Some years ago, my mother and I were driving.

She was going off about why I let Jenny have everything. She was very upset with me. She started to tell me how I should have just either sold everything or just had abandoned it for Jenny to have to deal with it. She said that it would have served Jenny right after what she had done to me; after she had used me. During this tirade, I just sat there staring out of the window and listened to her, watching the countryside just flow by. It had been pretty much what all of my friends had already said. She finally stopped and the only sound was the car and radio. Several moments went by without a word and then she asked me what I was thinking. I gave her my answer. She didn’t say a word until we got home. Later that evening she told me how much she loved me and how proud she was of me. Our relationship was punctuated by three events that were so paramount in scope that they would dictate almost every facet of our lives together. The first had been when Beth scheduled several appointments for Jennifer and her at the university counselor’s office. The second was the two months I was in Ithaca alone and the third was when Beth called us after she found out that we were back in Lancaster which was followed by a letter from Jenny’s grandmother. These three events were so big that all else that happened in our relationship was secondary. This was coupled with Jenny’s habit of not dealing with things and placing them in mental boxes as she called them. Jenny would take everything that everybody said or did and box them up. One thing that I discovered was when you box everything up instead of dealing with them is that you become trapped in the box. I would try to get her to deal with things and open up because it was affecting her school work and she was taking it out on me. She even started to accuse me of doing things she had done to me. There was nothing like going to a job where you get beat up all day because the previous manager left it a disaster only to come home and have to do everything you could to pick up your life partner’s spirits because all it took was one word from someone to undermine everything you have done. It didn’t matter what I did, how I helped, was there for, supported, pointed out to Jenny what we accomplished and why she was so great and I appreciated her and her efforts; all it took was one word from someone who was just talking to get attention because they were needy or had a hidden agenda to bring it all down and cause Jenny to close down, throw wild accusations, and box things up—especially if it came from Beth. There is nothing like being accused of things and not even be given a chance to defend yourself or if you do get the chance, to have it come back months later and over and over again. I remember one beautiful summer day when Jenny and I decided to go for a walk. We were on the return trip walking down Colemanville Church Road. A hornet thing came out of the brush. I have no idea what they are called, but their bite hurts and they are aggressive. From experience, I knew that they were territorial and all we had to do was get out of the area. I told Jenny to move faster and I started to run only to turn around and see Jenny just standing there and crying while it buzzed around her. I immediately went back to her, put my arm around her shoulders, and started to physically move her forward; in about ten steps it disappeared. I truly felt that that was definitive of our whole relationship. I would try to pull Jenny a step closer to our goals and dreams only to have her mom or, as I later found out, anyone that had an opinion drag her back two. I had hoped that the military would help to teach her to stand up for herself, give her confidence, teach her to confront and deal with things, learn about others, and learn about respect—true respect, not the plastic nonsense from that neighborhood. All she learnt was how to follow. But what would she know of respect? Her mom did not respect her enough to let her have her own life. Mike couldn’t respect her enough to let her get her career established before getting her pregnant so that he could maintain his contact to her life (funny, that is what Jenny had insinuated you did to her mother—talk about a life coming full circle.) He had to have seen the game many times before. It is one that is played in armies all over the world. She would get transferred to Ft. Hood and the guys would look at her and wait until there was a misunderstanding between her and Mike and move in as a close and understanding friend with all sorts of advice for her to get their shot at her. But with a baby on the way, he could maintain his hold. I made the mistake of respecting Jenny and giving her a chance to get her career off the ground, and for her to be ready—even though, I knew who was really pulling the strings—before we tried and I loved her enough to wait. Spc Lehi respected her so much that she suggested that Jenny use her sexual attributes to

get rides from guys to the bars. Lehi must have been really surprised when Jenny was actually considering doing it—she actually asked me what I thought of Lehi’s proposal; a lot of people go “wow” over that story. What else would Jenny have decided? Her mom’s favorite slogan was, “Why buy the cow when the milk is free?” In other words, use your sexuality to get what you want. I guess that is all that she ever truly thought of Jenny—she told her it often. Hell, I saw it that night I ran into her. Her flirtatious demeanor to get the info she wanted from a man. God, Beth is a disgusting sow. Every year thousands of young women enter the service and unfortunately few raise the bar for themselves and obtain a position of respect; a respect that men will actually follow into combat. I had hoped that Jenny would do this for herself. I had the honor of serving with quite a few ladies of that caliber and I learned a lot from them. They would have never dreamt of following the herd or selling themselves for rides or let guys grab and manhandle them. They strove for better and were all climbing the corporate ladder because they developed their brains instead of their womanly attributes. Don’t get me wrong, they were attractive, they just set a certain standard for themselves that defined them not as a squeak toy for a man. As I’ve said, for every Abigail Adams or Susan B. Anthony who are truly doing something for women, there are several hundred who use their sexual attributes to manipulate men. No wonder women are still treated as commodities. Several of my friends said that they can’t believe that Jenny would say anything about Renate, especially after what she did. (If that upsets Jenny because they are only hearing my side, well then she knows what I went through in the last six months of our relationship—but in all fairness, I do tell them that it is only my side and that Jenny was a victim too.) It was sad to watch as Jen became one of the girls she had always made fun of in private. But those are the pitfalls of the military. You have a choice. You can stand out and raise the bar for yourself and be noticed. I managed to be given many opportunities in the military because of that attitude. Stand out from the rest and be noticed because of the job you do and who you are and the opportunity is limitless in the military or any career; I still managed to have great friends and be invited to parties. That’s why this past summer, I was paid over five hundred to spend a couple hours in the Pocono’s translating something for a Bulgarian family—hell, I don’t even speak Bulgarian, but I got the job done (I do speak Russian which is close to Bulgarian) and my bosses were impressed. The other end of the spectrum was to do what everyone else does, worry about popularity and what everyone else thinks; which is Jenny’s natural habitat with that neighborhood and her mom; do what everyone else does and become lost in the herd. You once asked me why I let her go into the Army and I never gave you a straight answer. Her recruiter was a regular at the store I had managed. I remember one morning he came in and I told him that I heard that he was talking to my wife about the Army. We had talked a lot and knew each other fairly well because of my military background and he was a regular and spent time at the store to enjoy his coffee. He told me that if I wanted him to, he would cut off all contact with her or even find some reason to disqualify her. I have no idea why he had suggested that but I told him no. I told him that it was something that she really wanted to do. I had believed she had developed an interest in it from all of the R.O.T.C. activities she participated in and my tales of adventure I had had since I was a kid—my family has had a rich military history—there was even an Admiral who had a WWII destroyer named after him. My grandfather used to talk to me all of the time about his adventures in the South Pacific (Jennifer was present for a few of the talks)—it was one of the many things that my step father resented about me; his father would open up to me but not to him. I never thought that I owned or controlled Jennifer; I saw her as a friend, my best friend. I am the type of person who cannot just say that someone is an assehole and sum them up as just that. I will say someone is an assehole because of actions they did, but that does not mean that they are such in all aspects of their life. No matter how I try, I can still remember all of the great and special times with Jenny such as when she was screaming for help and I rushed to her to find that Sadie was just trying to sit on her lap or when Orlo got out of his cage and we were searching all over for him; I ended up telling Jenny to turn around so she could see his little fuzzy butt sitting on the sofa watching her look for him. I remember all of the special things Jenny did for me and all of the times that she was there for me. I can still remember all of the dates when we would close the restaurant because we were lost in

conversation and laughs even after years of marriage and doing everything together. I can only remember all of these great times and many more as well as the bad. I can’t sit there and say well, she was an idiot. All that was Jenny and me is locked away in my heart. I’m sorry; I can’t do anything about it. We did have a lot of fun, potential, and possibilities. No relationship is perfect. You do your best to find someone you think you will be happy with; usually because you have a lot of similar likes and attitudes. You look for someone who can compliment your strengths and augment your weaknesses. You can only get close to perfection, but perfection can be reached through growing with each other. Jenny and I did have that. However, we also had the problem of her mom and Jennifer’s unwillingness to confront things. I do confront things and deal with them. Even with Brenda, we have been through hell and back again several times over between the games of her ex and scar tissue from both of our previous relationships. For years I used to cringe whenever something went wrong for Brenda or someone said something to her. I would get all stressed out waiting for the moment she would take it out on or find a reason to blame it all on me. I found out that she would confront and deal with the people who pissed her off. I found out that when someone said something to her—and believe me, her family did; they had felt that she should have never divorced Bob for the kids’ sake—Brenda would know that that was their opinion and just that. We both could have runaway. We both could have had affairs; we both have had several offers. Instead, we knew who each other was and dealt with the issues together. I can’t even remember our last fight. It was over two years ago. Oh, we still disagree with each other on things but we work it out. It is truly amazing to know that if there is a problem to come home to, it will be resolved. First of all because it is real—not that someone said something, or a girl smiled at me, or someone Brenda had met for the first time had difficulty spelling our name; secondly, I know that Brenda won’t shut down and will help me confront it—she won’t go out and get fifty opinions and add to the problem, thirdly, chances are, it will be or halfway solved by the time I get home through Brenda’s initiative because she can think for herself. It is truly amazing, it is so wonderful to be with someone who I can talk to about anything, who I can joke around with and have fun without a worry of Brenda going out and getting it all analyzed by all of those “experts.” It is great to be able to live without constant stress. It is great to visit people during the holidays with someone who is actually interested in visiting the people more than the “loot” they are looking to acquire. It was wonderful to have helped Brenda raise her four kids and enjoying, sharing with, taking care of, and teaching the four grandkids. It is wonderful to be seen as who I am, to be appreciated for my efforts, and be trusted. This is possible because Brenda understands that when someone gives her an opinion that is what it is; an opinion. She knows who and what I am and that sometimes I make mistakes which are a part of learning and growing and that they are nothing else but mistakes. If she does think that an opinion may be more, she talks to me and we work it out; it is amazing to be able to give your side and be allowed to defend yourself, if Jenny had done this, she may have gotten to know the real me again; she might have been able to see me as the person who gave her his coat during a storm on our first date or ran down to Washington when she was stranded when I had to work the next morning. I give Brenda respect, appreciation, help, love and the benefit of the doubt. The major difference between the two is Brenda sees it and returns it. It is amazingly happy to live in a relationship where there aren’t constantly changing rules, plans, or double standards—Jenny was allowed to make mistakes; I wasn’t. I remember once, we were visiting my mom. I was talking to my mom and Jennifer was sitting on the floor petting Munchie—my mom’s pedigree Himalayan Persian. Jenny started to feed the cat a boogie she had wiped on her hand and started to tell us about it. After my mom handed her a tissue and asked her not to do that, my mom gave me one hell of a look. I had never been so embarrassed. You know, my mom, brother, Missy, Robyn, even my step dad had all told me things about Jenny. I listened to them and defended Jenny. I had chosen to be with her. Another confrontation was by the pool with her mom and I was trying to get Beth to understand that it was Jennifer’s life. Beth was making Jennifer out to be a feeble minded buffoon that needed her mom to guide her—again, I guess I made the mistake of seeing so much more in Jennifer than her mom. I had made a commitment to Jenny that as long as she was there for me, I would be there for her. It didn’t matter to me what mistakes Jenny made or what others thought of her. I knew Jenny wasn’t perfect but she was close enough. The main difference is I

would look to what was great about us and focus on that instead of the bad or what someone else thought. Jenny would just see me as a hassle because she was with me and her mom was complaining; not that her twisted freak of a mother, who did not get enough joy out of building herself up by putting down the mentally disabled children in her class but had to attack her own daughter, had a hair up her ass. I did what I did on 27 February 1997 because I was hurting and heartbroken. There had never been a time that I had denied Jennifer anything emotionally, physically, or financially supportive if I had it. Never once during the three and a half years when she was unemployed or had a temporary job did I accuse her of living off of or using me—although there were several times when she accused me of hating her or wanting to leave her because she wasn’t making any money; usually after talking to her mom. Never once in all of the times that I came home to wild accusations or problems—real and imaginary— did I leave her hanging. Never once did I leave her. I loved and cared deeply about her, her wellbeing, and her goals. All I could do was look forward to her next call or the next time I would see her, only to be accused of playing games and many other things. I was even told that the reason she had the affair and had crawled into a bottle was because I had left her down there. I wanted to be down there with her. I had even lined up a job when she first transferred to Gordon. It had been her decision that kept me from moving down. From what happened when I went to Ithaca, I know who helped her to make that decision. I tried everything I could to reach her. I wrote all of those letters, made all of those calls just to hear her voice, and went down every chance I had because I loved and missed her—I had married Jenny because I wanted to be with her. No matter what I said or did, it was analyzed, interpreted and twisted by others. When I did occasionally reach her, it would all be lost in a day or two. All I could do was watch as dreams and goals that we had made together and were virtually within reaching distance evaporate because of someone else’s opinion or hidden agenda. All I could do was watch as a small misunderstanding was turned into a mountain as she got more and more advice from those who took their advantage of the situation. All I could do was watch as my heart was being ripped out as I was transformed into a monster and she found a substitute for me—Brenda is in no way a substitute for Jenny, she has been an entirely new shared existence. All I could do was listen to a new barrage of accusations as she struggled to find the excuse she needed to cast the hassle aside. Friends have told me that that would have driven them insane. I didn’t go insane, I had an emotional collapse. All I did on that day was give her the excuse she was struggling to find. I wrote this because several months ago , I received a voicemail message. My job is very dependent on having it. Anyway, when I played the voicemail, I immediately recognized the voice, the thought pattern, and way of speaking. I also realized that the person did not know that the voicemail had come on and they had left a message. She was talking to someone else searching for a reason to not have to deal with “this,” why she shouldn’t have to deal with “this,” and if the other person thought that she should have to deal with “this.” I know what the call was all about. I know what she was doing. It was a show and nothing but a show. She needed to refute what I said in the letter. She picked up the phone and went through the motions that she had nothing to fear; proving her innocence and at the last moment found the excuse she needed to not proceed. Of course the other person would tell her she did not have to go through with the call. If it was Mike or Beth, they would say no, because, why would they risk Jennifer actually finding out or realizing something? If it was anyone else, they only know Jenny’s side of the story and in it I am a monster. I had written the letter to get a lot of pent up feelings off of my chest. Feelings that came to a boil the night I ran into her mother. We never did have the benefit of closure like many other couples have by being able to confront one another and deal with their feelings. I had been accused of many horrible things and was flung aside without even a chance to defend myself. I had intended to only talk to you. I know that Jenny would never deal with it. Her mother had taught her how to deal with things many years ago when she left Jenny hanging when she walked out of the counselor’s office and cancelled the meetings when she found out the issue was with her. Instead of being a caring mom who was interested in the wellbeing of her child, she ran out on Jenny. Instead of doing something real for her daughter and herself by confronting, dealing with an issue, and allowing both of them to grow, she ran to protect her

image and continued the attacks. She didn’t care about Jenny; she just cared about her control over Jenny. From that point is when the wild accusations started and Jenny’s school work started to suffer. It was shortly after this that Jenny had made a drawing with Beth and my face over her and on it she wrote in Spanish that the People she loves the most hurt her the most; that happens because you care. She once asked me why I had few friends and I told her it was because I make friends for real. I don’t out of convenience. Most of my high school buddies were dead when Jenny and I first met. I don’t take friendship casually. It is very important to me. I will tell a friend something they need to hear and risk the friendship before I will shine sunshine up their ass and tell them what they want to hear. It is far more important for me to tell a friend the truth and risk it all than watch them get hurt because I told them what they wanted to hear. That drawing always bothered me because she was lumping us together. I was trying to build a life with and be there for Jenny. Her mother was trying to maintain her control. It was our life, not her mother’s. We married each other, not her mother. She was taught it again when her mom found out we were back in Lancaster. Jennifer had cut off all contact with her mom because Beth was demanding that Jenny did certain things and gave Beth weekly reports. Jenny had come a long way since the two months that she had spent with her mom. She started to open up more and the wild accusations had stopped. There was still scar tissue and fights from it, but she started to work with me again and we started to have fun again. I guess at that time she finally saw her mom as the control freak that she is. When Beth called, I was so proud of Jennifer as she stood up to her and told her mom that it was her life not her mom’s and that she was an adult. It wasn’t exactly what I meant when I told Jenny that she should try to work things out (things that could have been worked out in the counselor’s office all those years ago but Beth denied them both the opportunity) with her mom but it was a true start. Beth never called back. Jenny actually started working with me even closer and started to truly open up as we continued on. It was amazing; the accusations had stopped, we were allowed to joke around and have fun again. It was almost like when we were first dating. Then Jenny got a letter from her grandmother. Beth had run to her mommy and got her mommy to fight her battle for her. It was an underhanded attack. Jenny’s grandmother didn’t even try to find out Jenny’s side; she just ripped into Jenny and everything was Jenny’s fault; not Beth who was trying to control our relationship when she couldn’t even keep her own marriage together. From that point on, I knew it was over. Jen started to shut down again. Shortly after that was when I was accused of trying to control her again. I was accused of wanting to rape the daughter we never had. I was accused of trying to impregnate her against her wishes. About a month after that, Bridgette was killed and several months after that instead of seeing that the Drill Sergeants were using the letters I wrote to get her to do push ups so that she would do well on her PT Test—which is a major point generator in the promotion process—I was seen as a hassle because she had to do push ups because I was writing letters. If I hadn’t written all of those letters, they would have just found another reason to have her do push ups. And during all the times good and bad that we had been through, she never once saw that no matter what, I had always been there for her even when Beth and her grandmother left her hanging and turned on her. Instead, like her mom and grandmother did to her, she blamed me for everything and ran away, which was far easier and convenient than to confront and deal with things and grow—mainly her mom’s need to control her. Beth reminded so much of the Annette Bening character in “American Beauty,” so self absorbed, so manipulative, so shallow. No, you’re not Kevin Spacey; you are too down to earth and not as disgusting as his character was. Yet, on the other hand, she sold out all of our goals and dreams, her potential, our possibilities, and our children; a life that truly could have been if she would only had confronted something and dealt with it. She sold it all because of what others thought. She sold it all out, because she thought it was more important to listen to people who thought it was better for her to act like a drunken sorority girl, people who thought it would be a neat idea if she would sell herself to get rides to a bar. I guess their standards were easier to reach. When I heard the message, I had not planned on writing this. I had felt guilty prior to hearing it. It’s hard to explain maybe this example will help. A friend described other people as like a pot of crabs. As the pot heats up, the crabs all try to escape. They all try to reach the brim. When one does make it to

the brim, the others just pull them back in. I felt when all of this was happening, Jennifer had been pulled in and all I could do was just stand there and watch. I felt guilty because I saw so much more in her than those in the pot who kept pulling her in. I saw all of that potential just go to waste. If only I could have reached her and got her to confront and deal with things she could have pulled herself out, but all I could do was just stand there and watch. But after hearing the message, I found that all of the guilt had flushed away. I learned so much from that ten second message. I learned that she had not grown one iota. I can only guess that she has not grown from the girl I knew in 1997 because she still will not confront anything. I can tell Mike only gets the last word in if it is, “Yes dear.” I had always known that Beth disliked me because I could have gotten Jenny to cut the cord if allowed the chance and we were so close. I know that she supports Mike and Jenny’s relationship because of Billy and because Mike is no threat to Beth’s dominance over Jenny. I don’t blame Jenny for anything. There is nothing to forgive with her. She did do her best. She did what she had been taught for eighteen years which is if there is a challenge that you can runaway from, do it. I guess Beth was right during the pool argument and why shouldn’t she have been; she had been training and teaching Jenny how to deal with things and about men all of Jenny’s life. I knew from that message that no matter what I did for Jenny, she would always be nothing more than a hand puppet. I am kind of sorry that I heard the message. Now I have a memory, an image of Jenny as a shallow empty headed animal worried about things like her mother. It is just sad. She could have done so much more with her life if I could have only got her to cut the cord if her mom wasn’t woman enough to. Now, I just find myself feeling sorry for her. I am sorry for the mistakes I made, but they were all out of youthful ignorance, not out of trying to get over on anyone. However, most of all, I feel sorry for a life that could have been that was ripped from under her by those two misandrist, stygian bitches. When we were left alone, Jenny would deal with things and talk about what was bothering her. We were able to work together and there seemed to be no obstacle that we couldn’t overcome. We did have a lot of great times and lots of fun together. It was sad that during all of the great times we had, Beth would rob it from Jenny through emotional baggage she cast on her daughter in an attempt to hijack Jenny’s free will. It was so sad to see such a young woman who was so full of life, dreams, and potential be blind sided emotionally by two minds that are so narrow that anything fresh would have to lose all of its mass to make it in. But what could you expect? Both Beth and her mom were teachers. Not stellar teachers who reached out and changed lives for the good, but the mediocre type that followed the lesson plan and stuck to the scripted lessons—maybe that’s why Jenny and my relationship scared them so much. They both crave “normal,” predictable lives with simplistic answers. I guess that I wrote this, knowing that you would eventually share it with Jenny. If you do, I hope that it sheds some light and gives her food for thought so that just maybe, she’ll reach that brim and follow those dreams she had told me about. It is something which she made me promise to her so many years ago and it is never to late to reach those dreams. However, I do not wish to be with her. I have made a life since then and I am very happy. I do have a better understanding since 1997 and I do understand that Jenny did her best with what she had to work with. I don’t bear any ill will towards her and I do truly hope that she does reach the brim. I think that the world was a brighter place with a Jenny full of life, dreams, and potential. I do wish her the best of luck, life, and laughter. I do wish you the very best. I do wish Jenny all of the best. I do thank you for all of the help you did give us and all of the times you did try to be there for your daughter. I definitely won’t be writing again. I have said all that can be said. Life is too short and I’m having a lot of fun with Brenda, the kids, and the four grandkids. In fact, the oldest is coming over to build a wooden model of a helicopter with me. Well, he’ll be doing the building. I’m just assisting and watching out for him. He is seven. Brenda and I have had a rough time and now I think it is time to relax, have fun, and see the world. I do hope that you and Jenny have a wonderful time. PS Oh, what I told my mom was that I never cared about money or things. I said that I would be alright no matter what. Jenny was about to become a single mother and I did love her. I just couldn’t lower my standards to that of Beth’s. My mom did ask me later if I thought that Jennifer would see that. I just smile and shook my head no and said, “It didn’t matter, I needed to see that.”

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