Monday, May 21, 2007

Reaching Out To The City Lights...Chapter Eight

Returning from our honeymoon, Mervyn and I settled into our life together as man and wife. I enjoyed decorating our little apartment in an attempt to make it feel like “home”. And life was fine for a while, but in time I became unsettled and restless within myself. I began to feel fenced in, trapped. Discontentment crept in. It became invasive. Mervyn was a good man. What I was experiencing wasn’t his fault. I didn’t fool myself. Fully aware I’d married on the rebound, it was up to me to face and deal with the consequences. We socialized often; spent weekends at Noosa when we could juggle them in with our other commitments. Mervyn was still a surf lifesaver and had to fulfill club responsibilities. Reading, a pastime enjoyed by us both, filled our quiet hours. Periodically, we enjoyed small dinner parties with friends. My love of cooking had a stage on which to play. Recipe books began to take their place on my bookshelves joining my many other books. I was always eager to try something new in the cooking field. Mervyn was a keen participant and taste-tester, although he constantly raised my ire when he insisted on adding tomato sauce to a bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese or Worcestershire sauce to a special curry made from the blending spices! To save myself from rapid increases in my blood pressure, I soon learned to hide the sauce bottles at the back of the fridge or cupboard, guiltlessly and callously telling him I’d carelessly run out of the sauces. He’d have to adapt his taste-buds to eating certain meals without the addition of sauces if he wished to survive! His well-being was at risk if he didn’t!

Throughout the years, looking back to that time in my life, dissecting it and understanding it, I’ve spent many hours reflecting in an effort to understand my actions of rushing blindly into marriage. “R” had deserted me. I felt betrayed, lost and alone, not that I admitted my feelings openly to anyone else. The majority of the time, my pain and hurt I kept to myself, with only a couple of weak, indiscreet moments. Obviously, one such unfortunate untimely moment was when I attempted to enter the church to be married to someone else. For the next couple of years, I pushed “R” to the back of my mind and into a secret hidden cavern in my heart. My efforts succeeded for a while, but persistently my memories of him kept recurring to taunt and haunt me. As hard as I tried, he was difficult to forget. “R” had stolen my heart. He had failed to return it. Battling with the reality of my true feelings, I couldn’t get “R” out of my mind. His shadow hovered constantly, in my dreams and in the daylight hours. Unremitting, interfering thoughts of him teased and tormented me. I was fully aware that I had no one to blame for my disquietude except myself. Without stepping back, spending time to think, I’d vaulted the truth and plunged into the deep end without a life-preserver, with a lifesaver!

Three years into our marriage, our life together had become robot-like. I knew Mervyn and I couldn’t continue living with our heads in the sand, pretending everything was all right. It wasn’t. Our arguments were minor and few, but we had descended into silences and remoteness. Knowing this wasn’t how life was meant to be, one evening I insisted we both sit down together to calmly discuss our situation. And we did. Brought out into the open, we were able to face each other honestly and reasonably as we dissected our lives, our marriage and what each of us expected and wanted. No blame was shed upon the other by either one of us. We’d shared many fun times. Generally, we’d had a great time. We were just not meant to be a “couple” forever. Agreeing we were better off parting and going our separate ways, I chose to be the one to leave the” marital home”. We weren’t in a hurry to get a divorce as neither of us had any immediate plans to get married again. I’d decided I'd “been there” and didn’t intend “going there” again for a long time, if ever. Mervyn felt the same, so the idea of divorce was put on the back-burner. More pressing matters were at hand, such as finding a place for me to move into. Within a couple of days, I found a flat in Oxlade Drive, New Farm, down the street and around the corner a bit from where Mervyn and I had spent the past three years. Plans were put into place for the big “move” to be on the Saturday. However, before that could happen, we received a telephone call from one of Mervyn’s sisters. She and her husband intended visiting Brisbane for the weekend. They asked if they could stay with us overnight on the Saturday! What could we say? The weekend was spent entertaining our visitors and my move was put on “hold” until the following Saturday. Our guests had no idea what we had in store, as we preferred to keep our personal business to ourselves. They were completely ignorant of how they'd upset our plans for the weekend. We could see the funny side of it all, though, carrying on as if everything thing was fine while they were with us. Not many people put off a separation to entertain guests!

The day arrived, again, for my removal from the ‘marital home”. Mervyn helped me pack and move, much to the delight of our upstairs neighbours who we had befriended. They were a young British couple, around similar ages to Mervyn and me. They thought they’d seen it all when he took off on foot towards my new abode with a tall bookcase resting on his head and shoulders. He’d made the bookcase for me, though not very handy in that department, he was very proud of his effort! Halfway through the relocation, we stopped, inviting Terry and Christine, our upstairs friends, to join us in going into the city to view the “Warana” procession. It was “Warana Festival” week and the parade of colourful floats etc., was about to commence. Shaking their heads and laughing, Terry and Chris joined us in watching the brilliant parade of floats, clowns and entertainers of all kinds. Now they had seen and heard it all, they reckoned. No one ever stops in the middle of moving out from a marriage to go and see a parade! No one except Mervyn and Lee, that is! There was no animosity, no spite or bitterness in our separation. Mervyn and I remain friends to this day. He has never failed to telephone me on my birthday. I do likewise. We email each other frequently. Periodically he rings me. He married again eventually. Jackie, his wife and I have met and spoken many times. They had a daughter, who only last week gave birth to their first grandchild. They also have twin sons. I’ve always been kept in the loop. All’s well, that ends well.

Five years or so after we separated, Mervyn rang me to enquire about us divorcing. I told him I would handle it myself, rather than donate money to solicitors for doing work I was more than capable of doing. I’d had five years legal experience. Divorce Law Reforms had come into being in the intervening years. We didn’t have joint property or children to be taken into consideration. So, I typed up the necessary papers etc., and in time, our divorce came through. It cost us $45.00 and that included my cab fares to and from the court! I don't regret those three years of marriage to Mervyn. I know he feels the same way about our time together. They were probably good for me. I matured. I needed that "life-line" to stay on course, I guess. Who knows? Life has its own mind. We are just mere actors in the play.

Settled into my new home on the banks of the Brisbane River, I ploughed my energies into my job with Kolotex Hosiery. For the previous couple of years, I’d frequently been expressing to John Trimmer my dream of how positive and intelligent it would be if we could set up our own joint marketing “under our own roof”, wiping out the need of the wholesale agents. I believed by employing our own people to market and sell our products; the company would expand even further, as our own people would be working for the company and themselves, putting their hearts, souls and loyalty into Kolotex. Something I didn’t believe we received from our agents’ salespeople, because the agents carried many different products manufactured by varying, diverse companies. One product soon became melded with the other in the minds of the salespeople. I spent hours and hours daydreaming. Even more hours were spent talking with John Trimmer about my dream for the Queensland office.

Our little Queen Street office in Heindorf House was bursting at the seams. Not only over the past couple of years had we hired two young men, Ken and Charles to replace Barry, but the “bigwigs” behind the tiller of Kolotex in Sydney had purchased a handbag company and factory. John Trimmer announced his plans of employing a hosiery consultant to be placed in the hosiery departments of the city and suburban stores, promoting our lines. The consultant would be booked out to the retail stores on a weekly basis to market and sell Kolotex Hosiery. My nose was put a little bit out of joint initially as I wanted so much to be out in the market-place, “hands-on” promoting the products of the company I so much believed in and loved. Although I said nothing about my feelings, my boss picked up on my discontent.

Taking me aside once afternoon when only he and I were in the office, John Trimmer said, “Look…I know you think you’d like to do the consultancy work, but I know better. It’s not what I want for you. It’s a shit job…you don’t want it, I promise you. We are moving forwards and upwards. Busy times, very busy times are ahead of us. I need you by my side to help me do what has to be done. I want to know you will be with me, beside me…I want you to be my “right-hand-man”. This company is growing and there are massive changes afoot.”

That proved to be an understatement.

John poached a departmental manager from one of the major inner city stores to join us. Isabell became manager of Glo International Handbags’ section of the Kolotex Group of Companies. Our little office of two had multiplied into six. The growth wasn’t to stop there.

Shortly after the purchase of Glo International, The Kolotex Group of Companies added another company to its stables. Rogtex Men’s and Women’s Wear was the latest acquisition.

John Trimmer formulated a plan based on his dreams and my daydreams of our ridding ourselves of the wholesale agents. He had always agreed with my vision for our Queensland office. Putting together a professional business plan, which I helped him work on, he flew to Sydney to present our idea to the “powers-that-be” in the head office and the Kolotex board. Not long after his Sydney visit, we were instructed to say farewell to the office in Heindorf House. A search began for new, much, much bigger premises, incorporating warehouse space, showrooms, general office area, reception area and managerial offices. The search began, also, for our own sales representatives to service an area extending from Tamworth in New South Wales to Cairns in North Queensland, west to the borders of Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia, together with warehouse and office staff.

We were about to embark upon the ride of our lives. We were on the brink of a most thrilling, exciting and fulfilling ride full of surprises, achievements and unexpected occurrences. I was ready but even in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined what was in store.

To be continued....

26 comments:

  1. Well another thrilling episode in the saga.

    I'm glad you and Mervyn were able to be friends after your divorce. When you look back with hindsight, you must wonder why you did get married. I'm sure it seemed right at the time. Luckily Mervyn sounds like a special person.

    Big business coming up?
    regards
    jmb

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  2. G'day there, jmb...yes, we have remained friends throughout the years. I have no regrets and I'm sure he doesn't either.

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  3. Hi Lee ~~ Great story continues and
    it is so nice that you and Mervyn
    have remained friends over all those years. And it looks like Kolotex
    Company seems likely to soar. Will wait to read the next episode.
    You remember the details very well.
    Thanks for your message. At last the new computer is going well.
    Take care, Love, Merle.

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  4. Hi Merle...thanks for your comment. I'm glad all has worked out finally with your new computer. It must have been frustrating for you there for a while. :)

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  5. I have to say that I both love and hate your 'to be continued....' line. It gives me an ecxited rush to know that there is more of your life that you want to share with us.... and it irritates me to the bone that there is more and that I have to wait patiently for it. Did you know that I finally subscribed to blogrolling just so I can immediately be notified of when you blog?

    To be continued.......

    lol

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  6. lol Nicole...you're a character! :) It's turning into a "Bold & The Beautiful" or "Days of Our Lives", isn't it? lol

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  7. Lee, another exciting and enjoyable read.

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  8. I'm loving this story, Lee. Can't wait for the next episode.

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  9. Hey Steve and Robyn...thanks...I'm pleased you are enjoying the epic! ;)

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  10. Hi Lee, still entertaining stuff, good to remember all those past times isn't it.

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  11. Beautiful story of you and Mervyn!

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  12. lol hiding the sauces is funnier than dirt,. Memories are the glue that holds the yesterday you and the today you together. Girl you have some mighty fine glue going on.

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  13. The divorce went waaay too smoothly for a good novel but otherwise an interesting read indeed.
    I had to chuckle at "“hands-on” promoting the products". If I were selling hosiery, I too would want to be hands on.

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  14. Well, that was what one might call a very civilised divorce. It does credit to both of you. I love the bit about stopping in the middle of it all to watch the parade! I am glad you are still friends. Can't wait for the "business" story to continue!

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  15. Yep, it is, Peter..and it's amazing the little things that come back when you start writing about them.

    Hi Robbie..thanks for your comment. :)

    It's a pretty big bottle, Lady Di. Glue that is, not sauce! ;)

    Hey there Cliff...sorry I didn't have any dirt to dish. lol But it did go smoothly and that's the way divorce should be, I believe. I'm not one for hassles and all that other stuff. Life too short for those kinds of pointless recriminations. I can just imagine you being in your element in the showrooms! ;)

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  16. Hi Lee,
    Stormy and I are back to our mundane life after going "Coastal".

    I finally got fed up with WordPress, and decided to post on Stormy's blog.

    We have a lot of similar or duplicate pictures as you can immagine, and it makes sense for us to combine forces so to speak.

    Loved Ch 8. My divorce was not heated, but I have neither seen nor talked to my Ex in 20 plus years. I have talked to her mom and dad every couple years, and they have not heard from her either. Sad, they have grandkids they have nerver seen.

    SNAKES! Just killed the first Copperhead of the season on the front porch today. I will be watching my feet pretty closely now.

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  17. G'day, Marc....I saw the wonderful lot of pics on Stormy's post yesterday. Great shots.

    You'd better keep a close eye on those two sweet little kittens with those snakes about. I hope they're doing well...the kittens, that is...not the damn snakes. I hope the copperheads are without heads! ;)

    Only way to be, Welsh. It always take two to tango and we were in it together and then went out of it together with dignity and friendship. We still laugh about going to the parade in the middle of the move! We didn't want to miss it! We even called into the pub for a "efreshment" before continuing on with the chore! ;)

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  18. Lee,

    I am more worried about me getting nailed by a CopperHead than the Kits.

    They have an instinctive sense of avoiding poisonous snakes. Their senses of sight and smell will keep them safe. Me?, I will probably step on one someday and wind up in the Hospital.

    The one today was young, about a Ft. long, but still capable of a serious bite.

    We'll see if Mama Racoon, or the 'Possom eats it tonight.

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  19. Well you'd better keep your above ankle-high boots on, Marc. I don't want to have to go visiting you in a hospital! You know my embarrassing moments when visiting hospitals! ;)

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  20. Great fun, Lee. I'll be here waiting on the next installment.

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  21. Good to see you, Corn Dog...keep posted...more to come!

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  22. Hi again Lee ~~ Thanks for your comments. I guess your vocal chords
    got a good workout tonight over the State of Origin. It didn't look too good for awhile but they finally got going. Take care my friend, Love, Merle.

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  23. I had a lot of catching up to do. Loving the story still can't wait for more. Very nice that you two could remain friends so many can't and life is just to short.

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  24. Good to see you,Shelly. Thanks for coming by and for your comment. :)

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  25. lee,
    You life tales fasinate me. In some ways I'm envious of all that you've expeienced. Although, I must say I have led a colorful life also. Anyway, the marriage to Mervyn has helped me immensely with the poem I'm currently struggling to have done by tomorrow...so thanks!
    rel

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  26. Glad I was able to help, Rel, even if unknowingly! :)

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