Weird things happen when you least expect them. For the second time in as many weeks George heard stories about him from two different sources. One source is someone he hasn’t seen in over two years. The other source is someone he has NEVER met.
The first involved his former sister-in-law saying disparaging things about him to one of George’s fellow firefighters. His friend simply told this woman it was none of his (their) business and ended by telling her that in the 15 years he has known George, he has never seen George this happy! (take that!).
The second was when I was volunteering at Krohn Conservatory and took my position at the exit door. About 45 minutes later a young man, all of 16 or 17 years old came to help. As we were working, an employee of City Parks, who manages the green space, came walking through the exit. George and I had met him while planting flowers with the CFD earlier in the spring. He and I began talking and he remembered George but could not remember his last name. I reminded him that his last name was Bredestege. We chatted a few more minutes and then he left.
The young boy working at the exit with me then said to me…”I know someone named Bredestege, she is my math teacher at LaSalle.” I said “Yes, I know her.” Without prompting, or knowing who I am, he proceeded to tell me what a “terrible time” Mrs. B. is having with her divorce and that she and her children are “suffering” at the hands of her husband. He indicated that her students have been offering her guidance and advice and that he, in fact, is her “mentor” thru all of this. He continued to tell me that everyone at school, including all of her students, knows what a “tough time” she is having and what a “terrible man” her husband is to her and her kids.
He finally stopped and asked me how I know Mrs. B. To his surprise, I told him that I live with Mr. B. His eyes widened, his face reddened and he said to me “well I hope you have better luck with that man than she did.”
That comment was the last straw. I had stood there quietly listening to him talk badly about George, say things about the divorce that were completely false and that George is a bad father. I looked this boy straight in the eyes and politely said to him…”I am positive that you know NOTHING about George B. or what kind of a father or man he is. And for you to stand here talking about him in this way is slanderous.”
I also told him that while he may have heard his teacher’s side of the story, I was positive that he had never met or talked to George directly or ever heard George’s side of the story. And that while he was hearing Mrs. B.’s interpretation of events, I was also positive that he was unaware of the full truth of Mrs. B.’s behavior during the marriage and also since the time she had asked Mr. B. for a divorce. I also let this young man know that I spend significant time with their children and he could rest assured that no one is suffering. I politely told him that Mr. B. is a caring father that loves his children and they love him as well. Finally, I told him I was fairly certain that his continual gossip was a direct contradiction to what he is being taught at LaSalle High School. A place where young men go to practice and build their faith. I doubt parents send these young men to this expensive school to be caught up in a teacher’s personal life and gossip.
At this point things became quiet between the two of us for several minutes. After which I approached the young man and asked him if he had heard me say anything hurtful or mean about Mrs. B. during our conversation. He answered quite simply, “No.” I told him that is how I and Mr. B. have remained. While George and I both have frustrations at the lack of this couple’s ability to come to a solution on how to raise their children together, he and I have kept our mouths shut about Mrs. B.outside of the walls of our home. Some people who know George didn’t even know of the divorce until a year or more after their separation, that is just how much he DOESN’T talk. Unfortunately, we are not being afforded the same courtesy. We know the names that George and I have both been called by Mrs. B, her family, and her friends. Everyone is eager to pass that information along to us and we have seen it in writing via text messages. George has been called an asshole, a tool and a mother fucker just to name a few. Me, I am a whore, a slut and a home wrecker (despite the fact that we didn’t date until after their separation.)
I have been waiting to say this for a long time, but let’s get some things straight right now. George and I dated AFTER Mrs. B. asked for a divorce in June 2010. They have been operating under Shared Parenting since that time. Mrs. B. has now asked for full custody of their children. Since June 1, 2010, George faithfully financially supported his family by giving all of the monies he made to them until December 21, 2010, only keeping enough money to eat. After December 21, 2010, he gave his family HALF of his pay for the next three months. During this time, he went into debt creating a home for himself and for his children to spend HALF of their time. In January 2011, Mrs. B. filed for divorce. In April 2011, he made the house payment for Mrs. B. because she said she was unable to afford the payment. In April 2011, Mrs. B. obtained a 75N Order from the court and Mr. B. was ordered to pay child and spousal support of over $1,500.00 per month. At that time Mrs. B. stopped making the house payment and their home went into foreclosure in September 2011. Child support has been deducted from his paycheck each week without fail. George has continued to care for his children HALF of the time. Spousal support was discontinued when it was determined that she should no longer receive that money and child support continues to this day for three of their children (one emancipated in April 2012 when he turned 18). He has NEVER been an absentee father, nor is she destined to raise these children all alone as one of her family members is quick to point out to various patrons at a local bar. And she has been faithfully receiving child support since May 2011 contrary to what his former sister-in-law is telling people.
We have been largely quiet about this situation. Until now. We have been talked about behind our backs by people who are cowards and don’t have the common decency to talk to us face-to-face. Most of them have NEVER met me and most have not seen or talked to George in over two years. So, here is the deal. We are through being treated like crap. While we have no intentions of being mean or spreading gossip, the next time someone approaches one of us and begins to tell us the stories they have heard, we will talk back. We will tell them the truth. We will tell them everything. And I mean everything.