What do car wrecks have to do with jealousy?
Actually, the 1995 car wreck was our LAST wreck...not the first.
As we entered the "courting period", we needed transportation. You simply could not date in Cairo. Well...maybe, you could, but interracial dating in Cairo at the beginning of the 1970s was not exactly popular or advisable. Remember...the civil rights movement had come to town in the late 1960s, complete with marches, boycotts, burnings, and shootings. It was an all out war. So here comes two "love is blind" kids...each from well-respected families, albeit on opposite sides of the tracks...who fall madly for each other. Let's just say that discretion was the better part of valor. Julie had not yet officially entered her "fighter" days...she was definitely a "lover"!
No...don't get your hopes up...there is no dirt to dish in this relationship...no skeletons to unveil. As I told someone during this past two weeks (not that I can remember who), Julie and I did NOT consummate our relationship until the day AFTER our wedding. (We got home from the wedding reception, ate a couple of pickle loaf sandwiches and went to bed...TO SLEEP! We had spent the previous week...working in the daytime at school and working all night trying to get the house ready.) Call us old fashioned, but it worked for us. (Incidentally, our first date together was the first for both of us and our first kiss...yeah, that too. But...let me tell you...it was worth the wait...and it wasn't the last!!!)
Okay, if you are still with me...
Since I was gainfully employed, making $5,600 dollars a year, I sprung for a new car...that cost $4,800...a Chevy Malibu. We hit the road EVERY night, either to Carbondale (a liberal place to be in the early 70s) or Cape Girardeau (a conservative place to be...even NOW!)...or just driving. Managed to put over 20,000 miles on that car in six months...and it wasn't available for all of that time. Remember...this story is about car wrecks!
On a beautiful cold, rainy night, Julie and I climbed into my 3-month old Chevy Malibu and headed up to Carbondale. Our favorite place was the Pizza Inn where they had a 3-piece band that played mostly barbershop quartet type stuff...yeah, I know a quartet is four people and they were only three. But, we liked it. Our personal favorite was their rendition of "Rubber Ducky, Joy of Joy". (Oops...I'm getting into another story here that I revealed last week that I can't really share since I AM a school teacher...a role model for today's youth. No...has nothing to do with a rubber ducky, but it has to do with what transpired later.)
Anyway...we were heading up to Carbondale...and made it as far as the first interstate overpass. Just so happens that the cold and rainy night laid a nice layer of ice on the overpass. (Next time you read those signs about bridges getting icy before the regular roadway...believe it!) Well, we and another car right in front of us lost total control. When it was all over, my car had its rear end up on the guardrail, hanging over Highway 51. Fortunately, everyone was okay...but the cars were a mess. Shortly thereafter, the state troopers arrived, telling us that they had skidded a few minutes before and had called the highway crews...too late for us.
Took over a month for the shop to put my car back into running order, but, somehow, we still got around.
Uh, Ron...where does the jealousy come in...was the body man a woman...with a body? No...be patient!
Well...after the car got fixed and we put a few thousand more miles on it, Julie got sick...something simple...something that happens to normal folks...nothing of her later-year variety. Well, when you are out on the road every night, it's hard to just stay at home. Julie and I had a chaperon back then...a fellow teacher at the high school whose husband was in the military, stationed in Ethiopia. She provided us with an "alibi"...we weren't really dating, you know...it was just some of us high school folks hanging out. We provided her with company...a shoulder to cry on when she got really, really lonely. (Wasn't it a simpler time?)
Anyway, lo and behold, we are sitting in her apartment, commiserating about our missing loved ones, when a tremendously loud crash startles us. As I look out the window, I see that one of our students has managed to run into my parked car...totalling it...only a couple of months after having it fixed.
Well...I had to explain to Julie why I wouldn't be picking her up in Sam...yes, we had named the car. Julie was not happy! I don't think she gave a damn about the car! THE QUESTION was..."What were you doing at Claudia's apartment...without me?" The fact that the Cairo paper was a DAILY paper back then didn't help matters. After I had calmed her down...somewhat...the paper arrives to announce that my automobile had been totaled out at Claudia's address. Let's just say that Miss Julie Jones was a mite "cool" (or is it "hot") for a while.
Well, that's it for the cars...almost. We did have one more wreck...again when we ventured out on a not-so-nice night. On our way to Cape, it started snowing...and some fool decided that he wanted to tailgate. I slowed down so that he could pass, but, of course, he decided to just tailgate closer. Finally, I got fed up and decided to increase my speed...faster than I really should have under the conditions. It worked...until we got to the Cape bridge...the OLD Cape bridge. The bridge was icy - BELIEVE THOSE SIGNS! - and I had to slow to a crawl because of other traffic...sliding, but managing to stop a few feet behind the car in front of me. I glanced up into the rear-view mirror to see...yep, the tailgating fool coming on strong. He tried to stop, but ran into us...forcing us into the car in front of us. When all was said and done...there were five cars involved. We finally learned our lesson and tried not to venture out on cold, rainy evenings.
But...back to jealousy!
Been known to do some union negotiating on occasion. CAT and the District were on the verge of a strike one year, and the CAT negotiating team decided that they needed to meet...at another teacher's house. During the course of the meeting, it was decided that we needed to make a telephone call...don't even remember whether it was to the District or our IEA support staff. That's irrelevant to this story. For some reason, about five or six of us went into the male teacher's bedroom. Since there aren't a lot of chairs in a bedroom, I sat down on the bed...innocently...without paying any attention to where others were sitting. As it turned out, a female teacher also sat on the bed...don't remember if it was on the same side or the other side. And...we WERE sitting...NOT lying down...with three or four other people in the room. There was NOTHING going on!
Then, everything gets REAL quiet. I look up and see that Julie has entered the bedroom. She had not been in the house previously...had arrived after we went to make the telephone call. She didn't say a word, but if looks could kill! Julie was VERY quiet the rest of the evening...scary quiet...quiet like you know all hell is going to break loose when you get alone. When we got home...the fury was unleashed. "What the hell were you doing on that bed with THAT woman?" No amount of explanations, pleadings, apologies, denials, or joking would calm her down. Don't know if I slept in the bed or on the couch that night...didn't make any difference. No matter how many covers I used, it was one COLD night! And, everything wasn't all better the next day either...or the next day. I got the stone cold silent treatment of my life. I don't think she EVER really forgave me. She finally shifted rationale...that she trusted me...but said I should have been concerned with how it looked to other people. Trust me...I got the message loud and clear. I haven't been in bed with another woman since!