On her wedding day Bebe should have listened when her soon-to-be mother-in-law said, “I had him for all these years, now he's your responsibility!” But at the age of thirty-three – after fifteen years of marriage – enough was enough. Bebe decided that when her youngest was in kindergarten, giving her enough free time to get a job, she’d leave her husband once and for all.
Divorce was not so common in the 1950’s. When Bebe told her family they erupted.
“What will you do? How will you survive? How can you leave a man when you have three children?”
Bebe shook her head. “If you want him, you live with him!”
When her youngest was old enough for kindergarten they all moved to Asbury Park, NJ where Bebe’s mother and sister lived. Bebe didn’t have a car so she needed to find a job close enough to walk to. Eventually she found a factory that made baby snow suits and needed a bookkeeper.
Bebe sat across from the factory owner, Jack.
“I’ll give you $45 a week.”
“I can't work for $45.” Bebe replied. “I have three children and a dog. I’m divorced. I need more money.”
“If you’re good I'll give you $50.”
“I am good. I need $50.”
“I'll tell you what – work one week and if you're as good as you say, I'll give you $50.”
“No!” Bebe said as she stood up. “You get what you pay for!”
“Alright, alright.” Jack finally capitulated. “I'll give you $50 a week.”
Bebe worked at the company for four years. There was a salesman that had been coming there for as long as she could remember.
One day he said hello.
“Who are you?”
“Bob.” He said. “I'm from the paper company. I sell supplies.”
“You're the bookkeeper?”
“What's a nice girl like you doing in a dump like this?”
“Listen.” Bebe said, barely raising her eyes from the desk. “I'm divorced. I have three children and a dog and I hate men.”
A few months later Bob came back.
“Let's go out and have some coffee.”
“Coffee?” Bebe said. “I have to go home! I'm divorced. I have three children and a dog.”
“You have problems and I have problems. My wife died and my two sons are giving me such a headache.” He said. “Why can't we just talk?”
That night when he dropped her off at her house Bob said, “Everyone knows me. I don't run around. If you go out with me you'll never be sorry.”
“What's that mean?”
“I wanna take you out for dinner and a movie on Saturday.”
On Saturday Bob showed up but he looked nothing like he did at the factory. He shaved and got a haircut. He wore a suit with a tie and new shoes.
“Bebe, he's a good looking man!” Bebe’s mother said.
“No he's not!” Bebe said. At first she didn’t recognize him standing there in her living room, but even she had to admit he looked terrific… After their first date Bebe knew he was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
After nine months of dating Bob told Bebe he wanted to take her to Florida for a three week vacation.
“I have a job, three children and a dog.” Bebe said. “I can't go away.”
“I'll pay for everything. We'll live it up!”
“Not with me you won’t!”
“I can pick up anybody down there!”
“I mean it!”
“So do I!”
After Bob left Bebe walked into the living room where her mother was sitting. “He's like all the rest – a bum!”
Three days later there was a postcard: Dear Bebe, I'm having a terrific time in Florida.
Two days later another postcard: Dear Bebe, how is everyone?
Two days later: I'm getting very bored, but I'm behaving myself.
Two days later: How are the children and your mother and the dog?
The next day: I'm taking the redeye from Florida and coming straight to your house. Please wait for me.
Bebe was downstairs washing laundry when Bob arrived.
“Let’s get married!” Bob said as he handed Bebe a beautiful watch.
“There is too much here. I am a mother with three kids. You have two sons.”
“I have a solution. We’ll elope.”
“I'm not hiding from anyone!”
Eventually they agreed to a proper ceremony in their house in front of Bebe’s three children and her mother and aunt. It was a happy marriage that lasted for twenty-four years, even with the three kids and the dog.
Goose Chronicles Outtakes:
‘My first husband was terrible. Just terrible.”
“Did he hit you?”
“Hit me? No! If he hit me I would have killed him!”
“You were in a successful marriage. What advice do you have for other people getting married?”
“Marry your best friend. Your kids grow up and leave but you will always be with your spouse, so you better like him or her!”
“What happened to the first husband?”
“He never contacted me or the children. We heard he died alone a few years back. None of us went to his funeral.”
“Any last thoughts?”
“Yes – people should know that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.”