I lasted five years with Arkansas Educational Television. At the beginning, my starting salary was nine thousand dollars a year and, five years later, when AETN and I parted company, my yearly salary was ten thousand, five hundred.
My boss, a former state senator, was the Executive Director of Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN). The formerly Secretary of the Arkansas Senate was appointed Director, a high-ranking position, by Democratic Governor and longtime political buddy, Orval Faubus. The Director liked to brag he knew nothing about television except.... how to turn his TV set on and off.
Middle-aged, balding, and carrying an abundance of loose, flabby fat, the politician-turned- Director was the typical looking/acting—Good-Old-Boy-Democrat. When he smiled his squinty eyes squeezed closed and he resembled some slimy night-crawler from the swamp. He was one of those men you never wanted to be with—alone, especially if you were a woman.
I endured the Station’s Director because I needed a paycheck. For five years, AETN’s repulsive bastard-boss called me to his office on an average of twice a week and—when the door closed—started groping me and grunting like a pig. He forced his hand up my skirt at the same time he was trying to kiss me with his sticky wet, slobbery lips; his snake-like tongue would thrust itself in and out of my face, demanding to get through my clenched teeth.
Each wrestling session lasted only as long as it took me to unpin myself from his heavy-weighty body, grab the doorknob, and break-free. Each time I left his office, I vowed it wouldn’t happen again. Gradually, he put more and more pressure on me to come to his office, sometimes being so brazen as to come to the studio and interrupt my taping sessions with important guests. Eventually I got wise to his nasty game. I watched young secretaries go to his office and come out with their hair messy, their sweaters half-open or unbuttoned.
One afternoon, walking down the hall to the bathroom, I saw the art teacher run from his office, lipstick smeared over her face; her artist smock turned backwards! One by one, I visited with these women; I begged them to join me in a formal complaint against the Director’s sexual harassment. Victim after female victim said no. The women were desperate to keep their jobs; they wouldn’t speak-out for fear of being fired. They warned me not to include their names in any complaint, saying they would be forced to deny, deny, deny.
The day came when the Director walked in the TV studio where I was meeting with a group of volunteers discussing an upcoming pledge drive. Smacking those slimy lips together as he often did when up to no-good—the Director said he needed to talk with me in his office. I tried to stall, saying everyone was on a tight schedule but, using his most authoritative voice, he demanded I come with him immediately.
As soon as his hands began grabbing my breasts and I heard: “You’re so cute and sexy, I just have to kiss you and touch you all over.”....I screamed. I slapped his fat, saggy jowls and pushed his nasty-spongy body away from me with such force—the bastard lost his balance, fell backwards across his desk, and I continued to scream. I ran out of his office screaming, and found everyone in the building standing in the hall, staring at the Director’s door, wondering why some woman was screaming. The Director’s door opened behind me and everyone heard the Director yell: “You’re fired, you ungrateful bitch; you’ll never work in television again!”
Five minutes later, leaving the building with my belongings, I heard the Station Director limping and grunting behind me, trying to catch up. “If you leave right now, I’ll call the Board and tell them you quit!” I turned, looked him straight in the eye, and spoke my heart: “Every person in this building heard you fire me and they are my witnesses. Don’t worry about reporting ME to the Board. I’m going to the governor’s office right now to report YOU and YOUR SEXUAL ABUSE of every female in this building!!!”
Yes, it was the seventies. My AETN experience was my introduction to the not-so-pleasant-working world of single mothers.
Somedays, life is a tangled mess, a difficult journey, BUT, when you have a destination worth pursuing, every challenge makes you stronger....more determined to succeed.
In most cases, no one can help you. The journey is yours to do, alone.
As a child, I read the book- Robinson Crusoe- and marveled at his ability to survive, alone. He never gave-in to his fears and he never gave up hope.
No one truly knows how they will respond to accidents, loss, or a sudden challenge....until faced with such a situation.
Each one of us has un-imaginable strength and courage when we believe in ourselves. Don't question your ability to overcome obstacles of all shapes and sizes. Regardless of your challenges, you will prevail so...Stay Strong and...Stay Close.
From my book, THE BEAUTY QUEEN:
The degree of emotional damage my mother inflicted on my brother and me can’t be measured. When we were together, just the two of us, Jerry and I avoided talking about our mother. Yet, on two separate occasions, my brother indirectly referenced our secret.
The first phone call came after my divorce, after I moved from Pine Bluff to Little Rock. Quietly, as though he was afraid someone might hear, my brother called to say his psychiatrist had expressed an interest in talking with me. My brother asked if I would meet with his doctor for a one-hour appointment. Normally, I would have said “I’m not his patient so why does the doctor want to see me?” but, I didn’t ask that question, I knew the answer. My brother thanked me and said goodbye.
A few weeks later, I met with my brother’s psychiatrist and attempted to answer his many questions. Trying to describe the sexual abuse was extremely difficult; I had never shared our secret with another person. After 45 minutes the doctor thanked me, shook my hand, and escorted me from his office. I never spoke with my brother regarding the appointment and--- he never asked.
The second occasion was another phone call, almost twenty years later. One week before his death my brother, Jerry, fifty-eight years old, called from his hospital bed. We laughed and talked about many things, including our love for peanut butter candy, our favorite pets, even our first-shared automobile---a cherry-red Chevrolet Convertible.
My brother sounded youthfully happy as he reminisced about good times, particularly the fun we had studying ballroom dancing. Most of all, my brother wanted to talk about Dottie, the love of his life. His voice sounded shaky, a little teary, as he shared the sad memory of Dottie ending their high-school romance. Jerry seemed agitated when he talked about the elaborate cake our mother baked to celebrate Dottie’s breakup with my brother. I knew the story well, how Dottie began dating other guys, eventually married, and moved to another state. In an attempt to replace Dottie, my brother dated one girl after another and, all too soon, married and fathered a child.
Outwardly, Jerry appeared to have moved forward with his life but I knew otherwise. Eventually, through the small town rumor mill, I learned Dottie divorced and was suffering from a rare, incurable disease. I don’t recall the date Dottie’s obituary appeared in our hometown newspaper.
A hospital nurse interrupted our phone conversation, warning my brother he needed rest. I remember his last question: “Sally, do you think anyone guessed our secret?” Pausing to steady my voice, I answered “No, Jerry, I’m sure no one knew anything about our secret.” One week later, my 58 year old brother died.
Devastated, I returned to Pine Bluff for his funeral. An attendant greeted me at the funeral home door and ushered me to a back seat, far from the family section. I learned later that my mother and sister-in-law conspired to “put me in my place” on the chapel’s back row. At the end of the service I watched those in front of me (I was the only person on the back row) being directed to a reception room.
Alone, I walked to the front of the chapel to stand beside my brother’s casket. Several funeral attendants stepped forward to close the casket then recognizing me, moved away. I reached across the steel vault’s creamy satin lining to pat my brother’s cheek. I took my time, my fingers moving upward to smooth his graying hair, thinking “He is fifty eight years old but to me, he’s still just a boy.”
In death Jerry looked relaxed, at peace and, maybe, enjoying his final rest. Obviously facing a time restraint, the attendants began working around me….politely saying "excuse us" as they moved flowers and tucked the satin drapes inside the casket, before closing the casket’s heavy lid. Reluctantly, I stepped aside as the funeral director grasped the casket’s metal handles to guide it through the doorway toward the black hearse.
Outside, I saw the parade of funeral cars lined-up behind the hearse, ready to participate in the cemetery procession. Standing there, watching the black hearse chauffeur my only sibling to a waiting grave, I remembered a tune from the fifties---my brother’s favorite. I pictured my brother as I remembered him best---dancing.
Like it was yesterday, I could see Jerry mastering the dance floor with the greatest of ease, his smooth style delivering every step in time to the rhythm. I closed my eyes and watched him lead his partner through difficult dance moves while the music played “Only you and you alone, can thrill me like you do and fill my heart with love for only you.”
Take care of him, Dottie. He never loved anyone else… only you.
When you dare accept a job in an unknown town where you know no one…your mindset must stay positive; you must consider this change as a new adventure.
After endless moves, I learned to create what I call “Life With a View.” No, I’m not referring to my “view point”. I’m describing a personal sanctuary that creates happiness inside me.
I’ve always needed my surroundings to be less stressful, more harmonious than chaotic and…as attractive as possible. Natural Light means everything to me. When searching for a place to live, I look for windows, lots and lots of windows. It’s impossible to feel sad or unhappy when you can view the sky, admire the trees, and enjoy the company of birds.
But, when you must compromise and take whatever’s available then---you create windows by hanging mirrors in strategic places. Sounds expensive, right? Absolutely not! I’ve found super-low prices on mirrors in such places as Habitat for Humanity, Resale Shops, and Goodwill Stores. And, never under-estimate Garage Sale Bargains!
From the beginning of my many job-changing moves, I invested in a large tool kit which includes a good hammer, drill, hand saw, and multiple picture-hanging accessories-- including wire, hooks, molly bolts, and a stud-finding device that includes a level. I believe in doing my own labor whenever possible.
Regardless of what happened at my day jobs, I always looked forward to "going home". I planned it that way. Home represented my security, my safe haven. Throughout my life, mostly alone, I recognized my need for pretty surroundings; for a personally-pleasing home. And I pride myself on knowing how to shop with an eye for beauty and...for bargains!
Today, no longer working, I still need to feel at-home. Home means I have "views" in all directions; that my pretties and wonderful treasures are all around me. Sure, I’ve sold much and given even more away, but….I could never say goodbye to my favorites.
Each morning, my pretties greet me... like family. When I leave-- then return home-- my one-of-a-kind treasures are patiently waiting, ready to share their eye-catching beauty.
Loving to describe everything with words, I created this quote to share my Life With A View:
"Trust your heart to see what the eyes are unable to comprehend."
With love to all who view my website,