I am sixty-eight-years young and have lived a challenging life. The 15th of 16 children raised on a farm until 15-years-old when farm life became too harsh for a 90-pound girl.
“Education wasn’t important for a girl,” my mother would say. “After all you’ll get married someday and your husband will take care of you.” I began to feel like a number with no identity and ran away from home in 1959, for other reasons as well which I will not mention at this time.
I was then given a chance to attend beauty school and live in a boarding house with strangers. With few choices I did so and attended school eight hours a day. Soon my mother ran out of money, so I had to pay my way or return to farm work. Not an option. I found a job as a waitress, 5pm-12am for tips and took a bus to work for another 7-8 hours. Before long, I met my first husband to be, and naturally my mother’s prophetic words became a reality. Love can do very strange things to a young girl and I was tired, so tired. I agreed to marry him and he convinced me to drop out of school.
My first pregnancy occurred soon after, and within six years I had four babies to raise with what turned out to be, an alcoholic husband who worked minimal jobs and became abusive.
I stayed with him for nine years until 1969 when he became abusive to our children, ages three, four, six and eight, when I left him, taking my children at age twenty-five. Still I had no job. Fortunately a friend took us in until I was able to find work.
One week later I applied for a job as a sales rep just one block away, all the while thinking there is no way I’ll land this job. I had no experience, had never driven a car, no formal education, (however I had always studied on my own), no permanent address, no money for new clothes, no babysitter for my children. Still I went for it.
I interviewed the next day, on a Sunday, wearing a simple skirt, blouse, and flat shoes. Somehow the gentleman interviewing me seemed interested, and began to ask me questions.
1. What is your experience in sales? “Actually none, but I believe I can sell your product.
2. When can you begin? “Right away, I have children to support.
3. What amount of income do you expect? “Whatever you offer Sir, I need a job.”
4. How many children do you have? “Four small children; two in school.
5. Who will watch them while you work if I hire you? “I have a babysitter lined up.” At once I flinched, fearing a bolt of lightning would strike me.
6. Do you have a car? “No Sir, I usually take buses.” Then he asked a question I never imagined.
7. Do you have a driver’s license? OMG! How do I answer this question?
I knew it had to be important, so at once I replied. “Yes I do, but it expired.” Then waiting for that lightning bolt which I knew was going to strike this time, the gentleman says, “If you renew your driver’s license I’d like to hire you right away if you’re interested in what I have to offer. The pay is $_, and although it isn’t a large salary, you will be given a company car to drive and expenses, and very little travel is involved. Your territory will be local. Most work days will be normal hours with little overtime.”
“OMG. What do I do? What do I do?” Well, I took the job, and signed up for driving lessons that afternoon, got my driver’s license later that week, found a babysitter to live with us for payment, signed for a nice apartment, bought some professional work clothes at a thrift store for next to nothing, and started a new life.
Soon I met my second husband to be. It goes without saying I took it much slower. There were children involved and that is where is my greatest love abides. Still I think he fell in love with them first, then me. We were married five years later in 1974 and the rest is history. You see I’m a Christian. I’ve always had faith in God and I always believed he had something special for me.
My name is Pat Shannon/Yeager, to my family I’m Patty. I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, a great grandmother, and a lover of animals. My life is full and busy with a passion for writing poetry, fiction, and short stories, crafting, gardening, church, and volunteer work. Follow Pat on Facebook, or connect with Pat on LinkedIn
Your story is so inspiring to all of us. I cannot imagine the courage it took for you to uproot four small children and find a job, a babysitter, and sign up for driving lessons that very afternoon. That was such a “Gutsy” thing to do and I am so happy to hear that everything worked out for you. Your courage is amazing Pat, and thanks for sharing. Please leave your comments for Pat below. She’ll pop over to reply.
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