Shalom in the home |

Shalom in the home

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Robin Raum, left, and Donel Raum, both ex-wives of the same man, are planning to find a house to share so their seven children can grow up together.

The electricity was out at Robin Raum’s house and her landlord wasn’t helping.

“He brought over an extension chord,” she said. “And (he told me), ‘plug it into the neighbor’s house.'”

But the gas was out, too. And so was the water. And so was the phone.

“Everything,” Raum said.

Because of the problems she was having, she sent her four children to stay with her husband’s ex-wife until the utilities were fixed.

The children were there a few days, and when they came back, they told Raum how much they loved it there.

“Every weekend after that they were like, ‘Can we go to Donel’s? Can we go to Donel’s,'” Raum said, imitating the children’s voices.

Soon, the women become close friends and now, two years later, they’re looking for a house to buy.

Robin Raum, 31, has since separated from her husband and Donel Raum, 38, has agreed with Robin that an affordable large house for them and the seven children between them, all but one from the same man, would be best.

“I was thinking about it earlier,” Robin said. “(I’d also like) a room that would be like a homework room, you know, with computers and stuff in it. I’m in school, too, so everybody would have a place to go.”

Both Robin, who is working on her nursing degree, and Donel, who is a sleep technician, acknowledged that finding an affordable large house will be difficult. If they can, however, they say they and their children will be happy.

Donel would help the children with homework, Robin said. Donel said Robin would help her see what it’s like to be part of a large family. An experience she had only when she lived with Robin briefly a year ago.

Growing up, Donel lived with her brother and mother.

“That was kind of one of the big things for me coming out here,” she said. “There was always someone for someone to talk to. There was always two or three grouped up here doing something or one or two grouped over here doing something. Lot’s of activity going on – just not quiet.”

They talked about the details of their new house last week.

“We wanted, what? Seven bedrooms,” Donel said.

“Yeah,” Robin said.

“Seven bedrooms,” Donel said.

They said living together would also be better for them financially and would keep them from “struggling” on their own. Robin is working as a receptionist right now, but the job was hard to get because she hadn’t work for the more than 10 years she was with her husband.

Though they don’t agree on everything, they said they’ve already resolved to never fight or insult the children’s father in front of the children.

Donel said she does look forward to having “all the chaos” of a a nine-person home, though. She said she didn’t get to have that growing up, but wants her children to.

Getting a house, she said, “It’s just kind of a thought, you know, because it’d be nice for our children to be able to grow up together.”

On her right foot, Donel has a tattoo of the word “Shalom” – the Hebrew word for peace.

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.