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MEMORIES FROM A WHITE HOUSE WIFE
Hello. My name is Peggy Marx and I am the wife of a White House Boy and often the glue that holds him together. For thirty-five (35) years I have heard these horror stories and watched my sleeping husband curl up in the fetal position and whimper in his sleep. I would sometimes wake him when they were real bad and ask him what he was dreaming about. He always told me he couldn’t remember. I am sure that’s true. The mind has some amazing safeguards.
I am Frank’s fourth wife and very early on in our marriage I knew why! But I also knew the little boy who whimpered in his sleep. More than one time, almost every day, I felt like throwing in the towel. More times than I can count, would I sit up at night crying over something mean he said and asking myself “Why the hell am I here?” But something inside me would not let me leave that lost, whimpering little boy.
I, like most of your wives I’m sure, endured the hateful looks, comments, insults and yes, sometimes, the physical abuse these men can hand out. In Frank’s case, it was always when he was drinking, which he has not done in over twenty (20) years. But every wrong thing that happened in his day was in someway my fault. Our kids were scared of him. The worst part of my day was 3:10pm. That’s when he was home and the kids got off the bus. I have spent all of my married life being a buffer, the inside of an Oreo cookie, being squeezed by both sides. Kids, family and friends on one side and Frank on the other. Even his own mother and sister and his friends from before we met would ask me why would I put up with him and his abuse. And for years, I wondered the same thing myself. After our kids grew up even they said “Why don’t you leave him, Mom? Why do you stay?” But none of them knew the poor little boy who curled up and whimpered in his sleep. I used to say to myself, as soon as our kids are gone, so am I. Then the kids left one by one and I was still there. About five (5) years ago he grew calmer and easier to live with. He started telling me he loved me and needed me. He started laughing a little more freely, being more sensitive, aware of my feelings and the kids.
But, by now, life is just settled down to existing. The nightmares where all but gone and life at our farm was fairly quiet. Then his brother called to tell us of the first article that we had heard about the White House Boys. The nightmares in short order started again. It was then that he realized what his nightmares, not bad dreams, were about. It was then that I realized when everyone, his father, his mother, the system and all concerned, had abandoned the little whimpering boy inside, how could I?
The first meeting of the White House Boys set out a healing in my husband nothing or no one else could do. Immediately he found an old friend he had worried about for fifty (50) years, made two (2) instant new friends, Don and Jerry, and started to move forward. He had been estranged from two (2) of our children. One for six (6) years and the other for almost four (4) years. He asked me to buy a copy of Roger’s book, which I did. On the front cover, I wrote for him:
Maybe if you read this book you will gain an understanding of why I was
so cold and strict with you. My greatest fear was you would end up in a
place like Florida School for Boys. If you can find it in your heart, please
Both children read the book, called their dad and mended their relationships. Thank you Roger Kiser for your book. Keep the good work.