A Story of My Life, Part 15: 1982
By 1982, I had been working for the winery as a Federal Government Compliance Records Keeper for about two years. It was a busy little job that quickly became routine, and that exactly suited me at the time. I was responsible for the fermentation and bottling records as well as all records of excise tax on all the wine shipped, and the excise tax payments. I was a little awed by the amounts--well over $80,000 USD per day in the Champagne season, which we had to pre-pay, as we were always in excess of our bond. The premises were bonded for a certain dollar limit, to contain alcoholic beverages subject to excise tax, and if we exceeded the amount of the bond, we had to pre-pay the tax. It got a little complicated during Champagne season. Our winery came up with a blend of Sparkling Burgundy and Champagne, called "Cold Duck", which was a very popular beverage for a while.
The record keeping had to be exact. We were audtied frequently by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and if there was any flaw in the record keeping, we were subject to exhorbitant fines and penalties. We called these inspectors "The REVENUERS", like we were making moonshine, as kind of a standing in-joke.
I liked the people there, all except for one. There's always one, where you work, isn't there? I had a new cast of characters in my life.
- Edward, my boss and the General Manager and universal problem-solver, who later on became my husband.
- Maureen, a great saleswoman who kept us all in good humour--she could sell ice cream to an Eskimo and a Christmas tree to a rabbi. She told us a story once, of going on vacation to Arizona to visit her husband's relatives, and while on the way there, she wanted to visit some tourist attraction. They ended up going miles and miles out of their way through the desert..."It was only an inch on the map," she said.
- Elaine, who did the production scheduling and doubled as receptionist. She was from England and we all loved her accent. She was shocked that we only got ONE DAY off for Christmas. (It meant she couldn't go home for Christmas.) She said, and I don't know if it's true, or not, that in England everybody took at least a week off work for Christmas. Christmas and New Year's was the winery's busy season, the Champagne season, so it was really out of the question, but I had to hand it to her for persistence. She tried every year for all the eight years I worked there to get a week off at Christmas.
- Mr. X, the company President, we always called him "Mister..."; everybody else went by their first names. I won't use his last name on the Internet, to protect him, though he really doesn't deserve it. He was the only person there I didn't like. He was an empty suit; a blowhard; a stuffed shirt. He seemed to have NO IDEA what was really going on, ever. His only solution when presented with a problem was to yell and scream, throw a tantrum like a child, threaten to fire someone, then holler for Eddie. He never solved a problem in his life. He inherited the company from his father.
I was a busy woman. I had the full-time job at the winery, and I still played out with the band. Also, I was living with.....
Michael the Archangel
Michael tuned out to be a lot more into smoking pot than being a good boyfriend. He was beautiful, and at first he made me very happy. I felt fulfilled and satisfied in a way that was entirely new to me. This is what it meant to have a lover. I was missing a love in my life and I thought I found it with him. I'll always be grateful to him for that first happiness as a woman, in spite of what happened later on...
We had been living together for about a year, and our relationship experienced some real problems.
I was torn in two directions: one way, the easygoing, let's-all-party-down-forever, rock 'n' roll, irresponsible youth type lifestyle that doesn't look to the future.
The other direction. My little job. I took it seriously. It had to be done right. There was hell to pay for the least error. It was not important, precisely, but it was exacting work. I was maybe the lowest person on the totem pole in the office hierarchy--I don't want you to think it was any grandiose job. But it was always important to me to try to do what I do, anything I attempt, well. I had to get up early in the morning to go to work, so I couldn't stay up all night partying.
Michael worked the night shift. He didn't get home until after midnight, when he did come home. I was sound asleep by then; I was long gone to work when he got up around noon.
The two directions--the day life or the night life. I still loved playing in the band, but the late hours got to me whenever we got a weeknight gig (especially during Champagne season). Also, I never, never was into drugs; illicit pharmaceuticals weren't my thing, though I often thought the whole business could be better regulated by making at least pot entirely legal. I'm afraid Michael was into drugs; some kinds of drugs I didn't even know about.
It got me thinking I had to choose; the day life or the night life. It worried me.
Also, I was moving into my early twenties. Like a lot of young women, I was thinking marriage and babies and building a nest. Real life didn't happen that way for so many of us after all. Michael sure wasn't thinking marriage and babies. I came to realize he was entirely unsuited for those things. He was a thirty-year old man, going on fourteen. You'd think commitment was a crime.
The whole thing ended in one spectacular disaster one hot August Saturday afternoon. Michael was insanely jealous; sexually jealous, especially of my band members. I was so flattered at first by this hungry wanting of me, exclusively. What a fool I was!
Michael didn't like the attention I got, playing out in the band. It was the usual jazz; men, who after a few beers, would chance their arm on any woman they found the least attractive. I could shrug it off completely and good-humouredly, for the most part. REALLY drunken men sometimes could get in my face; that's what bouncers are for. I got tired of it, to tell you the truth. Men have no clue how a woman feels about being treated like that, being hit on randomly by strangers. I had to be nice; I had to give a grin and say, "I'll pass on that".
It drove Michael NUTS! He wanted me to quit the band; I wouldn't, it was important to me, and I felt we were finally getting somewhere with our music now that we had a good drummer and a decent vocalist. I wrote a song, called "Mean Woman Blues", and I actually got to sing it. That was cool. I had kind of a rough voice, from smoking cigarettes, that was well suited to blues and not suited to any other singing. It brought down the house, every time.
We had played out Friday night, and Michael was there in the bar after he got out of work. He just caught the last number of the last set. We sat, had a drink before last call, and went home. We slept in on Saturday, and when we got up, I could tell-Michael was in one of his moods. He started questioning me about the bass player in the band, who gave me a little hug after the reprise of "Mean Woman Blues" that we did for our final number. Michael got more and more upset. Nothing I could say to him penetrated.
He brought the shotgun out of the closet. I was scared, so scared. He put the gun to my chest, point-blank to my chest, and pulled the trigger. I had a red circle there, over my heart, where he pressed the gun to my chest.
Fortunately the gun wasn't loaded. If it was, I wouldn't be writing this today. I would have died at the ripe old age of 24.
I ran out of the house without my shoes--I just grabbed my purse and ran. I was out on the street, on the sidewalk, with the hot August pavement burning the soles of my feet. Jan picked me up in the band van, barefoot on the street, running down the sidewalk, running for my life.
It was purely fortuitous that Jan happened by. He took me to his house for a little while, until I could start getting my life sorted out again. All I had was the clothes I stood up in-- a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, and my purse. I've always wondered what Jan's mom thought of me. Not much, I guess.
I found out later that Michael had not known whether the gun was loaded, or not. He didn't remember. So he actually did want to kill me and not just scare me to pieces. I also found out later that Michael had moved on to angel dust, with his illegal drugs...
I had my life to start over again, and that's the next chapter.
- In January, Mark Thatcher, son of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, disappears in the Sahara during the Paris-Dakar Rally. He is rescued 3 days later.
- In Feburaly of 1982, the Hama massacre beings in Syria. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad orders the army to purge the city of Harran of the Muslim Brotherhood.
- In March of 1982, all eight planets align on the same side of the sun. SYZYGY. A rough alignment with all eight planets occurs about every 50 to 100 years.
- Also in March of 1982, the ground-breaking ceremony for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is held in Washington, D.C.
- In April, 1982, the Falklands War begins.
- In May, 1982, a crowd of over 100,000 people attend the first day of the 1982 World's Fair, kicked off by a Presidential address, by Ronald Regan.
- Also in May, the Weather Channel airs for the first time.
- In June of 1982, a rally against nuclear weapons draws a crowd of 750,000 people in New York City's Central Park. Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Linda Ronstadt attend.
- Also in June, Prince William is born at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, West London.
ET Phone HOME!
- Also in June, ET premiers in the movie theaters, breaking records.
- Hugh Grant debuts in film in 1982; also Angolina Jolie appears for the first time in film, as a child actress, with her father, Jon Voight, in "Lookin' to Get Out".
- In October, I982, in Orlando, Florida, Disney opens the Epcot Center.
- The Commodore 64 PC computer is released and over 20 million are sold by 1984.
- In December of 1982, the Times "Man of the Year" is given not to a human but a computer.
Michael Jackson, from the cover of "Thriller"
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