year of 1982 was a happy year, and also a very difficult year for the three of
us. I'll try to concentrate on the summer of 1982. But first, a little
background information. In November of 1981 I left an abusive relationship
with a man I refer to as 'Brute', and never looked
back. I have that story on my site, as well...it's called The
Secret Story. I moved in with my parents with my daughter Bambie when I left
him. These are pictures of
me and my kids the month after I left their daddy. I barely weighed over 90
pounds, at best. The stress of that relationship had taken it's toll on me.
In February of 1982 my
friend Johnny was in a life-altering car accident and I was told that he might not
live. He had suffered a coma and had what was called a 'closed head
injury'....meaning, he would have to learn to do everything all over again.
We're talking about eating, dressing himself, walking, everything...if he lived
through it. Those were very trying times...waiting to see how he progressed.
Meanwhile, his sister Robin
and I grew even closer. We made our trips to Baltimore to the Shock Trauma Unit
and visited Johnny all we could. My daughter was having her first leg
amputations and my mother had just had a brain tumor removed a few months
before. Can we say 'stress'? I had to be there for everyone but
Robin and Johnny and I had
been friends for several years, but had lost touch and were re-kindling our
friendship. I lost a lot of friends when I was with 'Brute', and now I was able
to get some of them back into my life.
I was still trying to
recover from a bad five year relationship. I did not trust men. I was not going
to fall in love. I was not in a hurry to get involved with anyone. I wanted
to take time to get to know who 'Cathy Palmer' was. I wanted my life
back. Robin was in the same situation....we were not in any hurry to settle down
Robin and I, after visits
with Johnny during the day on Saturdays, would frequent our favorite night spot
Lighthouse Inn'. I would spend the weekends with her when I could.
During the week I had visited the hospital where my mom was staying, spent some nights
with my daughter at Johns Hopkins, and when everyone was back home, I would
spend a night a week with Robin and visit with her brother in the hospital.
needed a break...some fun. I was 27 years old, free, single and ready to start
my life over. Robin was in the same position, both of us having our bad
marriages behind us. While most of our friends were bogged down with their kids
and marriages, Robin and I held the world in our hands. It seemed as though
Johnny, Robin, and I had been starting our lives over that year, in one way or
another, good and bad.
Johnny progressed and after
six weeks in the Shock Trauma unit, he was allowed to return home, where he and
Robin shared an apartment. I loved my weekends with them. I lived for the
weekends. Pretty soon Johnny went to a rehab center and Robin and I built our
weekends around that, as well. We would still go to the Lighthouse Inn on
Saturday nights, then spend Sundays nursing our little hang-overs and visiting
Johnny. We had such fun with him.
started coming home on weekends and on Sundays we would go to Robin and Johnny's
mom's house for a cook out. She made the best roast beef you ever put in your
mouth. Robin always called it 'roast beast'. This is a picture
of 'Liz'....the 'beast-mistress'....I really loved her. She
died a couple of years ago. In the 1990's she ended up having one of her own
is a picture of Johnny and I at his mom's picnic table. He was still in the very
beginning of the healing stage and he had lost a considerable amount of weight.
This picture was taken on May 16, 1982. I was looking and feeling the healthiest
I had felt in years. We were all pretty much on top of the world. Robin
and I were the life of the party at the Lighthouse Inn. We sat right in front of
the band and before the night was over we would have a crowd at our table buying
drinks. We didn't have to spend much money at all when we went out. And this
actually went on for a couple of years.
was setting in and we were going strong. I made many of the clothes Robin and I
wore. We loved wearing new clothes all the time and we wore them as fast as I
could make them. I also did our hair in curly perms. Robin and I attained more freedom
and stepped up our visits with each other and going to the Lighthouse, when
possible. We loved riding around in her car, listening to music, and trolling
through the Havre de Grace park. I had an attraction for Johnny and Robin's cousin Ron
was one 'fine looking' man. Gorgeous! And I asked Robin to kind of 'push us together'. I wanted to go out with him. These are pictures from right
around this time....I was at a party at the time.
(shown at the beginning of this paragraph)
Well, one night Robin and I
were at the Lighthouse Inn, it was on a Saturday, and her cousin Ron Burkentine
was there, as well. He had a friend with him, but I was busy plotting my charm
with Ron. He sat next to me and we struck up some conversation and eventually he
told me about this girl named Linda that he had been dating for about three
weeks. He told me that things were going very well between them and he didn't
want to mess it up....and if they didn't make it, he'd go out with me.
Meanwhile, he said he'd be glad to introduce me to his best friend Ron
Price. How about that....I get to go out
with a 'Ron' after all!
my, but how handsome he was. I hadn't even looked at him all evening because I
was too busy looking at the 'other Ron'. I loved his smile. He
had dark hair, and I've always been attracted to dark-haired men... and he had the
whitest teeth. He was such a gentleman, too. He sat down next to me and I could
'feel' the electricity between us. It was magical! I leaned over and
asked Robin about him....she had known him for years and said that he actually
lived in an apartment building down behind her. Robin filled me in on
him....like his age, which was 27 ....same age as me.... Everyone else faded
into the background when our eyes met. We spent the entire evening just
talking...sometimes going outside for some fresh air, and more talking....and
doing a lot of laughing. We had such powerful chemistry. We were very relaxed
and comfortable around one another. We couldn't quit smiling at one another.
Later on that night, when
the Lighthouse Inn was closing, we all went back to Robin's apartment. We did
not want the night to end. Ron and I
went out on the staircase landing for some privacy, and there is where he kissed
me for the first time. After that we couldn't stop....we kissed and talked all
night.....and I giggled....a lot....
This does not happen with
He gave me a ride home and we began steady dating that week. He called me every day,
sometimes several times a day. He was a truck driver. I had never dated a truck
driver before. I worked at a diner for years and knew how so many of them were, so,
I was never interested in dating one....until Ron. He would call me on the phone
just to hear my voice...or just to tell me, from 700 miles away, that he would
be right on time to pick me up for our next date. Does it get better than this?