A Story of My Life, Part 17: 1982
A brief recap, of where we left off in 1982--
My ex-boyfriend Michael the Archangel and drug dealer and drug user had chased me out of the house with a shotgun cradled in his arms. I was on the street, barefoot on the hot summer sidewalk, in jeans and a t-shirt, clutching my purse, when Jan in the band van fortuitously picked me up.
I had my life to start over. I still had my purse, my job, the clothes I stood up in (sans shoes!), and, most fortunately, my music equipment was still in the band van from our last gig. It was much better than nothing at all. I left behind the rest of my clothes, my books (my precious books!), my jewelry, household things, bits and pieces of furniture...
I rescued my car in the dead of night, when I knew Michael would be at work. He worked the night shift as a machinist in a car factory. I sold my car--I really needed the money for a security deposit and first month's rent, and to start replacing things. I wanted to preserve my little safety-cushion-nest-egg in the savings account at the bank. It was my going-back-to-school money, should the opportunity ever arise. It was a small enough town (maybe 30,000 people) so that I could walk to everything. I was young and strong, and it was still summer, so I didn't mind too much. The band van would pick me up for gigs and practice.
I found a new apartment on Bank Street. I had virtually nothing to move into it. Nothing! I remember so clearly my first day and night there. I sat on the floor and ate a meatball sub, reading a 10-cent used paperback novel ('Salem's Lot, by Stephen King), by the natural light from the uncurtained windows.
When darkness fell I lay on the floor, wishing like anything for a pillow.
Floors make for hard seats, hard beds. I made a big, long list of everything I needed to be moderately comfortable. Things like a cot, a pillow, a blanket...lamps, a shower curtain...some augmentation of my wardrobe. I couldn't keep wearing the same clothes. A different pair of shoes. (I was wearing a cast-off pair donated by Jan's Mom, and they didn't fit--they left big blood blisters on my feet, with all the walking I was doing.) A table and chair. A few dishes, pots, pans...some food...cleaning supplies...the list went on and on, and it was all basic stuff.
I had to be very patient. My paycheck wasn't large, and rent and utilities had to come first. But week by week, item by item, I found the best and cheapest deals I could, getting replacements for my lost things, knocking down the list.
Summer turned to winter before I knew it, and I had delayed getting winter gear. There were too many other things on the list that came before such seasonal and expensive items.
My boss, Edward, the general manager of the winery where I worked as a Federal Government Compliance Records Keeper, came to work at the same time I did, and drove along the last lap of my hike to work every morning.
He started giving me rides back and forth to work every day in January of 1983. I'm sure it was just the simple kindness of his heart that made him do it. I had acquired a light raincoat, but I had no boots, and the snow was deep on the sidewalk.
The scuttlebutt at work, amongst my gossipy women friends, was just unbelievable! I found it quite entertaining, actually. I was 25, Ed was 41. He was married, had two kids, was my boss.
"Come on--get real," I said to my friends Milly the bookkeeper and Maureen the saleswoman, one day. "He doesn't think of me like that! He's just being kind because I'm still saving up for a winter coat and winter boots, that's ALL!"
They both just smiled...they did know better, as it turned out, better than me.
Ed's wife left him in the summer of 1983. She ran off to Florida with another man. Ed got very, very quiet at work. He was still giving me rides back and forth, even though it was now summertime and I had worked my way through most of my replacement list.
It was autumn, and Ed's divorce was final, before he asked me for a date.
January 2--the last performance of Annie, in the Alvin Theatre, in New York City, after 2377 shows.
January 22--Bjorn Borg retires from tennis after winning 5 consecutive Wimbledon championships.
January 26--Lotus 1-2-3 is released.
January 26--Red rain falls in the UK, caused by sand from the Sahara desert.
February 28--The final episode of M*A*S*H airs, and the record for the most watched episode is broken,
March 23--Ronald Reagan rolls out "Star Wars", the Strategic Defense Initiative, to protect the US from enemy missiles.
April 15--the Tokyo Disneyland opens.
June 13--Pioneer 10 becomes the first man-made object to leave the solar system.
June 18--Sally Ride becomes the first woman in space, on the Space Shuttle Challenger.
July 15--The Nintendo Entertainment system goes on sale in Japan.
July 21--the lowest temperature on earth is recorded in Vostok Station, Antarctica. minus 89.2 degrees Celsius, minus 128.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
August 30--the first black man in space, Guion S. Bluford, takes his historic ride on the Space Shuttle Challenger.
September 5--Tom Brokaw becomes lead anchor for the NBC Nightly News.
September 17--Vanessa Williams becomes the first black Miss America.
September 18--the rock group KISS appears without makeup in public for the first time.
September 26--Australia wins the America's Cup.
October, 1983--Microsoft Word is released.
November, 1983--The Brinks Robbery in London--6800 bars of gold, worth over 26 million pounds, were stolen and never recovered.
December, 1983--An IRA car bomb kills six Christmas shoppers and wounds 90 more outside Harrod's, in London.
December, 1983--Apple Macintosh is launched.
AT THE MOVIES IN 1983:
- Return of the Jedi
- Terms of Endearment
- Trading Places
- Sudden Impact
- Staying Alive
- Mr. Mom
AND! One of my own personal all-time favorites:
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