San Clemente is a lovely beach city, I thought I would love it. Actually, I did - but the "problems" still existed and as the old joke used to go - I was in "de Nile", Egyptian for denial.
It wasn't difficult finding a job. It was great being with the kids. The wife and I were getting along. My job was setting up a "mail order" list for the Company catalog, featuring gifts from the Far East which they imported. I liked the work, quite a change of pace, but the money was not sufficient, so I applied for and got, an evening job at a local factory, operating a punch press. I had never operated one before, but I had assigned people to the job while I was in the temporary help business. To my surprise, I liked what I was doing and the money helped.
To my dismay, my wife had made a number of acquaintances with stores in the area. She would buy what she thought she needed, write a check - she was certainly experienced at that, and then when it bounced she would blame it on her husband. One time, he was a Marine Corps pilot , shot down in Vietnam and you should have seen the look on his face when I showed up to arrange for payment. He still seemed to believe her story, ignoring the fact I had been in the Air Force and only rode in airplanes.
I needed more money so I applied for and got, a "middle of the night" job cleaning KFC restaurants. It was an "ok" job, but hard to stay awake, given the fact I was working two other jobs. Then, one day, the boss came into the store where I was working, claimed I had stolen one of the employee's wallets and he knew it had to have been me as my wife had told him I had a record of stealing things from my previous employers. I stopped by the bank at lunch to look at our statement as I had not heard that we had ever received one and learned, they had sent two since I signed on to the account. It indicated two of the checks I had written had bounced and notices sent to the house. I went to the people I had written those checks and learned they had talked with my wife who had "admitted" I had a problem with checks. This had to stop.
I had saved enough money to hire an attorney by not cashing a couple of paychecks on the assumption there were problems and assured my wife that it either had to stop or I was going to file for a divorce and take the kids. I had plenty of copies of the "bad" checks she had written to prove my claim. As usual, she broke down and told me how sorry she was - no other explanations.
The next day, I called a friend in Los Angeles who I had heard was opening an office in San Diego and asked for a job. He drove down the next day, I looked at his plan, evaluated his offer and agreed to go to work with him. We spent the afternoon in San Diego looking for a place to live, found a nice two bedroom apartment, across the street from a shopping mall and on a bus line. He paid the first and last month's rent and I decided to move.
The next day, after the kids were off to school, my wife and I sat down and I told her of my plans. I was going to take the kids and move. My lawyer assured me that I had every right to do so and made it plain in a letter to her, assuring her if we moved as I had planned, I would withdraw from the potential case. We both agreed, if there was any further bad checks or situations with money where one or the other had not shared, the marriage was over. She agreed and we moved.
To be perfectly honest, I was not happy with the new job. Somehow it seemed, I had lost my interest in working. I goofed off a lot, but I was being paid a good salary. I loved being with the kids and it seemed as though the marriage was getting better. I discovered a job opening in an employment agency and thought the change would help to inspire me. It seemed to work.
Then the "bomb" dropped. Mail was missing from the next door apartment and my wife had confessed, alleging that I was the "Master mind" compelling her to do it. She was taken to jail and I became the subject of the Post Office's investigation. It almost tore me apart to read what was being said about me. She even accused me to the landlord and he was kind enough to refund my full deposit and we had to move. We were living in a dumpy apartment when the Police came to take her away and I was so angry, I would even say good-bye.
I would learn that she was being sent to a prison up-State for a 90 day evaluation as I was seeking to find someone who could help us keep the kids as reports she had made to the Agency involved in such cases, insisted I was an "unfit" parent. I found an old friend in Tulsa, OK, a Christian I felt that I could trust and was told he could see me, if I could come to Tulsa. I found that the authorities would allow me to place the children in "Foster" care for 90 days, found good homes for both the girls and the boys, and I left for Tulsa.