywood and Vine and drew lots of applicants, most of whom were more interested in "stardom" than an "eight to five" routine, But since most needed money to pay for their rent and expenses, we were rather prosperous.

Our first daughter was a long time coming, but when she arrived, she was even more beautiful than we had hoped that she might be.  I was so proud I even convinced a car leasing friend of mine to put us into the latest model car that was available.  Life was good and then came a promise to make it even more so.  Another agency offered three of us, a brand new office and it was located just three blocks away from my best client.  Then, the agency owner asked if she and her husband might use our new car for the weekend.  Why not?  There was a reason I should have reconsidered the request as - unknown to me, she and the bookkeeper (not the husband) had planned a trip to Las Vegas.  They apparently took all of the company's assets and lost them.  The next (and lat) time I would hear of "our" car was when the CA Highway Patrol reported it abandoned on the highway leading from Las Vegas, a hole in the oil pan and the engine burned up.

We had used up our assets in making the move and now, we were dead broke and another mouth to feed.  I lost it.  My world had fallen apart.  Had it not been for my Sister, who knows what might have happened to us.  She offered us a bedroom and a lot of love and so we moved in.  I had no idea a what I should do other than find a job and I took the first one that was offered - as a cashier in a place called Melodyland, where eventually my sister would join me.  Friends of hers offered us a car, a '46 Packard, not easy to look at but it worked and I bought it for the cost of the registration fee.

An old friend called and offered me job, taking over management of an employment agency and move into the owner's house as she was moving to another State.  We would be moving from my sister's bedroom to a three bedroom house, fully furnished, in a neighborhood that was very concerned about appearances.  They asked me to be sure and put our old "clunker" into the garage, so that others would not complain about it sitting in the driveway.  

The agency had established a bad performance reputation and I realized it would take a long time getting it going again, but we were living an a beautiful rent free home and a great place to raise our daughter and another one that was on its way.  Just as I was beginning to believe things would improve, I had a call from a former agency manager, offering me a salaried position in the plastics firm where he was the Sales Manager.  That was precisely what we needed.

We had to move and found a two bedroom furnished apartment and then had an offer to buy a house on a contract basis.  It meant we also had to buy new furniture, but with the new job and a "boss" who knew of my work ethic, it looked like we were better off than we ever had been.  Then, there was an argument over something I have long since forgotten and my wife threw herself down on the bed, crying.  I couldn't stand it and suggested we go for a ride and cool off.  Along the way, her water broke and we headed for the hospital.  Five hours later, our second daughter was born, but there would be problems.  The pregnancy was only in its seventh month and the baby weighed less that five pounds, compared to the ten pounds and eight ounces her sister had weighed at birth.

She would remain in the hospital for the next ten weeks and the bills began to amass.  We were unable to maintain payment of our house contract, so we had to move.

Our little new baby was every bit a precious as her big sister and we were - or should have been, very blessed.  Even though my company was not given over to periodic raises, nor bonuses, the regular pay check was sufficient for most of our expenses.  I settled our huge debt that we owed the hospital by presenting them with my thoughts about suing them for the incompetence they demonstrated in caring for our daughter after her birth.  I had no idea this might be possible until a hospital employee who had noticed my tears on my nightly visits to the hospital while our daughter remained there, came to me and offered to be a witness if we brought a suit.  Others joined her and as the hospital recognized the seriousness of my complaint, they settled at no further costs to us.

All the while I kept thinking, it was the fact that we were "good" people that made it possible for all of the good "luck" we were experiencing.  That would change/

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