Coffee with The Ex-Wife of My Ex-Mother-In-Law’s Lover

RIP Kathryn Joosten from Desperate Housewives

Yesterday I saw a woman I’ve known for years, and decided to sit with her for a bit at the counter at Dunkin’ Donuts.   I see her around our small town, she lives near me.  She’s a recently retired school bus driver and has more time on her hands these days.   She’s a talker and sometimes I don’t have time to chat but yesterday I did.  I’ll call her Miss Debbie.

When I saw Miss Debbie at the counter I remembered someone’s blog post where they listed simple things we can do for others, and one of those was to listen to an elderly person talk, because sometimes they just need to.

Miss Debbie is probably in her seventies, but she’s mobile, healthy and spunky so “elderly”  doesn’t seem quite right, but I guess on paper, she is.

She is also the Ex- wife of the man my Ex-mother-in-law had a long-term affair with. 

Let me explain.   I may have to distribute a chart later.   Years ago and for a period of many years, my ex-mother-in-law was sleeping with this woman’s husband.   Everybody knew.  We live in a small town outside of a large city.  It is a bed of gossip.   The affair between my Ex-Mother-In-Law– let’s call her Shirley and Miss Debbie’s husband, who I’ll call Larry, was common knowledge.

I took the stool next to Miss Debbie and we chit-chatted for a bit. She told me about problems she was having getting work done on her house and her latest cataract surgery.   I suggested a couple of contractors I know.

As always, she eventually asked if I’d seen my Ex mother-in-law, and I said, no explaining again that  I don’t have any contact with her, or have any reason to have contact with her.  I added that I hadn’t heard anything either way so I guess she’s okay.

Then Miss Debbie said, “It was all in my face, that was the most hurtful thing.”

Yes, I nodded.   Truly that must have been horrible.

The woman who would later become my mother-in-law, Shirley, used to pull up to a nearby lot outside Miss Debbie and Larry’s house and beep her horn for him until he came out.   I repeat:   Shirley beeped her horn for all to hear —  until Larry left the home he made with his wife and two children and went off with her.   That would be a hurtin’ thing.  A country song inspiring hurtin’ thing.  A spit on your own porch and clean your gun hurtin’ thing.   I can’t imagine.

Granted, Larry was no prize, obviously.   Still, he was somebody’s husband —  and this somebody was sitting next to me having coffee.

Let the record reflect:   Some men do leave their wives for their mistresses.  It happens.   Case in point:   Larry eventually left Miss Debbie, moved in with Shirley and her children, one of them being my future- and ex-husband. (ha!  That sounds funny . . . but I digress . . . )  Still later, Larry married Shirley.  An alcoholic, he almost missed his own wedding because he’d been out drinking the night before.  Not surprisingly, perhaps, Larry and Shirley’s happy union was short-lived.  Shirley eventually kicked him out but not before an “accidental”  shooting . . . by Shirley . . . but I digress . . . again.   This was over twenty years ago.

Debbie still lives in the same home, Shirley still lives in hers.   Larry, however,  died last year, I think it was liver damage, cancer, karma, whatever.    His last days were spent living alone in a little apartment, his grown daughter providing assistance.  His home going service (funeral) was planned by ex-wife Miss Debbie and his children. I’m not sure if Shirley and Larry ever officially got divorced, but  my Ex-mother-in-law Shirley was the last wife of record.   Someone called Shirley to see if she wanted to come or contribute.  She did neither.

Sitting there with Miss Debbie, who knows my husband (Shirley’s son)  left me, and hearing the pain in her voice when she reflected on her husband’s affair, “. . . that was the most hurtful thing,”  I felt for her.   Just like labor pain for some, there is some pain that you can’t forget, even if it was long ago.

I offered just a little comment, saying,

“Well, I gotta tell you.  I’ve never had any interest in somebody else’s  husband.”     This make her break out in a good loud chuckle.

“Me neither,” she said.

Just Me With . . . a coffee break.

P.S.  If anyone knows of that blog post that inspired my coffee with Miss Debbie along with this post, please let me know.   I want to give props.

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8 responses

  1. I really liked this post… it could be so sad, but makes you chuckle too. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. Thank you. Yes, it’s a little bittersweet. She’s a nice lady. She also told me, “You’ll never be lonely because you’ll always have your kids.”

  2. That was sad. My aunt took someone’s husband. I thought he was my uncle, but they never married because he never divorced. My aunt’s brother, my uncle, took the first family to his funeral where they were not even recognized as wife and children. I thought that was even sadder. While doing genealogy research, I even talked to the wife and son that were abandoned. That was bizarre.

    1. Wow. That is bizarre, and sad. There is another part to Shirley’s story. She had children with somebody else’s husband, but he never left his wife. He just had two families — simultaneously. Shirley and I did not have much in common, to say the least. I never really got that woman.

  3. Horrible story but I hate to say I feel a sense of satisfaction that it didn’t work for Shirley. We’d like to think that those situations always end that way but sometimes they don’t. People hurt people and there’s no justice.

    1. Yeah, and that was not the first time Shirley had a relationship with somebody’s husband. I just don’t get it.

  4. That was nice of you to take some time out for your day to chat with her!

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