While attending beauty school, I met George H.
Sousa who was also becoming a hairdresser. After dating three months, we
got married. It was not really a wise choice. Laura didn’t object and I
then talked my dad into it. We could not invite my mother because Laura,
originally from the South, was quite prejudice. George was twenty-nine
years old and an alcoholic who was in the Alcoholic Anonymous program when
I met him. He seemed like he needed me. I really learned a lot about people
as I listened to stories told in the over 350 A. A. meetings I attended
George had been married twice before. The first
wife was fifteen and they had a daughter. Then they divorced and he married
his second wife who was sixteen. They had two children, a boy Jerry and
a girl, Becky. Becky was born with cystic fibrosis, which was inherited
from both parents’ genes. Then George got a vasectomy so they wouldn’t
have any more children with C.F. His wife fell in love with a doctor and
they divorced in 1962. We would go to Eureka a couple of times a year and
his children would come visit with us during the summers. This was quite
a bit for a girl who just turned eighteen.
I wanted to work doing hair for one or two years
then start my own business. Then I wanted to own my own home in three years.
I wanted to succeed and was willing to work hard and do without in order
to get where I wanted to be. And of course, my plan was to wait until ten
years and then have children. I wanted to have two, a girl and boy. I thought
that I would get two boys because I really wanted at least one girl. It
was easy not to have any children since my husband had a vasectomy. He
said he could have it reversed when we wanted to start our family.
I was a good wife and partner and what became
our plans went right along. By 1971, we had two successful beauty salons,
four rental properties, and a lovely home in the Saratoga hills overlooking
the whole valley. This perfect scenario was shattered when I found out
my husband was having an affair with an eighteen year old employee of ours.
I considered her as my friend and I had been helping her whenever I could.
I even moved her into her new apartment, which I found out later was his
and hers. What a fool I was. I could not see any of it going on right in
front of me.
When Michael, an employee and friend of mine,
told me I did not believe him at all. He told me to just open my eyes.
I looked at things in a new way; so, it took only two weeks to confront
him with the love affair. We tried to work it out. We talked and I talked
with her. I fired her and sent her to Hawaii with her belongings and a
one way ticket. Nothing worked. It was about six weeks before he went back
to her. His eleven year old son was living with us and I couldn’t displace
him; so, I packed the car and left. It was the day before Thanksgiving
and I had no place to go. My recently divorced gay friend, Michael, invited
me to stay with him. For the first five months, I lived with a guy who
was like a brother. It was good not to be alone when I was so emotionally
shattered. The year that followed the break up was a time of self-degradation
and a personal identity crisis.