Anke and I had a rocky marriage. We married on the hottest day of September and held the reception at our house. It was probably the cheapest wedding ever. After the wedding things in our relationship started to change. I told Anke when we started dating that I didn’t want a relationship with a smoker. She quit for a while. But after we got married she was smoking more than ever. She was drinking a bit, too. But I ignored that. But now that she is gone I realize how much she would drink. Every week when I put out the trash, the recycling container was full of beer cans. Now that she is gone, I don’t even use the recycle bin.
After the wedding I could no longer have any friends. Anke would get jealous if I had coffee or lunch with my sister-in-law or my friend David. Every year at Christmas we would alternate between Dallas and Rochester. One year we would spend ten days in Dallas with her daughter for Christmas. The next year we would stay here. The years we stayed here, we would go to Guy and Judy’s to open gifts on Christmas Eve. But on Christmas Day Anke would not want to go back for dinner. Instead she would want to play Bingo or go to Treasure Island to gamble.
I missed out on a lot of dinners over the years.
One year, I bought Anke a ticket to go to Dallas for Thanksgiving since she was not going to be able to go at Christmas. One night while she was gone, I went out to play bingo because I was bored and lonely. Heather, one of the girls that worked there asked if I would like to go for some coffee afterward. Anyway, I thought ”Great, someone to talk to!” While we were drinking coffee at Baker’s Square, Anke called and asked what I was doing. Not thinking I was doing anything wrong, I told her the truth. She went ballistic. From that moment on, Heather was ‘that bitch’. That really made me angry that I couldn’t even have a cup of coffee with a friend.
As time went by, it only got worse. For the next two years, she would keep throwing that incident in my face and accuse me of having an affair with Heather.
After we had moved to Denver, Anke started playing bingo again. Then she found Circus World Bingo here in Rochester. We started playing all the time. Then some friends told us about the casino up in Red Wing. One of the first times we were there, Anke won a jackpot on a slot machine for about five thousand dollars. Pretty soon Anke wanted to go up there all the time. That year when we did taxes, we didn’t have to pay anything in extra because of the winnings, because the losses more than took care of it.
Every year it got worse. Eventually, Anke had to much credit card debt from gambling that we had to do a debt consolidation loan to make the payments. I told her that I would only do this type of loan once and if it ever happened again, I would not bail her out. We took out a home equity loan to pay her cards off. Six months later she had her cards charged up again. This time she tried to take care of it herself by going to the credit union to borrow against her van. The bank wouldn’t do it unless I co-signed the loan. Reluctantly, I signed the loan.
I decided at that point that if it happened again I would have to get a divorce. That summer, I found a bill in the mail addressed to her from Household Finance. It was a loan payment bill for another debt consolidation loan. That was the last straw. I looked at my finances and decided that I would have to get a divorce by the next spring or file for bankruptcy by summer. I started paying off my bills as fast as I could.
Milton and Corina came up for visit over my birthday one summer. I really enjoyed them. I treated Corina as if she was my own daughter. On my birthday, l took one of the club airplanes and went flying with Milton. That was my gift to myself.
We had a great flight. We flew to Owatonna and looked at antique restored airplanes, then up to Red Wing and followed the Mississippi river to LaCrosse where we stopped for a potty break. We then finished the flight back to Rochester. I received my final divorce papers in the mail Christmas Eve, 2004 Merry Christmas.
I missed my children and my family while I was married to Anke. She did everything she could to keep me from my family. My son lived with us, but hated every minute. As soon as he graduated from High School, he moved out because he couldn’t stand her. My daughter refused to come live with us to go to college because she hated Anke so much. I was so blind. Now that Anke is gone I get to talk with my kids again, have lunch with my sister-in-law and spend time with family. My life keeps getting better every day.