Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Trouble With Marriage

...went to graduate school. Shortly before completing my master's in social psychology, I redirected my education. By then I realized that my marriage is not working. I have tried everything I could and it became a very miserable situation and I realized that it's just a question of time when I will need to support the children and myself. I had uh, two children and was pregnant with my daughter Naomi. And I also knew that if I divorce my husband and he told me many times he's not going to contribute a penny to the children's support and I believed him. So eight months pregnant I changed course. I dropped and didn't write the thesis. Dropped my social psychology and went to see the dean of the business school, Xavier University in Cincinnati. I wanted to enroll in a master's program in hospital administration. I had friends, I had friends who were working in hospitals and I had heard over and over so many comments, "Irene, they need a smart woman like you," and I started believing it. I thought also that having a master's in hospital administration will give me greater uh, options in choosing a job through which I could support my children. Because with a master's in social psychology, I couldn't do much. Uh, I did later on get a full scholarship to do a Ph.D. in, at the University of Cincinnati. But it was too late. My husband then lost his job and we had to relocate. Anyway, I switched to--entered the program in hospital, a master's program in hospital administration. And the dean whom I tried to convince to accept me, it was a week, it was about two weeks after the semester started, looked at my pregnant belly and I told him I would just need to take a few days off when the baby is born, which I did and, and continued and got a master's. Um, shortly thereafter--well, the marriage kind of dragged on. And my husband lost his job and we had to relocate. And this is where we ended up back in Detroit. There were some options where, where he could find a job, and after a long search the better offer was in Detroit and we came back in Detroit.

Now with three children.

With three children, yes.

And a master's degree.

And a master's degree. And I uh, shortly thereafter got a job at Sinai Hospital as an assistant administrator and was very excited. Even though that my interest was really mental health. But I was so eager to get a job and I had no idea how to search all the levels, public and private and state and, and federal. Uh, got a job. Well, a few years later I did eventually file for divorce. I tried it a few times, and my then husband talked me out of it. He was with all kinds of promises for change, but I ended up divorcing him. And I was supporting three children. Well, he contributed a little, very little. But very often I had to take him to court for that too until the children were eighteen. When they were eighteen he didn't pay a penny further, so.

Just you.

Their college education was between me and what they could help out, uh...

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