Monday, December 06, 2010

Re-do... A Guy Named Joe

This is a re publish of an old post. I'm putting it on again because I'm going to SPOTLIGHT our big trip in 1976. I'm trying to find some pictures from the trip to add to this, but in the meantime I wanted you to put a face (and unibrow) to the name.

So go back some 35 years and meet a guy named Joe.

I loved this picture... it was early in the relationship, as you can tell from his NJ shirt and tie... (grin). We were at my parents (who didn't ever like him) after work... tired... close.

Ok, so my Joe wasn't quite the Spencer Tracy character... or the Van Johnson character... or even the Irene Dunne character, but it wasn't from lack of trying.

I met Joe in 1972 when he installed the battery in my Volkswagen. The VW in those days made one of the stupidest decisions ever made in an automobile (and there have been some doozies) by putting the battery UNDER the rear seat. It made it impossible to check it without major contortions, so it was never checked. I'd put even money on some under the table dealings between DieHard and VW. That battery did die hard, and when it had to be replaced, there was my guy named Joe.

Joe was from Jersey. I'd just read The Godfather, and I knew ALL about New Jersey Italians, and was more than a little intrigued. This carried me for a while before I realized that it was all we had in common. My liking Sonny Corleone, and Joe thinking he WAS Sonny Corleone... Not exactly a basis for longevity, but we managed to live together for more than 4 years.

I'm not going into great detail about Joe. I do consider him one of my great failures, as I couldn't make things 'right' for him. He had no self belief, in spite of the fact that he could do just about anything. He could fix anything, he could figure out just about anything, yet somehow these talents were not considered valuable. I never understood that.

We never married. It had as much to do with my not caring for the institution as it did with the fact that he had never divorced his first wife.. and maybe a bit of his being manicdepressiveparanoidschizophrenicmaybebipolar and all his other charms. There were other wives after me. Joe couldn't be alone, couldn't live alone, couldn't be happy alone. This is, in my humble opinion, a crippling lack. Each of his other women would eventually call me to ask how to deal with Joe. I would get a " Joe said you were the only one who knew how to handle him" call. It was true. I did try to help, but noticed through the years that the phone calls were more frustrated... and often drunk. Alcohol and Joe were not friends. He was smoking again, in spite of the asbestos damage to his lungs. and he was ever the manic-depressive, schizophrenic, paranoid sweetheart.

eventually the calls stopped...

but you will spend some time with us around the country, as we spent almost 4 months in a VW camper...

and if you ever wonder how to REALLY find out if you're going to be together forever?? Rent a VW...hit the road...


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