Born to Donald and Dorothy Settle on December 26, 1949 I was the third child and second daughter. As the final addition to this family I would forever be the baby girl. I was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio and moved to Highland, Michigan in 1955. Our next move was to Gaines in 1958 and I attended the Gaines School until it was annexed with a larger nearby school in 1962. I graduated from Swartz Creek High School in 1967 at the age of 17.
The fall of '67 I married the boy I had dated on and off all through high school and together over the next 10 years we bought a home and had 2 children, Jayne and John. For 7 of those years we were quite happy and had a fairly normal life and very few problems. Then the bottom fell out and the life I thought I would have 'til death do us part' ended. I took the kids and moved out of our home and into a borrowed house of an old family friend who conveniently enough wasn't using it at that time.
I was making $60.00 a week. I found a mobile home in a park to rent for $180 a month. Yep, 3 full checks to pay the rent and one to pay everything else. There would be no support for 2 years. For 2 years I would manage, barely, to provide for my kids and myself with the help of some friends who dropped off bags of food from time to time and by adding to my own income. The food was so appreciated and if there were snacks of any kind, it was like a holiday for them.
I tried to find a second job that could pull us up a little but not interfere with the full time job I was already working. My boss offered me a second shift. No overtime would be paid, but I could punch in on a separate time card and get two checks. Legal? Nope. The second check would not be a payroll check and would not be taxed. I took it. I would be working a day shift Monday thru Friday. I would also be working the closing shift Tuesday through Saturday and have Sundays off with the kids. I had a high school neighbor who babysat and somehow, it worked. I came home for dinner with them all everyday and then back to work. Saturday I didn't go in until 6 p.m. so we had all day together. Monday night, of course I was home with them.
I can't say it was a good time. I can say it was maybe the most important time in my life. This was the time that I learned who I am. This is the time that my children learned what matters. We all became different people during this time because we had to. We had to make do with what we had and we did. I suffered from an eating disorder which I apparently developed by working a lot and not eating the food I bought for the kids. I didn't really know that I wasn't eating, but I wasn't. Unlike normal people, I don't ever feel hunger. I eat because it is time to eat or because something sounds good to me (I do like food) or because I am cooking for someone else. I eat because I know I need to fuel my body in order to be a healthy human. When I was under the stress of trying to provide a good life for my family on less money than I had ever done in the past, by myself, I forgot to make myself eat. Maybe I subconsciously didn't want to take the food from the kids, maybe I just didn't think about it, I don't know. But it became an issue and for nearly a year I had to battle my way back to being a normalish eater. That taught me a great deal. It taught me that there is such a thing as too thin and I was there. It taught me that taking care of me was vital to being able to take care of my babies. It taught me that I was not invincible and my children needed me to be strong and healthy. And we all survived. We all came out considerably more capable and appreciative.
It also taught us all that family is what matters. That 'things' are temporary and love is eternal. We learned to value each other and depend on each other. Today as adults I see them depend on each other and still on me for the support they expect from no one else in their lives. I want them to develop that with their partners and their own children, I am certain they will if they haven't already. That isn't something an outsider can see. I am now an outsider. I don't live with them and I am only included in what they choose to include me. I'm good with that. I want them to live their own lives and never forget who will always give them unconditional love. I want them to know that their families are also my heart. Whatever they need or want from me will always be theirs for the asking. That's what moms do. That's who moms are.
I married Roomy in 1982 and inherited 4 children with that wedding. He and his first wife had a son, a daughter and then twins, a boy and a girl. So along with him co-parenting my 2 who were 12 and 13, we also now co-parented his twins who were 12. The older two were 18 and 20 so their parenting was pretty much over. I did inherit all four, but parented part-time only the twins.
In the years following our wedding we worked very diligently building a blended family. It was wonderful for several years. Again, the bottom fell out and I have always believed it was me who caused the problem, but I am not aware of what the problem actually was. The two girls just cut us out. We were no longer any part of their lives and their children would not even know us. We would miss out on the lives of 4 of our grand children and to this day, do not understand why or how it all happened. Communication did not happen between us so no answers could be given. I can tell you that my heart was broken and Roomy was at a loss. His girls were just gone. Not interested in him. They didn't want him in their lives. I don't know even now how he handled this as well as he did. We talked so much about what we might be able to do to fix this, but no calls were answered and no messages were acknowledged or returned. We actually showed up at one of their house one day and no one answered the door. Both cars were home.
We took the hint and never reached out again. It still makes me very sad to remember or retell this story. But it is part of our history and part of why we hold the four remaining children at an arms length so as not to interfere in their lives, but still remind them how much we love them and want to be with them often.
So now here we are in 2012 with our oldest son living in Tennessee, his daughter living an hour away from us with her husband. Our daughter living in Tennessee with her fiance and her two daughters and our other 2 boys living a half an hour away from us in opposite directions, one with his wife and 3 daughters and one with his wife and son and daughter. We also have 2 step-granddaughters from our daughter's first marriage. Total to date....9 granddaughters and 1 grandson. More to come? Who knows?