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Love, marriage, and divorce

What divorce lawyers do, why San Diegans marry, our first year of marriage, my drunk husband-to-be, instinct to mother, divorce regret, San Diego couples surveyed on arguments

She and I had driven out to the lawyer's office in El Cajon to see if we couldn’t resolve our differences peacefully.
  • She and I had driven out to the lawyer's office in El Cajon to see if we couldn’t resolve our differences peacefully.
  • Image by Catherine Kanner

Two Divided by Two

Learning some of the courtroom shortcuts made things easier for me — places north of Date Street where you can park all day for free, the back entrance to the county courthouse at Front and C streets where you can catch an elevator straight to the third floor and the two courtrooms where such cases are heard, and how the cases are never called before 9:15 instead of the 8:45 time stamped on the notification papers.

By John Corvus, July 30, 1981 | Read full article

Randy said he loves Robin’s family. “They’re great. The Rock of Gibraltar. Religious, solid. Tell him about your family, Robin.’’

Randy said he loves Robin’s family. “They’re great. The Rock of Gibraltar. Religious, solid. Tell him about your family, Robin.’’

Why Knot?

Randy said that some years ago he bought a thirty-foot trimaran, intending to sail it to the South Pacific.

“Now we’re going to fly to the South Pacific on our second anniversary,’’ said Robin. “We both feel we’ve had our independence. Randy has his boat and I own a house. And we decided, at last, that we wanted something more than just our own independence."

Randy said he loves Robin’s family. “They’re great.”

By Joe Applegate, Nov. 30, 1978 | Read full article

There was no way I could live in a city whose dips didn’t compare to what we had here. New York has potholes, LA has traffic jams. Here, the golden mean: more dips per linear mile of surface street than any other Western Block city. You’ve got your Ebers Street in Ocean Beach, your Meade Avenue in Normal Heights, your G Street downtown.

There was no way I could live in a city whose dips didn’t compare to what we had here. New York has potholes, LA has traffic jams. Here, the golden mean: more dips per linear mile of surface street than any other Western Block city. You’ve got your Ebers Street in Ocean Beach, your Meade Avenue in Normal Heights, your G Street downtown.

A Model Year

Life with children is different from any other style of living, because whatever you do, you always get to the drive-in late. A few months ago we loaded the Twinmobile (the Signet) and went to Del Mar to see For Your Eyes Only and part of Tattoo. Nova conked out in back (she’s a good kid as long as you keep her topped off), but Malibu started screaming unconsolably.

By Joe Applegate, Dec. 17, 1981 | Read full article

It still scares me to think what might have happened had the strange Marines not showed up when they did.

It still scares me to think what might have happened had the strange Marines not showed up when they did.

Here Comes the Bride, There Goes the Groom

Pastor Raymond was as pale as a cadaver as I walked and Richard lurched the last few steps to the front of the gathering. The pastor turned us to face the audience, and he bade everyone sit. The plumber kneeled in a prayerful pose, still dripping. At the back there was a small commotion as four uniformed Marines, two enlisted and two officers, seemed to rush in and then stop suddenly when they reached the back yard.

By Claire Kelly, November 23, 1983 | Read full article

By our third anniversary we had two daughters. An instinct to mother directed all that I did. I was, by then, the lioness.

By our third anniversary we had two daughters. An instinct to mother directed all that I did. I was, by then, the lioness.

Lines of Love, Lines of Pain

We lived by the hospital. I heard sirens every day. When both girls were with me in the house, I felt a smug assurance when I heard the sirens shriek. But more than once, when one girl was not home by midnight, or when it was almost midnight and time for them to come through the front door, I felt sick with fear, hearing the high whine rush down Chestnut Street to the emergency room. I would see limbs torn, lying in snow.

By Judith Moore, December 1, 1983 | Read full article

I’m living in San Diego on Nutmeg Street. I’ve moved a half-dozen times in nine years. I’m not married to Jane anymore; that was just a dream…the young boy in the dream…was that my son or was it me?

I’m living in San Diego on Nutmeg Street. I’ve moved a half-dozen times in nine years. I’m not married to Jane anymore; that was just a dream…the young boy in the dream…was that my son or was it me?

Divorce Isn’t about Itself

One night I called to say good night to Justin, and Jane told me he was doing a sleepover in Balboa Park with the Cub Scouts. It was a chilly night, and I asked if he had enough blankets, warm clothes. She assured me he had, but I told her the Boy Scout camp was only a few blocks from my apartment and I thought I’d walk over and check on him, see who was supervising the thing.

By Robert Johnson, Nov. 3, 1994 | Read full article

James Churchill's headstone, Mount Hope Cemetery. I couldn’t face it—your dying. Later that day a nurse got in touch with me, and asked if you would like to sell any of your organs. I said no, I want you back whole.

James Churchill's headstone, Mount Hope Cemetery. I couldn’t face it—your dying. Later that day a nurse got in touch with me, and asked if you would like to sell any of your organs. I said no, I want you back whole.

I Loved You with All My Heart

I wish you could see our new “Boulevard” sign. Our councilperson put it up. There has been so much building going on and they are going to tear down a whole block in Hillcrest. Remember when we used to go to Pernicano’s (at least 25 years ago)? And once we ate in that expensive place near there. Come on home, honey, so we can go to the Black Angus or Red Fox for a steak again.

By Margaret Churchill, Feb. 9, 1995 | Read full article

“Cynthia, if you do not materialize in the next 15 seconds, I am going to have an emotional collapse in front of a man wearing the world's largest toupee."

“Cynthia, if you do not materialize in the next 15 seconds, I am going to have an emotional collapse in front of a man wearing the world's largest toupee."

The Bride Wore Black Linen

I can locate our Hour Farthest from God as being on the AstroTurf patio of the Little Chapel of the Bells. Cynthia had been expressing what I considered an eccentric fascination with the elusive Charlotte Richards.

I dragged her out onto the patio. It was very hot. There were homeless people on the sidewalk screaming and urinating on themselves and pestering us for cigarettes. The dog was panting. I knew I had to act fast.

By Abe Opincar, Oct. 10, 1996 | Read full article

I’d even say the kids are thriving, and that, while there was damage, there don’t seem to be permanent scars.

I’d even say the kids are thriving, and that, while there was damage, there don’t seem to be permanent scars.

Moving Out

My son, who was in first grade, told his whole class during “sharing,” the modern equivalent of “show and tell.” When it was his turn, he stood up and explained that his parents were separating for a while, that he and his mom and sister were moving to a cottage. He said he liked the cottage. He said he was scared and sad about the rest. I heard this secondhand; I wasn’t in the classroom that morning.

By Bo Caldwell, Aug. 13, 1998 | Read full article

The author with his kids, Encinitas, 1983. “Remember the ocean, where you guys made sand castles and the shorebirds we fed and the zoo and the killer whales at Se World, remember?”

The author with his kids, Encinitas, 1983. “Remember the ocean, where you guys made sand castles and the shorebirds we fed and the zoo and the killer whales at Se World, remember?”

California Here I Come

I floated a moment on the waves and thought how we had made it to California, a journey that my father had once dreamed of. Dad had wanted to live in San Francisco after the war. But Mother nixed the idea; she insisted on living one day’s drive from her mother in Illinois. Now, with my brother Steve in Wisconsin, my brother Jeff in Atlanta, and Mom back in Ohio, I’d become the westering one.

By Thomas Larson, Feb. 24, 2000 | Read full article

Despite my convictions, I felt guilty about breaking the ring rule for a while.

Despite my convictions, I felt guilty about breaking the ring rule for a while.

Rules of Engagement

My mother referred to him as “the Swarthy Cake Baker,” and my sister found him pompous. My father didn’t think Dominic was intelligent enough for me and resented Dominic’s proprietary attitude toward me and my son. They warned me that Dom was too concerned with money and status. And they didn’t feel he was loving enough. When it started to look as if the wedding was imminent, my mother begged me not to marry him.

By Debra Ginsburg, Feb. 22, 2001 | Read full article

Arguments

Well, we met when we were babies…. When we were 16 or 17, we didn’t know how to fight; we were kids. Then through the drinking years the fights got real ugly, the knock-down, drag-out variety. Raisin’ kids was always good for disagreements. But we had an agreement — that we’d never argue about the kids in front of them; we’d go off and close the door. And still it happened.

By Doug Du Brul, July 19, 2001 | Read full article

The Garbers. “The first night we met, we went for a walk down Seal Beach pier, and when he held my hand, I felt the sparks then.”

The Garbers. “The first night we met, we went for a walk down Seal Beach pier, and when he held my hand, I felt the sparks then.”

Sealed with a Kiss

“I think what’s made our marriage work is our ability to change,” says Marge. “When we got married, the priest told us, ‘For the rest of your life, everything you have is equally yours. If you only have one piece of bread, you divide it in half, equally.’ Well, we’ve made a game out of that for 43 years. When there’s an apple, we’ll cut it right smack in half. But the idea is to share….”

By Robert Kumpel, Feb. 13, 2003 | Read full article

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