Mom did all the normal 1950’s high school stuff. Poodle skirts with lots of petticoats that were starched to their shattering point. Cardigan sweaters, football games, pep rallies, sock hops. Watch the movie Grease and that’s exactly how it was. She says so, musical interludes and all. She went to class but that was simply a necessary evil. She had a couple of boyfriends; Skip was cute and Mike was her first love. And then the boy from California showed up in a powder blue convertible. John Casey was his name and from what she’s told me, he probably had a slight attitude problem. More on that later. Mom set her sights on him in part because she could just see herself in that convertible, silk scarf flying in the wind, red lipstick, and cat-eye sunglasses. Grace Kelly had nothing on her.
They got engaged during their senior year and had a huge wedding in February of 1957. Mom said she cried before the ceremony because she knew she was making a mistake. She told her mom that she didn’t want to go through with it and she was told to chin up and get out there; too much money had been spent and everyone was already there. Fairyland playtime had turned into reality and it wasn’t looking pretty. Mom sucked it up and the wedding was lovely. She looked beautiful and, because I know what he did to her, I think he looked like a tool. Her mom always regretted making her go through with it.
After the wedding, the newlyweds moved to Joplin, Missouri where John was going to work with his parents who owned a chain of 5 and dime stores. I don’t know if they had a honeymoon and she doesn’t remember anymore. Lots of crappy things happened during their year and a half of marriage; he didn’t allow mom to drive a car, and made her walk to work, he tried to shoot her dog but he was too drunk to hit the broad side of a barn, not to mention a cocker spaniel. That was the last straw and she filed for divorce. They didn’t have children and she didn’t want to take anything with her. She just wanted to get back to her mom and dad with her maiden name restored and her dog. Her mother warned her that John would show up at the airport and try to get her alone with him and that’s exactly what he did. Thank goodness she listened. We checked a few years ago to see what had happened to him. She was the first of four or five wives and he died when he was in his fifties. Good thing she and her dog managed to dodge that bullet.