By Del Star, a pseudonym, all rights reserved. Submitted 5/27/2015.

Chapter two

GROWING PAINS

Once more Grace and Dianne had an apartment in the school. This school had only ten students: five in grades 1-4, and five in grades 5-8. Grace taught them all. Dianne enjoyed the atmosphere. There was another girl in the sixth grade and they became fast friends. They planned their lives together and agreed that they would attend academy at the same boarding school and would room together.

Grace met a man at this town and became involved with him. They talked of marriage. Dianne recalls that she did not like the man but never told Grace. They would travel together and visit back and forth in each other’s homes. One day the conference superintendent of the schools visited at the school and Grace began packing. When Dianne asked what was happening, she was informed that they were moving to Portland.

It was much later that Dianne discovered that the man with whom her Mother was involved was coming to their apartment late in the night and spending the nights with her Mother, arising before Dianne got up and going to his own home. Some of the members of the church had observed this and Grace was relieved from her assignment and her teaching credentials were removed.

The conference education department was good to Grace though. They arranged for her to have employment at the hospital in Portland and found her an apartment in the basement of the home of a retired minister/missionary and his wife.

The move was not all that bad, though Dianne missed her friend from the small school. She looked forward to the day when they would room at academy together.

Dianne now found herself in a very large SDA school and she really had no experience in making friends. She found herself very shy and reticent to participate. However, she got along well and attended Pathfinders at her local church. She loved Pathfinders. Her directors devoted their lives to the youth group which was extremely active.

At this time also, Dianne’s father, Donald, separated from his second wife, Arleen. Donald and Arleen had two daughters and they began attending the same church where Grace and Dianne attended. Dianne loved the idea of having siblings and enjoyed both of the girls and their mother. Donald, infrequently, came to town and would visit with Dianne but they had very little commitment to each other.

Too quickly, Dianne was ready for academy and she was enrolled at the boarding academy about 35 miles from Portland. Her friend from the small school was also enrolled and when Dianne saw her she was excited and ran to her to make sure that they would get their room together.

Dianne’s friend told her that she had decided to room with her sister instead, and once again Dianne found herself in the midst of strangers. This time she was even living with them.

Boarding school was not good for Dianne. She missed her family and by now had become insecure. Grace was not a stable person and frequently would lash out at Dianne, telling her that she didn’t know how to love anyone, that she never would love anyone, and that no-one would ever love her. She criticized almost everything that Dianne did and told others how awful her daughter was. One lady approached Dianne and asked if Grace was her natural mother. When Dianne answered in the affirmative and asked why, the lady said that she just didn’t think that a natural mother would talk that way about her daughter.

Dianne had discovered boys but Grace would not recognize that Dianne was no longer a baby. She would not allow her to communicate with the boys. Dianne took to hiding, making phone calls to the boys when Grace was not around. There were some unsavory types who obtained her phone number and called one night, late in the night. Since Grace and Dianne also shared the telephone with the minister/missionary and his wife, the gentleman answered the phone. The boys asked for Dianne and when he asked them what they wanted with her at that hour of the night, the boys proceeded to tell him. The gentleman and his wife became very concerned and shared their thoughts with Grace.

Dianne did not want to stay at the boarding school but because of this incident, Grace determined that she would not leave the boarding school. Dianne became ill and was sent home. The doctors determined that she had appendicitis and made arrangements for surgery but after Dianne had been home for a week or so the symptoms disappeared and it was determined that the stress of the boarding school had brought about the symptoms of appendicitis. Still, Grace would not allow Dianne to return home.

Grace did recognize, however, that Dianne was not going to thrive in the residential situation and so she began making plans to move to the village of the academy and drive back and forth to the hospital.

She found an old tumbledown shanty with an outhouse, a bucket-drawn well, wood heat and cooking, and holes in the walls. In these conditions, Dianne moved back in with her mother.

Dianne now felt that her life was being manipulated and that she was not trusted. She resented the academy because it was mandated that she be there because the boys had called her home. She felt that it was not her fault that they had called and this added to her feeling of not being trusted.

She “arranged” that she be kicked out of school but when it happened, once more she felt insecure. She had never been a “bad” child and now she felt “bad.”

Dianne had become fond of a senior boy from the village. They began spending time together and Dianne would visit in his family’s home and he in hers. His mother liked Dianne but his father did not. Since his mother liked her, Dianne was accepted.

After the boy, Alex, graduated from academy, he sought work for the Boeing Company in Seattle. Grace found a place for him to stay with Lorraine and her husband who now lived in Seattle, where Lorraine’s husband was an architectural engineer.

Once again Grace packed up and moved, this time to Seattle, where Dianne could be near Alex. Grace and Dianne moved in with Grace’s sister and her husband, and Grace obtained employment in a local nursing home. Dianne had not returned to school and she was now a drop-out as a sophomore. She, too, found employment in a nursing home but it didn’t last long.

Alex was not happy staying with Lorraine and her husband and after several months he, too, moved in with Grace’s sister and her husband. This was a relatively small house and had only three bedrooms. Grace’s sister had five children, including a set of twins, and now the family consisted of ten people.

Alex, by now, was working full-time for Boeing in a good position and asked Dianne to marry him. Dianne was excited but according to tradition, she had to “think it over” and it was all of about two hours before she told Alex, “Yes.” And so the wedding was planned. Dianne was now nearly seventeen years old.

Two weeks before the time of the wedding, which was planned for a Saturday night, Dianne returned to the home of George and Ruth to get everything together. It was a grand reunion and Ruth and Dianne had good fun making all the arrangements, getting the license, selecting the flowers and enjoying each other’s company.

The family gathered on Friday evening. Alex drove down from Seattle, bringing Grace with him. It was a large wedding with approximately 500 guests. Unlikely as it seems, the pastor from the academy where Dianne and Alex had attended, performed the ceremony.

While still in Seattle, Dianne and Alex had picked out a home and made arrangements to purchase it. It was a small, two bedroom doll house, and Dianne finally felt as if she would have her own home and that she would be secure. She loved Alex with all of her heart. They would not be able to take possession of their new home for about two months, but Alex had found them a small two-room apartment in downtown Seattle for the interim. Rentals were extremely hard to find at that time, for the World’s Fair had just opened in Seattle. The small two-room apartment was in view of the Space Needle and Dianne was anxious to begin married life.

On the night that Dianne and Alex were married, they went to a motel nearby. Their room was actually two rooms, each containing a bed. They had agreed that someone needed to know where they were in case of an emergency and had let Grace know where they could be located.

As luck would have it, when they left the reception, the best man had driven their car. They had gone to a park with the best man and his wife until the hubbub of the reception had died down. Then they returned to the parking lot where the best man and his wife had left their car and each couple went their own way. On their way home though (about 65 miles away), the best man and his wife stopped for gasoline and discovered that he had left his wallet in Alex and Dianne’s car and they had to return to George and Ruth’s home to try to find Alex and Dianne. Grace was able to supply them with the information and late in the night Alex and Dianne heard a knock on their motel door.

Sixty-five miles was an awfully long way to drive after they had attended church during the day, been in the wedding that night then had driven part way home and had to return. Alex and Dianne suggested that the other couple spend the night in the other bedroom at their motel and this set the tone for Alex and Dianne’s marriage. They were very rarely without company.

Dianne was in a dream world as she began her marriage and, like her mother before her, was very proud of her husband. Sabbath mornings were their special time and Dianne would fix a breakfast which contained special items that were nearly instant to fix.

Grace continued staying with her sister but would come to Alex and Dianne’s apartment on Friday nights to spend the Sabbath and attend church with them. Seemingly it was a wonderful life.

The two months passed quickly and Alex and Dianne moved into their own home.

It was there that the storm clouds moved in around them.