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Writing in the Margin

Writing in the Margin


Before our marriage, George and I had a very cautious conversation. The subject was "What will Chris do?" – that is, will she work or will she "stay home"? We were not kids. I was 52 and George was 61 when we married. He was a successful engineer, professor and businessman. I had just finished a master’s degree in education after having raised two children, and during that time, I worked at a number of jobs. I would never say I had a career. Having found myself single at 49, I had gone back to school intending to take up the teaching profession that I had left behind in 1963, twenty-five years before. George was hesitant because women’s lib stuck its tongue out everywhere he turned. Would I be insulted at the suggestion that any income I might make would only be a tax drag on the family? Did I need to have a career to be fulfilled? Dare he say what was in his heart, that he would be happiest if I were willing to be "at home," free to travel with him and provide some of those comforts that a man who works 60 to 80-hour weeks never finds time to do for himself? I was hesitant, too. I had seen that teaching on the secondary level was a shockingly different endeavor in 1989 than it was in 1963. Moreover, in our community, the route to a permanent job in teaching, at my age, was going to be through substituting, if at all – a choice I found painful. I longed to write, to draw and paint, to sew, to garden. But I worried that he might think I looked at him as a meal ticket, instead of as the dearest desire of a loving heart. I was perfectly willing to either work or stay home, as long as home was where he was.
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