So I graduated in 1983, worked at Popeyes, went to California for six months and then came back to Florida and lived with my dad and my friend Athena. After working some fast food jobs, etc. we went to get our nails done talking about how we needed better jobs and one of the nail techs told us a place she used to work was hiring, “JoAnn’s Chili Bordello”. Now I had never heard of this place but she said you would make fantastic tips and a LOT of money. I was in, so Athena and I applied and got hired. I was actually 18 at this time but Athena used a fake ID as she was still 17. This was a very popular, well-respected place that had been featured on 20/20 at one point. It was actually owned by a lady named JoAnn who ran a tight ship. It was a chili joint really, you could get a bowl of chili, chili over pasta and a few other menu items that I forget and it had a full bar…and the girls all wore corsets. The first night I was so shy I would not come out front. I hang out at the curtain that separated the main dining room from the back room where the kitchen was and tables for the employees to sit at. That night there was a really nice guy with blonde hair and blue eyes that sat at the bar, right there by the current where I was at. He kept telling me I was pretty and should come out but I wouldn’t! He talked to me most of the night, he was really nice. Finally, on the second night, I knew if I did not get out there I would not have a job very long, so JoAnn had me shadow one of the more tenured girls for a few nights. After that, I was finally comfortable and started really enjoying the job. Now, this was not a strip joint, not even close. Yes, we wore corsets, but the customers were not allowed to touch us. They would get one warning and after that, they would get tossed out. We also catered rock concerts that came to town…right up my alley! I got to meet Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Deep Purple and others that I can no longer remember…but for a heavy metal lover it was paradise!!!
Yes, we made a boatload of money! Probably at least $100.00 a night! I was 18, a wild child with no ambition other than to be a wild child…I was having the time of my life!!
I made a friendship with that guy who was nice to me the first night, I will call him Kory. He was always very encouraging and just great to talk to. JoAnn’s Chili Bordello was in a strip mall on Beach Blvd and he ran a thrift store on the other end of that mall. At the time I met him the store was wanting him to lie on taxed and the money they were bringing in and he was looking for another job. Apparently, another customer hooked him up and he got a very good job at a company that built gas stations. He was trained to test the huge, underground tanks where gas is stored. I was so happy for him. After work, every night a group of about 10-15 of us, some of my co-workers at the restaurant and then some of his co-workers at his job, would go out to a bar called the Hare & The Hound I believe it was, and close the place down. One particular night Kory asked me if I would like to go there that night. Well, of course, I said yes as we always went, but what I did not know that that was his way of asking me on a date…I had no clue, so when another customer came in that I had been flirting with at work I asked him to go also! When Kory found out he went out and punched a dent into his work truck making it bleed. His friend told me what was going on, but up to this point I only considered him a friend and was not really romantically attracted to him. I didn’t know what to do. After that, I guess he decided to up his game and he started having my roommate Athena go into my locker and get the keys to my car and he would leave a dozen roses or a teddy bear and a bottle of champagne, things like that. He definitely chased me like crazy. After a few months, I actually started to like him because he was so nice to me and really wanted to go out with me; so I caved in and went to dinner with him. It was a very romantic, nice evening and after that point, we became an item. While we were dating he still wooed me and I became smitten. After only a few months of dating, he proposed to me and I happily said yes! What more could a girl ask for? He had a great job and treated me like a princess!! He asked me to marry him in January 1985 and we were married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on September 21, 1985. I was in heaven! We had a huge reception at the club on the base as my dad was in the navy.
After we got married I decided to stop working at JoAnn’s as I did not think that was an appropriate place for a married woman to be working, so I got a job at a daycare center. I worked by day and the center pay for me to take child care classes at night at the local junior college. I was really, really happy. We continued to live in my Dad’s mobile home because right after we got married, my dad shipped out again. In around October or so my husband found out that he would have to go to work for 6 months in Puerto Rico-his company had gotten a contract out there to test the underground tanks. This is something that was set in place by the government, that all underground tanks that stored the gas had to be tested for safety and leaks and it had to be completed within a certain amount of years. We were both distressed as we had just gotten married. My husband talked to the owner of the company and he agreed to let me travel with my husband since we were newlyweds! I was thrilled, but the daycare center was not…I did not care, I was so excited about going to Puerto Rico!!
Now as I mentioned earlier I had this problem with either my bladder or my kidneys that has still never been resolved. The week before we were set to go I started getting a really bad bought of the pain and the night before we were supposed to leave I started peeing blood. My husband rushed me to the hospital and after taking my urine and checking me out the doctor said I had the worse kidney infection he had ever seen. He asked me who my doctor was and I said until a few months ago after I got married, it was the Naval Base because I was a dependant of my Father. He rolled his eyes and said he was not surprised. They put me on heavy duty antibiotics and another medicine that I can’t recall but said as long as someone could mail me my medicine he would ok me to go to Puerto Rico the following day. I took with me a months supply of medicines and the second month my mother FedExed them to me. After being on the medicine for just a few days I felt better than I had in years! It was almost magical…here I was staying in a really nice hotel n Puerto Rico with my husband, everything paid for, laying by the pool during the day while he worked, reading and just laying around being pampered and feeling good to boot! It was amazing. Of course, we were still partying up a storm but hey, that was us!
A couple of months into our stay my husband realized I had not had my period. He was ecstatic and said I was probably pregnant. We had briefly talked about children while we were engaged and agreed we probably wanted to have children, but that was the end of the conversation. He was on cloud nine, I wasn’t really sure what to feel, but I was happy that he was happy. About a week later I started having really, really bad cramps. It was so bad one night I could not go out to dinner so we ordered room service; I felt horrible that whole night. We finally went to bed and sometime in the early morning, like two or three a.m. I woke up because the craps were unbearable. When my husband turned the light on and I drew back the blankets our bed was saturated with blood. He went downstairs and talked to the manager on duty. They got us a cab and instructed the cab driver to take us to the hospital. Thankfully the doctor spoke English. He advised I was probably getting ready to have a miscarriage and there was probably nothing we could do. He said I should go back to the room, keep my legs elevated on pillows but stressed the miscarriage would probably happen. My husband was heartbroken and so was I. When we got back the manager had housekeeping come to our room while we were gone because those horrible sheets and blankets were gone, out of our sight, no longer a reminder of the awfulness that had just taken place.
The next day I told my husband I wanted to go back home, to the U.S. so I could see my own doctors. He went to his boss and the next day we were on a flight back home. It was not until much later that he told me he almost lost his job because he had insisted on coming home with me. I was grateful that he did.
When we got home I made an appointment to see my gynecologist. I was examined and it was determined no further action was needed, no DNC needed, as it appeared everything had come out on its own. This was a very sad time, but of course, the alcohol helped ease the pain, it always did. My best friend. Below is a picture of Puerto Rico.