Pearl reveals that Phil is costing me social invitations–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–August 1994, Part 5

Some good things still happened in the Summer of Hell.  I was proud of Phil’s abilities: acting, math, memory.

One Sunday in August we got a pizza from Little Caesar’s for dinner.  In the little shop was a game that looked like an arcade game.  It had different-colored buttons, each of which lit up and played a different note when pressed, like Simon but with different colors.  Also like Simon, it played a one-note tune at first, then each time you repeated the tune properly, it added on one more note.

Phil played it while we waited for our pizza.  Because his memory was so darn good, he stood there playing it and getting more and more notes added.  There were no other customers, and the pizza was in the oven, so all the workers stood and watched, mystified.  They’d never seen anyone get that far along on the game before.

This was why I stayed with him despite the way he treated me that summer:

  1. I loved him.
  2. I didn’t see that, even though he wasn’t hitting me, he was still abusing me.
  3. We were married, and I took those vows very seriously.
  4. I didn’t know where else to find a Christian man who had so many things in common with me.
  5. He was my first lover, and I always intended him to be my last, my partner for life.


As for “Undine,” I’d sit down either on the couch or on my bedroom chair with German dictionaries and paper, and slowly write a word-for-word translation.  Then I re-wrote it in more intelligible order.  Phil often came home and found me in my room, working on “Undine” while watching All in the Family.

There were still so many words that needed to be found, archaic words in neither of my dictionaries.  (In 1998, I found a German newsgroup on the Internet and got translations for the words I never found.  In 2002, I found an English translation on the Internet.)  The translation took about sixty days, roughly, then I typed it up on Microsoft Word.

Phil and I often went to parks on the weekends.  Sometimes I had to talk him into it, but I liked walking for hours in the middle of forests.

Unfortunately, he was getting just like his brother was with his Pearl: Whenever she wanted to do something, Dave treated her like a nag and just slept.  Phil complained about this once, the way Dave treated Pearl.

But now, Phil started doing the exact same thing with me, but blamed me for it, even though he blamed Dave for the exact same behavior.  Yet there seemed to be a block in his mind, preventing him from seeing his double standards.

We went to Rum Village, other little parks we found, and Memorial Park.  I think we also went to Potawatomi Park.  In a park alongside a street, we sat on the swings, sometimes swinging, and had a great time talking and swinging.  We walked in the little wooded area, with its sitting areas and little paths.

We went to Wilson Park, with its giant hills and wooden pyramid.  We even went past the hills and the electrical tower (the kind you must never touch or you’ll get electrocuted, but there’s no fence around it), into the woods nearby.  We went as far as a little residential area, but Phil thought we should turn back there because it might be a private area.

After visiting Wilson Park, the scene of so many of my childhood memories (both church and school), we spoke of the wooden labyrinth we’d build around our mansion when Phil became a famous actor.  We wouldn’t need alarms, because we’d have this maze to deter thieves.  It would be in a hilly or wooded area, just like Wilson Park, and the wilderness around us would be stunningly beautiful.

I had a nagging notion that these were just “castles in the sky,” like the ones the girls built in Little Women, but didn’t voice it.  We believed we would actually do this, one day.

The Saturday before we planned to go back to Roanoke, we went to Memorial Park.  We walked all through the park–the woods, the playground area (playing a bit on the swings and the merry-go-round), the woods by the hill where I once ran up and down as the church softball team played, along the St. Joseph River, and along a path that leads beside the road outside the park.

There were fascinating places I’d never seen before or had forgotten, like the path.  There was a tunnel full of graffiti, some of which had probably been there during my childhood, when I last was there in the park.  The roadway path was grassy and beautiful.

The times we went to the parks, and this experience especially, seemed to make us closer, and I believed they should live in our memories together forever.  I told him of my times in that park as a child.  I think I told him, at every park, just what I remembered of it.

For example, at Rum Village I told of the boy who said, after my class went there, that he dragged a stick along the pathways and arrowheads kept popping up out of the ground.  Safetyville was at Rum Village.

I told my many memories of Wilson Park and the leather swings and getting exhausted running up the hills.  Since I was a tiny child when I first went up the hill, during a church picnic, it took forever; I looked out from the top of the hill, and saw what looked like water in the distance.  It may have actually been the city.  The hills didn’t seem quite so big now as they did when I was a child.

At Memorial, I probably told of Squirrely, the squirrel I saw playing nearby as I played on the swings with the rest of my class, and later wrote a little book about.

I told him these things because I wanted my husband to know all about me and my life.


Pearl and I both tended to use letters to confront people and deal with problems.  I read some of my letters (one to Peter, one to Phil that fall) to her, for her opinions.  I won’t say who she wrote to this time or why, just that it reminds me that we both did this, unpopular as the letters were with the recipients.

I also see from this mid-August letter that she and I both did the whole “listen for God’s voice” thing, feeling we got strong impressions about this or the other.  I wasn’t the only one!  The funny thing is, what she got a strong impression about, that it was God’s will, is not what actually happened.  Which is the same problem I had.

But this letter also held a shock: that Pearl, Sharon and some others planned to go to Florida over Winterim.

(This did not actually happen, because of Pearl’s medical emergency, but it was the plan for a while.  I was invited in September, but did not have the money to go.)

She assured me that my not being invited, had nothing to do with me.  Rather,

I think I owe you an explanation, though, so, honestly, it’s Phil.  I’m really glad you’re so happy with him.

However, everyone doesn’t get along with him so well.  There are people who are going to Florida (myself included, frankly) who don’t think they could spend three weeks in close quarters with him.

She didn’t think I’d want to be away from him for so long, so didn’t invite just me.  She said, “There are just some people who you know better than to force to live together.”

She’s right about that; not only had she once spent a “weekend from hell” with the wrong people, but I have gone through that myself, being forced to spend six weeks with a woman I could not get along with.

Pearl spent a lot of words begging me not to be insulted by this, saying she likes Phil, etc.  Of course, at this point she knew nothing about the emotional, psychological or sexual abuse.

I don’t remember how I reacted.  I don’t think I told Phil, who already felt my friends did not like him, and already tried to separate me from them.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: