Bravest Thing I Ever Did


Right after we were married, my husband and his mother went into the business of renovating aging Philadelphia buildings into modern apartments. Toss sank all his money into this endeavor. As the partnership progressed, a lot of problems with my mother-in-law surfaced. She was personally combative and talked continually about her own unhappy marriage and angry divorce, as if they had just happened or were still happening. Her constant hostility destroyed any chance of a good personal relationship between us. She ignored the contract that she had signed with my husband, she used construction money to purchase a property for herself, and she stopped paying the lenders. I had been forced to sign onto every loan, so, when we were inevitably sued by the bank, I was also sent constant legal demands that I come in and give depositions. Toss and I sold our house to pay back the bank, but when we moved into one of the apartments, my mother-in-law sued us. I was studying psychology at the time and could see that she had deeper problems than just an abrasive business approach.

Throughout this horrible state of affairs my husband kept hoping his mother would come to her senses. He was extremely upset by her behavior and even became suicidal at times. I had two small children and couldn’t figure out the best thing to do. I consulted a divorce attorney but realized that I didn’t want a different husband, I wanted a different life.

At this time my own family sold our summer place in Maine and I gained a sudden influx of cash. I decided to use it to get my husband away from his mother and into a new life. There was certainly the possibility that he would feel obligated to choose her, or his “financial best interests” or just feel emotionally unable to leave his situation.

Through the nine years of our marriage and the seven years of my husband’s partnership we had found joy and release visiting his family summer place, Ravine Falls Farm, in the Berkshires, and it seemed to make sense to choose somewhere near there. Hartford was the nearest big city and Connecticut appeared halcyon and clean; almost a paradise in comparison to Philadelphia. The children were six and two at the time; as soon as I received my psychology degree from All Saints the three of us took off to explore the Hartford suburbs. Manchester, “Silk City”; “The City Of Village Charm” seemed just perfect. I bought a cute little new townhouse and enrolled the kids in school. It took Toss only a few months to decide to join me. He hired a lawyer to extract him from his partnership and he found a wonderful job at the Connecticut Law Tribune which combined his writing skills and legal knowledge and stayed employed there twenty-three years! We were a happy family again. My bravery paid off.

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