Copyright 2021 by Janis LeForge
now, there were many years I was reluctant to tell my life’s
true twisting tale. Here are some thoughts on the “truth”.
We’ve been told that truth is stranger than fiction and it
will set you free. In court you must
swear to tell the
truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This is my true
many days are just another casual step in your life’s journey.
There are other days that shape your destiny; when you meet a fork in
the road and make a critical choice. I wish I had known then what I
know now. In my later years I learned that God had a plan for me all
along, but in 1964 at age 17 the danger was I tried to look into the
future to see what that plan was.
one of my four younger sisters, and I were trying out a new Ouija
board that had been a recent gift. In case you are not familiar with
the Ouija board let me explain. The board is a flat surface with two
rows of the letters of the alphabet printed across the center. In the
upper left corner is an image of the sun and the word “YES”.
In the upper right is the moon and the word “NO”. The
numbers 0-9 are printed under the alphabet and the word “GOOD
BYE” at the lower edge. The Ouija board is placed on the laps
of two people sitting facing each other. The persons doing the
questioning place their finger tips on the pointer (a separate device
also called a planchette) and concentrate on the question that has
been spoken out loud. The pointer begins to move very slowly and
spells out the answer you are seeking.
question was, “What is the name of the true love of my life?”
was in high school but still infatuated with my grade school crush. I
had been from the time I first saw him on the swings in 5th
grade. He had dark hair and dreamy blue eyes. His smile lit up the
playground. By 7th grade thanks to our Junior
lessons, he had become quite skilled at the jitterbug, waltz, &
cha-cha-cha. He was my on again/off again boyfriend, Ron, I’ll
call him RON #1. My sister knew all about my feelings for him.
sat quietly still and as the pointer started to move, I looked at
Judy and said,” Are you doing this?”
replied with a perfectly straight face, “No! Are you?”
pointer moved to the first letter- “R.” Now I was sure
Judy was messing with me.
moves across the board, “O” it indicates. I can see where
we are heading and I’m just not buying it. “N” it
points to and then quickly slides to “good bye”. So- RON,
my wish, my dream, my truth? I was both skeptical and excited. My
sister vowed she did not move the pointer. She was just as amazed as
I was. If you can’t trust your own sister, who can you believe?
fall I got a part-time, after school job at the Tartan Tray Cafeteria
at a local mall. I worked in the kitchen making pudding and salads,
cleaning the coolers, and stocking the food line. The procedure for
checking in was to remove your time card from the rack above the time
clock and punch in for your shift. The cards were sorted by job
category – dish washers, kitchen ladies/line servers (me),
cashiers, and cooks. The cards were listed by last name and first
initial of the employee only. I’m leaving off last names to
keep it simple. The cooks, as I was later to figure out, were:
was not interested in them other than a passing curiosity. There were
several R’s as you can see and I needed to learn which R was
which cook. They were all older and constantly making off-color
comments. Since I was the youngest and most naive new worker, I was
an easy target for their teasing. Today this behavior would be called
harassment, but this was the 60’s. When they would hit on me, I
just kept telling them I had a boyfriend (RON #1).
study hall one morning as I am sitting next to RON #1, he chose this
moment to inform me matter-of-factly that he had gotten this junior
girl (we were seniors), Linda, pregnant and was going to marry her!
My Eagle Scout athlete had gone over to the dark side. Linda was part
of the fast crowd, we called them “greasers”. I was
crushed. The Ouija board said he was mine. How could this happen? To
hide my hurt, I acted like I didn’t care. I would show him.
than a week
later, when the head chef at work asked me out for the umpteenth
time, I finally said yes. What was his name? Remember the time cards
- RON! Maybe the Ouija board was not wrong, I just had focused on the
incorrect Ron. This Ron (let’s call him RON #2) was just the
ticket to convince RON #1 I didn’t need him.
#2 was a man. He was five years older than me with
a good job and a cool Corvair
convertible. For our first date he took me to a fancy Italian
restaurant called Corrados. I had food I had never heard of, but I
enjoyed it. His parents lived on the Chain ‘O Lakes and had a
boat. That summer, I perfected my waterskiing. You could say RON #2
took me places I had never been and taught me another side of life.
Nine months later I was Mrs. RON #2. In the beginning I was thrilled
to be away from my parents’ house and rules. Soon I realized I
had traded my mother giving me orders for my domineering husband.
did not live happily ever after. RON #2 was not pleased that the
18-year-old he married grew up and changed. The greatest blessing I
took from this marriage was my amazing first-born son, Rob. Fast
forward seven years and RON #2 and I were divorcing. As fate would
have it, RON #1 was also in the midst of a divorce. We came close to
re-connecting, but our reunion was short lived. We had both
transformed our lives in different directions. He had picked up a
toxic habit -drugs. The RON #1 bubble was permanently burst.
was 1973 and I had all but forgotten the Ouija board. I met a friend
of my sisters’ coworker, a Viet Nam vet named “JEFF”
who became my husband #2. The great thing about him? He was the
opposite of RON #2 who had treated me like a child that needed
constant supervision. Jeff gave me the new untested roll of manager
of everything. I will always be thankful for Jeff adopting my older
son Rob and the two of us creating a second fantastic son, Mike. This
little boy was the next greatest gift of my life. Jeffs’ dream
was to be his own boss and live on a lake. We bought a bar up in the
Northwoods of Hayward, WI. and moved our little family there. We had
no idea of what we were doing. We never even looked at the books
before we made the decision. Our union lasted eleven years. His
personal demons did us in. For the next seven years I was a twice
divorced single mom of two boys on my own. I felt like a failure, who
knows without Rob and Mike to keep me grounded, that may have been
this time, unbeknown to me, RON #3 was always nearby. He was in my
orbit, but not on my radar. Even from birth, we were close, born in
the same Chicago hospital. He lived in Des Plaines, IL not far from
me in Mt. Prospect. When my grandparents would ride the bus out from
Chicago to visit, we would pick them up at the end of the bus line in
Des Plaines. The bus station was just blocks from RON #3s house.
During my high school years, after I got my drivers license, there
was a local drive-in called Big Boys. I used to hang out there with
my girlfriends. We would just cruise around the parking lot checking
out the cars and looking at boys. RON #3 was there too, showing off
his first car a Tropic Turquoise color ’57 Chevy convertible,
but we never met. When I married RON #2, we had our wedding
reception at a place called Flying Carpet in Rosemont not far from
Des Plaines. Where did RON #3 and his first wife have their
reception? The same place! Both couples lived only a few miles apart.
RON #2 and I even had close friends that lived in the same apartment
complex as RON #3 and his wife. We were there often for cards or
parties. I may have even admired RON #3s Corvette in the parking lot.
Still, we never met. Can you count the coincidences?
it or not I
didn’t meet RON #3 until 1989. A close friend of JEFFs
(ex-husband #2) sent me and my dented car to the body shop where RON
#3 worked. There he was in his blue and gray work uniform with his
name printed over his heart “RON”. He had a deep sexy
voice and a great laugh. There was an instant spark of attraction but
since he was married the timing was not right.
car was named “Hal” the talking Chrysler New Yorker. He
would say things in his mechanical voice like: “fasten your
seat belt” or “your door is ajar”. I bought Hal
used because he was a good deal. The highlight of the car was the
turbo engine. When I was sitting in the car driving it was a sweet
ride. If I had to look at it, well, let’s just say it was an
old lady car featuring a plush blue velour interior, and I was not an
old lady yet!
years later the car I never liked became the vehicle that brought me
back to RON #3. Paint began to peel off Hals’ hood, so I
returned to the body shop dressed in a black and yellow striped top
and a white mini skirt. This time RON #3 was now single and flirting.
He claims I stung him wearing my “bee” outfit and we were
soon inseparable. I am happy to report that the 3rd
was indeed a charm, RON #3 is now husband #3 and we have been
together 30 wonderful years!
moral of the story? Following the Ouija board and trying to see Gods’
plan for my future cost me 20+ years of wandering in my own vast,
barren desert. I’m sure this little drama made Satan laugh. I
understand now why the bible forbids spiritualism. Today I live by
faith and trust in the Lords’ plan.
is a typical baby boomer, influenced by the era she grew up in: JFK –
The Beatles - the moon landing -Viet Nam. The oldest of five girls,
Janis always wished for the impossible, an older brother. A psychic
once told her, “I see you in your old age surrounded by the men
who love you.” Her hope for boys was eventually realized. She
is married with two sons, two stepsons and four grandsons. All of her
great passions: golf , writing and pickleball came later in her life
after a range of careers (waitress, Tupperware demonstrator,
accountant, banker, Northwood’s bar owner, purchasing manager).
up in the Chicago area, she writes about the times and places most
familiar to her. “Sand Fly” (a crime story) was her first
novel. “The Romanov Remnant” (alternative history) is the
second. Some of the same characters are featured in both novels which
are available in paperback & eBook @ amazon.com. Janis lives
contentedly in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas with her husband, their
chunky rescue cat Chelsey, and her extensive shoe collection.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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