After a couple of summers with Jerry, which I have somewhat summarized, I was a complete mess. Our daughter was born with a serious health issue, would need life saving surgery at eight years old, and what I thought was indigestion was a heart attack, complete with emergency, quadruple bypass surgery. I mention this because these events preceded Jerry's path. Please understand this next sentence or two. While I was recuperating from open heart surgery, Jerry kept us afloat. It was killing me, being in the hospital knowing what Jerry was probably doing, or not doing, having seen his contributions. But, bless his heart, he stood tall and did the best he could. Was it as good as the way I deal with things while giving myself a heart attack from stress? No, but, given Jerry's condition, and, umm, his wife who had had enough at the time, he manned up.
You see, when we started this little venture, Jerry and I would occasionally drive around together checking pools, trying unsuccessfully mostly to make repairs, and...always stopping for a few beers. We coached together, golfed together, socialized together, his kids taught mine to swim, but from where we started, I watched firsthand, how alcohol is a vicious, relentless disease.
In the span of a couple of years, Jerry went from admired, loved father, teacher, head basketball coach, interim assistant principal, pool business owner to living, isolated and alone in an apartment.
The first time I actually realized Jerry had a serious problem was the first day of school one year. Jerry had fallen from respected teacher, interim assistant principal to the teacher who has parents and students whispering about vodka on his breath. Somewhat embarrassingly, Jerry completely screwed up his interim administrator job. I say embarrassingly, because, geez, I keep saying this, no one was more surprised than I when they came to me and offered me the job. Not, an interim, I was full time administrator. And Jerry went back to his classroom.
So..I'm a new administrator, I didn't mention, at the same school we were teaching and coaching together. It's the first day back for teachers. Always a fun day. We had a new principal. She injected a much needed enthusiasm into the school with first day team building activities, games, catered lunch, etc. I vividly remember being in the main office hearing all the returning teachers and staff out in the commons area when a teacher runs in and yells, "Call 911, Jerry ***** is convulsing in the commons!"
I followed the ambulance to the emergency room. The principal knew we were close and I was his friend. I sat out in the emergency room, adrenaline blasting through me, hoping he's not gonna die and leave a wife and two kids. I kept waiting for his wife to show up. Eventually, they had him under control and he was unconscious but looked okay. While I'm standing over him, his wife walks into the curtain cubicle. I'm expecting a grieving, sobbing wife. Instead, she walked in with a cold look I had never seen, and haven't seen since. She looks at me, gives me a dirty look, asks the doctor if he will be okay and when he says, "Yes, with rest." she did an about face and walked right back out the door.
Huh??? What just happened here??