Chapter 11, My Fiancée Honors And Protects Me
The summer of 1967 I got a job at The Tropicana Gardens Bowl, with the fib I
was 18. With my summer earnings I bought a neighbor's two door 1956 Desoto hard
top for $300 at the start of my senior year.
The Desoto was a tank with lots of lights and tail
fins. Inside it had big front and rear bench seats, power window controls, a
dash mounted push button automatic transmission and a miracle bar radio which
shifted to the next clear station when pushed. It was an expired status symbol.
The driver's door was jammed shut requiring a passenger door entry and exit,
reflected in the purchase price.
I drove Mom to work, parked at her hotel and walked to school. With the
Desoto I blossomed into school popularity. Engaged to a man and having a
driver’s license while status symbols of sorts paled before the big one, “wheels”.
It meant I was somebody, one who could provide transportation in her own car.
Also pressed into family errands, I drove Mom shopping but stayed in the car
and listened to the radio if she went to the grocery to avoid food stamp
stigma. Dad made me park on the street so he could park in the garage. A
brother also got his license with me as instructor and bought his own clunker.
Thereafter the front of our house was cluttered with our cars, typically with
my brother’s in some state of repair.
My fiancé’s parents were not pleased their only child chose a young, poor,
Catholic, Asian to marry. Well, mostly they were upset with my being Catholic
but could say little due to their failed status. With our engagement, my fiancé
took control of my life. I was to finish school, plan the wedding, work
weekends and be with him the rest of the time.
His infatuation with me remained a mystery but I accepted I was to be married on graduation by wearing his ring, except to school where it was prohibited. There I wore it on a gold chain concealed from the nun's view under my blouse instead of the Saint Christopher's medal I once wore.
While poor and from a dysfunctional family he had a future with his college
graduation. I wanted security from the monthly rent is due crisis and out of my
cramped house, not the best reasons for marriage but for me, good enough. Love,
I didn't think of romantic love. Instead, I loved suddenly having a secure