Posted by: abbiewatters | September 4, 2011

The Ages of Woman – 40’s

What do you remember about your 40s? – My 40’s were the most stultifying of all the ages of my life. In the first place, we spent the entire time in Abilene, TX, and if you’ve ever lived there, you know how awful it is, and if you haven’t I couldn’t begin to describe it. Abilene is a town with three “industries”. There’s the farming and ranching community (they all live outside of town and just come in to shop). There are three church-related universities, Hardin-Simmons University (Baptist), McMurry University (Methodist), and Abilene Christian University (Church of Christ). The people connected with the schools have little to do with anyone outside their own orbits in the college. And finally, there’s Dyess Air Force Base. Now we were connected with Dyess, but Al was a civilian working there, not actually “in” the Air Force. So the social life of the Officer’s Club or NCO Club was not really available to us (and besides, they were mostly all at least 10 years younger than we were). We visited both the Presbyterian Churches and never received a call-back or a welcome once we stepped out of the door, and in one case, we were glared at because we sat in somebody else’s pew (not marked, but “everybody knew” that was where they sat every Sunday).

Bill was in Junior High when we moved there, and loved to play soccer, but he was never accepted as “good enough” for the “best” town team, even though he was an All-State player in high school.

Here he is showing off his MVP certificate to Papa, Harriet, Ray and Al.

After beating our heads against a stone wall for six years, we drove him to Waco (150 miles)

and Dallas (200 miles) on weekends to play on competitive teams. Thanks goodness we did, because he was able to get a scholarship to college on his soccer.

I look through my pictures from that 10 years and 90% of them are taken somewhere other than Abilene. Al was the Ground Safety Manager at Dyess, and in that job, he wasn’t really welcomed by commanders, because he always had to tell them when things weren’t going right.

I searched and searched for a job – I ran the computer at the Cotton Classing office (only available during cotton harvest season) for 3 years. I worked for several temporary agencies answering the phone and doing a little typing, and, finally, I started my own business manufacturing knit scarves and sweaters with high school colors and logos.

The business lost money, but I had a pretty good time travelling all over the country to soccer meetings, trying to sell my wares and take orders for special designs. I did that for 5 years before I realized we would need the money that I was losing to send Bill to college.

When I was 48 years old Mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, although you probably wouldn’t notice unless you realized exactly how vague she looks in this photo.

I spent a fair amount of time driving back and forth from Abilene to Texarkana to check on Mama and Papa, and from Abilene to Iowa where Bill was in college. He graduated shortly after I turned 50 (but I consider his college career as part of my 40’s.)

And that’s the story of my 40’s in a nutshell. Stay tuned to hear about my 50’s, and as far as I’ve gotten in my 60’s.

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