A Story of My Life, Part 15: 1982

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.

SYZYGY

In March of 1982, all eight planets align on the same side of the sun.  It's called "Syzygy", and how to pronounce it, I don't have a clue.
In March of 1982, all eight planets align on the same side of the sun. It's called "Syzygy", and how to pronounce it, I don't have a clue.

1982

  • 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-The Extraterrestrial

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"

In November of 1982, Michael Jackson released the "Thriller" album, which is the biggest selling album of all time.
In November of 1982, Michael Jackson released the "Thriller" album, which is the biggest selling album of all time.

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Comments 24 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Kay. It was real, as we said back then. I guess you have some stories of your own.

At the bottom of the hub, there's little green arrows and the titles of the previous and next hubs are in blue; you can follow the story all the way back or all the way forward if you want to.


KDee411 profile image

KDee411 4 years ago from Bay Area, California

Very interesting story Paradise, I see you as being a very lucky girl. Your lucky to be here to tell about it. I can't wait to read more .I guess you have 14 more before this one? I'll try and find them. Than go on to the others.

Im not a writer but I also have lived an interesting life. I stayed with a very cruel man for 38 years. I'm still summing up the depravity of those years. I will be interesting to follow you.

Kay


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Internetwriter!


Internetwriter62 profile image

Internetwriter62 6 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

1982 was a really intense year for you. First you find yourself living a double life, then your crazy, jealous exboyfriend almost kills you. I know you had some serious decisions to make, but to get gun pulled on your chest, that is a real shocker. I'm glad God providentially made sure that the gun wasn't loaded, and you were able to live on and share your story with us.

Fascinating and intense. Will read on to see what other surprises lay ahead in your life's journey. Great hub.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Duchess. Yeah, you know, that really could have been the end of me, right there and then. It still shakes me a little to think of it...I'm glad I left, too. Nothing is worth living with a life-threatening man. I was SO mistaken to take up with him in the first place. I had trouble believing how wrong I was about him.

I'm working on the book, installment by installment. I've had a fairly busy tax season, so haven't been very diligent about writing hubs just lately...I have had to take up so much of my time researching recent changes in the tax law for 2009, and for 2010, for the customers who make estimated tax payments...it would seem like dull work to someone whose job it isn't...


Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

Paradise7 - I'm glad you are here to tell us this story. It could have been so much worse! I cannot imagine. I'm glad you got out of there and didn't go back, it would have been a disaster.

You HAVE had an interesting life haven't you? I think a book is in order.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, White Oak. I wonder why a tranquilizer would make someone violent.


WhiteOak profile image

WhiteOak 6 years ago from Georgia

WOW..that is all I know to say. I would love to sit down and write my story, and read both of our stories together.

As I was reading what happened with the shotgun, I had a flash of a similar situation that happened a few years before the date you mentioned.

Oh, just to mention also, Angel Dust is a Horse Tranquilizer or around that time period that is what it was made from.

I really like the way you write, it feels like you are sitting in front of us talking.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Dean. I'm not sure what it is. Didn't seem to have a tranquilizing effect on the 'ole Archangel! Yes, no matter how much you think you love the guy, he isn't worth getting killed over.


cheaptrick profile image

cheaptrick 6 years ago from the bridge of sighs

Hello P,Good thing you split.That kind of thing never gets better,only worse.Not knowing weather that shot gun was loaded tells the whole story.Wish you hadn't had to have gone through that.

btw,I think angel dust is an animal tranquiliser if I'm not mistaken.

Dean


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much, Laura, for visiting. I miss you in-between.


Laura du Toit profile image

Laura du Toit 6 years ago from South Africa

Just as well we can only understand life backwards but have to live it forwards - we would probably make all the right choices if we were wiser and more perceptive - but how much fun and excitement would we lose in the process. If nothing else you can always be grateful for the life skills you learned from your relationship with Michael and lets face it the thrills associated with your first real lover very rarely repeat themselves with such intensity.

Thanks for sharing and look forward to your next episode!

Lots of love - Laura


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Mike, RM and Jen for your comments, so very much. It sorta surprises me that people are still following this story, after 15 intallments! I think it's great. You know, Mike, I didn't think my life was all that interesting; not from the inside. Other people's lives are pretty interesting...I wish more people would put hubs out there about their lives.

RM, I remember ET so well. I actually saw it in the dollar theater after it was re-released, a couple years later. We both cried when ET died! It's one of those unforgettable movies. I still remember ET in amongst the Halloween costumes.

Michael was a mixed-up guy. He had what I call "The Peter Pan Syndrome"--he didn't want to grow up. He wanted to party forever. I don't think he understood what drugs were doing to him and how they were changing his personality. I'm SURE he WASN'T responsible for himself and his actions at the time. I still think maybe I should've called the law on him. It might have helped him later on.

Jen, thank you so much for the referrals to lulu. I'll remember that, when I'm done with this series and have pulled the copy together.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

You could investigate lulu.com which is free and uses Amazon.com Then there is also blurb.com which isn't free but a very nice site. Just the two sites I'm aware of.

I would certainly purchase the book and I don't buy many books these days! :-)


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

I love your time capsule re-caps. I saw ET in the theater a couple of times. Definitely brings back memories of what was going on in my life in 1982.

Michael's probably one of those people with bad brain chemistry who will always be drug seeking, and always fair game for irritional behavior. It's nearly impossible for me to relate to how people can relinquish self control like that, especially to do something for which they could go to jail forever.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

I think you have a pretty good book going here. You've led quite the interesting life.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much for your comments, Jen and Veronica!

Yes, I do believe it's strange that people who use drugs that inflate their violent tendencies and upset their reason have a weapon. It makes no sense, anyway, to damage oneself with those kind of illegal drugs.

My life took a turn here, and I did have to struggle through the aftermath. There were more personal challenges in store, some of them even worse, and also some very good things. I'll continue this series, and I do have it in mind to compile it into a book someday.

The funny thing about it is I don't know if people are publishing/buying many books these days. It'll have to be a non-profit sort of project, I think. Or at least have low expectations for profit.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia

Paradise7, I didn't realize that I was holding my breath when I came to the part about Micheal putting that gun to your chest until I finished reading. It's crazy what drugs will do to a person. You should write a book - seriously. The things you experienced are the makings of a bestseller. I'd be the first in line to purchase one.

To go through what you have been through, and still turn out to be an accomplished and caring individual, is a feat and triumphant in of itself. Your life-stories are sources of inspiration.

I do have a feeling though, that this turn of events leads to bigger and better things, Yes? No? - I guess I'll just have to wait and see.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

Whoa, how incredible that he did not accomplish his objective! Why do addicts and drunks make it their business to have a gun/or guns at their disposal? You know once my dad pulled his gun out on a bus driver, who snatched the gun away from him and shot HIM with it. To the day he died, my father had a bullet from his own gun embedded in the palm of his hand.

Anyways, sorry life took a bad turn, but glad you had the sense to know you didn't deserve to be treated that way.

Now that I'm all caught up, I just have one question, when does the next part get published? (smile)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Sheila b. and dohn121, for your comments. Yes, Sheila, I got out of there in one heck of a hurry, without even my car keys. I never went back. I made Michael mail me the keys, to Jan's house; or else I'd have him arrested by the police. Maybe I should have done that, anyway. I don't know what his future relations with other women amounted to...

Yes, Dohn, I really do believe he wouldn't have behaved that way if he wasn't under the influence of a very dangerous chemical.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Your story just keeps on getting more fascinating! I can't believe that Michael wanted to kill you. I don't understand what could drive anyone to do so. That must have been drug induced.

I can't wait for the next!


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

Some women don't wise up, even after the sort of attack you experienced. I respect your decision.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, scarytaff for those kind word. Yes, somebody really did. The guy was not thinking right, that's for sure, and I'm grateful every day for the extra time given me because the gun wasn't loaded.


scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 6 years ago from South Wales

What a terrible thing to happen. I can't believe someone would put a shotgun to your body and pull the trigger. I hope you've recovered from that terrible time.

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