Friday, November 4, 2011
FAIRY TALES AIN’T ALWAYS FAIR
It’s Hattie writing this week and I wanted to comment on something that has been bothering me. Recently I saw Mrs. Bernie Madoff being interviewed on TV and my first impression of her as she was talking was that she wasn’t too bright. I kept wondering how she could live with a man for fifty years and not have any idea about his business dealings. Didn’t she ever question him about his business, especially since they were living high off the hog on his wealth? Both my heart and my mind were closed to what she was saying. Yet as I kept listening I realized that she was answering my question as she spoke. No, she had no idea what was going on with her husband’s business, and I believe her.
From what she was saying, she married young, at eighteen years old, and she was a stay at home mother who worked for her husband briefly when he first started his business. He was the bread winner of the family and that being the case, she probably saw no need to ask questions about where the bread came from as long as he kept bringing home bigger and bigger loaves. Quite frankly, she probably wouldn’t have understood what he had to say anyway unless she was familiar with the stock market and its jargon. Besides, from what she and her son were saying Bernie Madoff was the domineering type and Mrs. Madoff seemed passive, and there lies the problem.
Her age lets me know that she’s a woman of my generation, and the majority of us were trained to be wives and mothers, who listened politely to our husbands when they talked about their jobs, but we really didn’t know much about what they did on the job, so our questions were few. I also married young, and I was a housewife and mother to our two children while my husband worked in an automobile factory. We lived comfortably off of his income and I didn’t have any complaints. He told me that he installed brake linings all day on the assembly line. It sounded boring, but it paid well. I did listen to his comments and complaints about management, his fellow workers and his foreman, but I really had no clue what he did at work. If I had ever had to take over his job I would have been lost. But what I did understand was money, and as a woman with two children I understood the absolute necessity of having some money of my own.
I took care of all of the household expenses with the money that my husband would give me every pay day, and unknown to him I made sure that I always stashed some away for unexpected expenses that might crop up. You know, things like bills that you depended on your mate to pay but he didn’t and suddenly there is a disconnect notice for the utilities; or maybe the rent or mortgage that wasn’t paid and now you have an eviction notice. Of course there might be the need for some money if your husband decides to stray and leave you and your children for another woman, and money is always good to have if your husband goes crazy and starts beating on you and you have to run for your life.
Some people might view stashing emergency cash away as sneaky or dishonest, but I consider it common sense. How many women are left stranded with their children to feed by men who they thought would never abandon them? Shoot, my late husband was a good man, who I loved dearly and he loved me until death did us part, but a woman never knows when unexpected expenses might arise, so I was never going to be caught unaware and broke, that’s stupid.
It’s hard for me to understand women as wealthy as Mrs. Madoff who find themselves with nothing when something happens to their marriages. It seems to me it would be especially easy to stow it away when you have so much that he can’t keep up with it. Lord have mercy! It would take the CIA and the FBI to find the hiding places for all of the cash that I would have stashed.
I’m sure that my friends are surprised to hear how resourceful I can be, especially since one of them seems to think that I worry too much about what people think of me. Others might be reading this and thinking that I was sneaky or deceitful, or that I didn’t have faith in my husband, especially since I’m a woman who tries to follow the Word. Yet, I haven’t read anything in the Good Book that says you’re not supposed to have common sense.
It seems that Mrs. Madoff came out all right. She was able to keep two million dollars of her husband’s ill gotten gains, and that ain’t chicken feed. So I’m not wasting any tears on her when it comes to money. I’m saving my sympathy for the women who don’t have sense enough to plan ahead in case they might be left to take care of their kids alone. If a woman is lucky enough to find a prince charming good for them, but what I was looking for in a mate was a man who could be true to his word and true to me because I know that fairy tales are in story books.
So muse on that.