Life’s Lessons Learned #54: Nancy Lee Ogle

This was one of the more difficult blog entries to write. There are two reasons for this. First, it covers certain events of my life that I would like to forget. Second, I find my memory of the events actually is gone. In addition, there are no photos to enhance this entry.

One of the people that I took out for dinner during my time with First PA Bank was Nancy Lee Ogle. She was the bank’s training officer that I met during my first week in Philadelphia. I would like to put a picture of her right about here in this blog entry, but I don’t have any. Strangely, I was also unable to locate any mention of her, let alone a picture, on the Internet.

Nancy was my first wife. So, since there are memory gaps, let’s consider what I actually remember? Nancy was my age. She was quite intelligent. However, at 25 she was still living with her parents. She was of average height, and a bit thin, and very attractive. She had long, light brown hair that was rather fine. She also had several wigs that she wore. In 1970, when we married, a popular fad was young women wearing pre-styled wigs. In fact, Fulton Bank in Lancaster had wig boutiques in each of their branches, and gave wigs away as an incentive for opening a new account. (LCFNB gave away silver bowls and First PA gave away blenders.)

I was living above Givant’s Deli at the time, and when she would come up to visit in Lancaster, she would tell her parents that she was staying at the Swan Hotel. The Swan Hotel was a bar at the end of the street. It was a very old (colonial) establishment owned by a friend of mine, Howie Mundorf. It was agreed that if her parents ever called for her, he would say she was out, and then call me, and she would phone them back.

When we became engaged, I gave Nancy the 1½-carat diamond ring mentioned in my October 15th blog. After about a year dating we were married on August 10th 1970. I do not remember, whatsoever, any of our dates! I do remember, however, that shortly before the wedding I blew the engine in my Mercedes 190SL on a trip down to see her. We also found a new apartment just outside Lancaster at Valleybrook, and bought some furniture. In addition, Nancy had some furniture from her parents.

Prior to the wedding Nancy and I spent some time in premarital counseling with my minister. The wedding was a small affair, with mostly immediate family, at a church just a bit north of Philadelphia. After the ceremony, we took off in her car for a short honeymoon at the Williamsburg Hotel in Virginia.

Big Surprise #1: On day one, on the way to breakfast, Nancy began to cry. I asked what was wrong. At that time she told me that she had made a terrible mistake – that she did not want to be married to me or anybody else! She said that she really was just trying to get away from her family. It was a strange few platonic days of a honeymoon, and we then returned to Lancaster. We contacted both a marriage counselor, and my minister, to meet with us. They both recommended that we get a divorce. Since he had blessed the union, my minister was especially apologetic.

At the end of week #2 of our marriage, I was scheduled to attend a weekend training session for chapter officers with the Pennsylvania Jaycees (I was the incoming treasurer of the Lancaster Jaycees). When I returned, she was gone from the apartment. Her father and brother had moved her out. All that was left was the furniture and rugs that I had bought, and financed, at two local stores.

I contacted a local attorney, John Hartman, who had been my business law professor in college, and who was the solicitor for LCFNB. John owned a small apartment in town within walking distance of LCFNB that he rented me. He asked me what I wanted to do, and I said that I wanted to do whatever she wanted to make her happy. He said that the state of Pennsylvania (at that time) did not have “no-fault” divorces. She would, therefore, claim “indignities” as grounds, go in front of a divorce master (judge appointed), and with her attorney list a series of horrible things about me. I would not appear in court to offer a defense, and she would be granted a divorce. There would be no alimony, or costs, to me. John waived his fee. My thought was that she had the $2,000+ ring that would more than cover her costs.

As a side story, John also offered to sponsor me for membership in the downtown businessmen’s private club – The Hamilton Club. It was about a block from the apartment, and was sort of a city version of the Lancaster County Club. This posed a bit of a dilemma for me. The Hamilton club was not only exclusive, it was also restrictive with no Jewish or persons of color as members. In 1963 (as a freshman), along with other students, I had protested the President of Franklin & Marshall being offered a membership in the club, and he subsequently declined. I did not want to insult John, so I said that I thought that it would be better if I waited until LCFNB proposed me for membership (all of senior management were members).

Big Surprise #2: A year passed… I had not heard anything from Nancy or the court in Norristown since my initial invitation to the hearing to testify (which I declined). I finally called the court, and was referred to Nancy’s attorney. He told me that they had a problem. It seems that they had proceeded as they would normally do, and although I did not appear at the hearing, the court had turned her down. She, basically, had lost an “uncontested” divorce. They were preparing an appeal – which they eventually won. I never looked to see what sort of things they had to claim to win this divorce from a “one-day marriage” on appeal.

Some years later, my mother contacted me and told me that Nancy was looking for a current address for me. It seems that she was remarrying (a catholic) and was attempting to get her first marriage annulled. I never heard from her.

Big Surprise #3: For at least a year after the marriage I was a social hermit. Then one night there was a ring of my doorbell. A woman acquaintance of mine was there. She came in and said that it was time that I got out of my funk. She said that she was there to spend the night – and she did. It was only that one night, and years later I sang at her wedding. It was time to move on.

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