At the same time I was enrolled in college I had also taken my first job, at Popeye’s Fried Chicken. I loved that job and gained twenty pounds working there. My friend Krystal & I were saving money to go see Def Leppard somewhere in the United States. We had already seen them in Jacksonville, we LOVED them and wanted to see them again. As I said in my last blog my mother was under a lot of stress after her divorce, going into the workforce for the first time and taking care of two children and she often times took her frustration out on us, especially me. She had a wooden paddle and would beat my butt with it. It was ridiculous for so many reasons, but particularly because I never did anything wrong that I can remember and I was 17 years old. Who does that to a 17-year-old? One day my mom called from work and asked where my sister was; she was next door at our neighbor’s house with the younger of the two girls who lived there, Gina. My mom demanded that I go over there, get my sister and tell her to do her homework. I went next door, knocked and advised my sister, then went back home. A few minutes later my mother called, screaming & yelling at me that I was going to get it when I got home. My sister had told my mom that I had drug her home by the hair. That was a flat out lie. I could not believe my sister did that and she was not even home yet, to boot! I was so, so tired of being the brunt of my mother’s anger, I called Krystal and advised her we are leaving NOW. I don’t care where we go, but we are leaving! Somehow she found out that Def Leppard were going to be in Fort Wayne, Indiana in a week, that was fine with me, I would go anywhere, I really didn’t care as long as I was no longer under my mother’s roof.
I packed my bags in fifteen minutes and was on my way, in my old, beat up Ford Maverick covered in Def Leppard stickers and on my way to Krystal’s before our Mother’s got home and we started on our way to Fort Wayne, Indiana! Two 17-year-old girls, back in the day with no cell phones, just a map, a car, and no plan! Well, we had gotten halfway through Georgia when we started hearing a funny noise. At first we could not figure it out, but finally, Krystal noticed pieces of tire and said, “your tires are coming apart!!!” We stopped at the nearest gas station, I called my grandmother in California because I was NOT going to call my mom. My grandmother paid for all new tires on my car and said we are coming to get you because you can’t be on your own. I advised no, we are going to Fort Wayne, Indiana to see Def Leppard, hung up the phone and we were on our way! I really can’t remember the rest of the trip after that. I don’t remember if we stopped to sleep or drove straight through, but I know we did make it! Once we got there we secured a hotel room for a week and bought our Def Leppard tickets! We were loving life! We happened to be in a motel where there was an Amway Conference going on and those Amway folks know how to party! Constant noise all night long, but we didn’t care, we thought it was a riot. At some point I did talk to my grandmother again, I am not sure how that happened, if I called her or if they found me, but she said they were flying my aunt’s husband out to Fort Wayne to get us and he would drive us back to California (that is where my mom’s family still lives to this day) in the Maverick. Unfortunately, he came the day before the Def Leppard concert and said we had to leave immediately. Krystal was so, so angry about that, but we were running out of money, what could we do? So we started on our straight through, three-day journey from Fort Wayne, Indiana to San Diego, California.
We made it to California and at first we stayed with my Grandmother, I believe. That did not work out so we went to stay with my mom’s sister and her family. I know this must have been a great burden on her and I feel bad about that to this day, but I didn’t know what else to do. Well, believe it or not when we got there we found out about a huge concert they put on every year at the Charge Stadium called Sky Show…and guess who were headlining…you guessed it…Def Leppard! We went with my two male cousins and had a fantastic time!!! We also got to see Motley Crue. They were one of the first bands to come out, they were not even famous yet, but were about to be! So we got to see our beloved Def Leppard after all.
While there Krystal and I both worked odd jobs. Krystal actually got and kept the same job the whole time we were there, at a pizza place. First I had a job at a croissant shop in the mall, filling croissants with all kinds of jams and jelly’s, but I got fired. I don’t remember why maybe I was too slow. After that I got a job at Carl’s Jr and kept that job for the remainder of the time we were there. So we worked, gave some money to my aunt and spent the rest on drinking! While we were there we also got jay-walking tickets. Those are not normally given out in Jacksonville, people here just cross the street wherever and whenever they want, so imagine our surprise as we are WALKING across a street and a police officer turns on his lights and stops us! We were like, “jay what???” We could not believe it!
Also while we were there I continued to have issues with my bladder/kidney infection. Krystal and I managed to get food stamps and Medicaid or Medicare, whatever it is called, so my Aunt suggested I go see her gynecologist, the man who had delivered all of her children. What I am about to say I never told anyone, only Krystal knows because she was with me at the appointment and went into the room with me. If I knew then what I know now things would have turned out much differently than they did, I am sure. We went there, this man proceeded to have me undress, felt my breasts and told me I did not have a kidney or bladder infection…never took a speck of urine. That was back in the eighties. If that happened now that man would have been sued up the wazoo! I was too afraid to tell my aunt, I felt she would not believe me and I did not want to upset her. To this day it makes me so angry when I think about it. I guess he felt since I was on government assistance he was not required to give me proper medical care and decided to go ahead and cope a feel while I was there. I am so embarrassed and angry, but things were just so different back then.
After being in San Diego for about six months it was approaching the Holidays and my friend Krystal was becoming homesick, so we decided to go back to Jacksonville. My dad flew out from Jacksonville to San Diego to get us and thus ensued yet another cross-country trip in my trusty old Ford Maverick! At first, I did stay under my mom’s roof, but things had definitely changed. She no longer took her anger out on me, but I was still uncomfortable. After my parent’s divorce, my dad had been living on the base. When I got back he bought a mobile home had it put in a mobile home park and I moved in with him. Two alcoholics living together! At first, Krystal and I lived there with my dad. He was deployed a lot and really very rarely there. He would write out checks for all of the bills for the period of time he would be gone and we worked and partied!! Same ole, same ole! We were young and having a blast. We just partied, went to concerts and hung out. Eventually, on one night out we met another girl, Athena, who soon became our partner in crime…the three amigos. Our common denominator was partying, that is what we all had in common…broken homes and a love for alcohol and drugs. PARTY ON!!!!