Single Mom 


Bonnie Boerema


 
© Copyright 2017 by Bonnie Boerema


 
Photo of Bonnie's Grandmother, Mabel.
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In 1968 my husbandís job changed him from the day shift to the night shift. The guys that worked nights were mostly single or divorced. He started heading to the bars with some of them when his shift ended at 1:30 p.m., and coming home about daylight. Women started calling the house.

In 1971 tragedy struck. A twenty one year old drunk driver from Kansas City, going over one hundred miles an hour, with a horse trailer behind his truck hit us on the left side of our car. Our little middle son, Chris was killed instantly from a head injury. Neither me, my husband, David or Crystal had a scratch on us.

An ambulance was there in minutes. We were headed to St. Johnís Hospital in Springfield, Missouri. I held Chris in my lap, praying for him all the way there. They wheeled him into the ER, while we waited in the waiting room.

When the doctor came out, he shook his head, and said that he was gone.

Then we went back home. Our house was surrounded by cars. Some friends and family were already there, and a few curiosity seekers, since it was on the news.

After the days before the funeral, when it was finally over, and everybody went home, my husband walked out the door with everybody else to drink with with his friends. The marriage was already in the toilet, and his infidelity and coldness toward me finished it.

After Chris passed, I was in no shape to pursue a divorce. David and Crystal were only seven and four years old. We were all hurting. I couldnít hurt them further.

But by 1975, I went to an attorney, and set out to get a divorce, Our divorce was final by the end of November, 1975. David and Crystal were twelve and nine years old.

It was right after Thanksgiving, and the start of the Christmas season. Although I had a job I liked working in the Admissions Office of a private college in Springfield, Missouri, it was still a struggle to make ends meet, with very little child support and two kids.

With the Christmas season starting, this one looked pretty bleak for us. I bought us an artificial tree at Walmart, and lights for it. My daughter, Crystal didnít like it that Christmas, and several after it. After paying the bills, there was very little money left for Christmas presents for David and Crystal.

My parents were very good to their grand kids, which I was thankful for since I couldnít buy them much.

David got a Penny power route when he was thirteen. Crystal was babysitting at twelve. Davidís first real job was at Trotterís Bar-B-Q Restaurant in Springfield.

Crystalís was at Dennyís, as a hostess. Neither of them had their driverís license when they started. I was driving them to work, and picking them up.

As soon as each one turned sixteen, they got their license. In their last two years of high school, they each worked and went to school.

It was February of 1976, David was thirteen, and Crystal was ten. Both had been hurt by the loss of their brother, and our divorce. It had been a long ways from a good marriage, but I still felt guilty, and worried about them.

We had lots of snow that winter. In January and February weíd had several inches of snow on the ground for weeks. My ex came over and threw my child support (cash) in the snow. Thatís when I went to the Prosecuting Attorney in Greene County, and explained my situation to him. He fired a letter to my ex, telling him to start paying the child support by check on the first of the month, no later. He never pulled that again.

The entire year of 1976, I didnít date at all. But by June of 1977, I decided on the visitation weekends David and Crystal went to their dadís, it was time for me to socialize.

I went to a Parents Without Partners dance, and met a guy named Carl Morgan. We started dating on the two visitation weekends that I was alone. He wined and dined me royally, and had lots of fun together. That relationship lasted six years.

He was one of the best friends Iíve ever known. He wasnít wanting to marry because of my two kids. I wasnít wanting to marry either, at that time. No better than my first marriage had been, I was in no hurry to remarry. Weíd never had an argument in six years. But when I told him I wanted to part ways, we had a good one.

By 1981, David and Crystal were teenagers, with all the drama that goes with teenagers. They still argued and fought a lot. There were times I thought Iíd pull all my hair out from the frustration. Especially Crystal was a real handful. At sixteen, she thought she was twenty five, and knew it all. But by the time she was eighteen,  sheíd grown up and lined out a lot. She kept her first apartment immaculate. I Ďd had a real struggle getting her to clean her room when she was living with us.

At eighteen, Crystal started to Southwest Missouri State College, and was working her way through. After two years, she decided it was too hard to do both. After high school, she found a job managing a tape and record shop in Kansas City.

After a few years working there, she found another job, selling for Verizon in St. Louis.

David continued his job at Trotterís Bar-b-Que for a few years. Then in the mid eighties, he got a job in the banquet department of John Q. Hammons University Plaza Hotel in downtown Springfield. He worked there five years before he found a job at St. Johnís Hospital on the Orthopedic floor. It was a good job, with excellent pay and great benefits.

Since David and Crystalís well-being and happiness were very important to me, I was pleased when they married and started raising their own families. Seeing my grand kids the first time was a big joy of my life. My heart just melted. Both David and Crystal are good parents. Iím very proud of them both.

There have been ups and downs in our family, as there are in all families. But Iím thankful David and Crystal became successful adults. They didnít have an easy start in life.



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