Faculty Wife | Part 13

by Elouise

1972 Sep Elouise with Scott and Sherry in the art museum2

Hmmm . . . . Are we happy yet?  Rodin’s Thinker at Getty Museum , 1972

I’m sitting here looking at the title I gave this series: Faculty Wife. Was I a Faculty Wife during the four short years we were back at the Bible College? If not, what was I?

My life was packed from the moment I got up in the morning until I landed in bed exhausted. Almost none of my work at home had to do with the Bible College or my role as Professor DAF’s wife. We had an occasional social event at our house with students. Nonetheless, my major work was raising our children and doing housework.

Other things, like trips to the park with D and the children, wild youth group meetings at our home, and a long road trip through Texas and up the West Coast were wonderful, even exciting. But I was still exhausted when I woke up in the mornings.

About two years after we arrived at the Bible College, depression set in once again. I became weepy and withdrawn. I couldn’t find words to describe what was going on inside me, except to say I felt isolated and alone.

I also missed having a piano in the house. It seemed the music was going out of my life. So we worked with a friend to find and buy a new piano. I was ecstatic. Surely this would lift my spirits!

Not surprisingly, it did lift my spirits. Unfortunately, it didn’t banish my depression or my feeling of isolation, especially from adult company.

I had neighbors and enjoyed occasional visits with them. Yet they were as busy as I was trying to keep up with small children and unending housework. I began falling into an old habit–sitting on our living room sofa and doing nothing. This time I stared out the front window. Is this how I’m going to feel for the rest of my life?

One day I got a call from Bill Supplee, professor of music and my college-days mentor in music. He needed someone to teach a section of Basic Music Theory. Would I be interested? The textbook was already selected, and he was certain I would be able to do this—even though I hadn’t been trained to teach music.

As it turned out, Mr. Supplee’s request turned into that and a bit more. I began teaching piano lessons at the Bible College and to a few younger students I’d begun teaching in our home. Then an unexpected opportunity came along. Would I go on the next summer choir tour as the choir’s accompanist? Mr. Supplee was going on sabbatical and needed an accompanist for the tour. In fact, he also wanted D to fill in as the choir director.

After thinking about it and talking it over with D, I said yes to both requests—teaching the music theory section, and accompanying the choir on piano and/or organ. The music theory class met twice a week. I would also be expected to attend choir rehearsals and accompany the choir from time to time during the semester before the tour.

Did I enjoy all this? Yes! Was it exciting and deeply memorable? Let’s just say it got me out of the house regularly, and gave me an opportunity to get back in touch with my love of music.

In the end, however, it didn’t shake the feeling that I was treading water and D was not. Were my worst pre-wedding fears being realized right before my eyes? More to the point, none of this gave me more free time, or made it easier to be Mom.

I still had to figure out what to do with our two children every day—especially when I was at the Bible College during the week. And I still had to get all the regular housework done.

To be continued. . . .

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 October 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, Summer 1972
Rodin’s Thinker now at Stanford University, California