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  • Writer's pictureGloria Casale

Exclusive Excerpt from my Autobiography

I'm excited to share with you an exclusive excerpt of one of the books I'm currently working on. It focuses on he humorous side of emergency medicine: Penises I have Cared For - But Not Cared About. I'd like to share more each month with you. Please let me know what you think.

This story starts in the early 60s. Before ‘the pill.’ Before women’s lib. Before Equal Rights for Women. I was in a marriage that was going nowhere. Unhappy and unloved I wanted out. No one my huge Italian family had ever gotten so much as a separation, let alone a divorce. I ultimately decided nothing could cure my broken marriage.

Finally, I packed up the kids, put the house on the market, and moved ‘home.’ Home to the house where I grew up. Home to live with my mother. Another mistake. Two strong-willed, adult women living in one house, sharing one kitchen, and dealing with toddlers? What was I thinking? In less than two weeks I had a job. I started to work the evening shift in a Newark hospital.

A month later I had a two-bedroom apartment a few blocks from the hospital.

My husband never paid the agreed child support. And, he didn’t take the kids on the weekends. My paycheck barely covered my expenses. The labor laws in New Jersey put nurses in the same class as waiters, waitresses, taxi-drivers, barbers, and hairdressers. We didn’t have to be paid minimum wage.

“Nurses get tips,” the state legislators said. What were they talking about? Tips? Like the occasional pair of white stockings a patient gave us as a thank you. The even less frequent box of Italian pastry from a grateful family.

I checked with a lawyer. There was no such thing as a ‘No-Fault Divorce’ in the 60s. The New Jersey divorce statutes translated to years of litigation, huge legal expenses, and proof of misconduct or abandonment by the offending spouse. Proof consisted of hiring a private investigator to catch your spouse in a compromising situation and taking photographs to be presented in divorce court.

I checked with Domestic Relations in Newark. Maybe they could force child support payments. “We’ll put you on the list,” the clerk said, “but the roster is so long that it’s going to be at least eighteen months before you’ll get a hearing.”

“Eighteen months! We could starve to death in eighteen months.”

“You could go to Reno for a quickie divorce,” the clerk pushed the application back across the counter.

“A quickie divorce? What’s that?”

“One that only takes six-weeks. You can get them in Nevada. They don’t litigate out of state property settlements or child custody. But at least you’ll be divorced so you can get married again.”

Married again!! That was the last thing I needed.

More to come.

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