Monday, February 13, 2006

Abbreviated timeline of the life of Bob












This just scratches the surface,
Born on Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, Texas. My father was a fighter pilot and my mother the local beauty. Their marriage was rocky to put it mildly with a divorce, remarriage and another divorce.

My fathers mother purchased my brother and I from mom. My dad went to Korea where he became an ace in the war.

Grandma couldn’t handle us and was sick so dad had to take us. I called my grandmother Mama. She was Mom to us, the first person I remember, the first one who showed us love. This stranger shows up and I am told this is my dad and my new mom and he took me away from Mama.

Dad was strict and beatings (spankings?) were regular. I was angry and couldn’t get along. We moved to Dayton where I was kicked out of kindergarten. Then we moved to Spain. Then we moved to England. Then we moved to Florida. Then we moved to San Antonio, Texas. There were never any real friends. I was the kid everyone picked on. I was always the one nobody wanted on their team.

At fourteen I took my first swing back at dad while being beaten again. That night I ran away from home, breaking into the high school where I lived while still attending class.

I was sent to live with my other grandmother back in the town I was born. There nobody knew me and I wasn’t chased and beaten like I had been in every other school I had attended.

I found a group who accepted me and had friends for the first time in my life. Unfortunately they were the “wrong” crowd but I worked to fit in. I smoked pot for the first time, I got drunk for the first time. Not wanting to be a virgin anymore (I never had a girl friend till I met my first wife) I went to the building downtown everyone in Big Spring knew was the whore house and had a not to memorable experience.

I still had no social skills but kept up an image of the wild James Dean type. I did more and more things to impress everyone that I was cool. Drugs and drinking were a central part of that. Stealing a car because I was drunk and didn’t want to walk home I was arrested. The judge gave me a choice. Go to prison or join the military.

On my seventeenth birthday I was taken from the jail and put on a bus for basic training in the Air Force. There my rebellion continued and I was set back to another class until I finally completed basic training.

Upon graduation I was sent to be trained as a crew chief on B-52 aircraft. I continued my drug use and was exhibiting extreme rebellion against all authority. After a year of this and with the end of the Vietnam war I was given an honorable discharge and told to go away.

I returned to Big Spring, jumping back into the drug crowd. I sold drugs and committed petty crimes until I was caught selling ground up aspirin as cocaine. This resulted in a sentence of ten years probation.

I quickly violated this probation by getting caught with a joint and entered the Texas prison system at nineteen. This was a violent wake up call. I became involved with a program called Operation Kick It” where I was taken under armed guard to high schools and civic organizations such as the Rotary Club. There I would tell my story to show kids the consequences of poor decision making.

This gave life meaning so, wishing to continue doing positive things I enrolled in Bible college upon my release from prison. There I fell in love for the first time and married the love of my life.

Graduating and receiving my ordination we moved to Toledo, my wife’s home town. There things were tough as we both tried to learn how to be married and survive.

In 1981 I fell out of a tree, breaking my neck and back and sustaining a concussion. This resulted in a drastic personality change, which no one, including the doctors, could explain. This resulted in our divorce which tore our hearts out.

The wife of a friend made advances while the divorce was in process. Alone and heartbroken I foolishly became involved. She divorced her husband and moved in with her two children. I resigned my positions in the church and married her to make things right. This was a big mistake. I should have taken a clue from her infidelity with her first husband but had to learn the hard way.

The next seventeen years were a yo yo of me leaving and coming back with her finding male companionship every time. I did desperate things to feed the kids but finally started two companies which were successful.

My drinking and drug use escalated. One night I broke into a fireworks stand and passed out on the fireworks I had piled up in the parking lot. I was sent back to prison with a two to ten year sentence. I stopped drinking and using drugs at this point.

Upon my release from prison I rebuilt both companies from scratch and renewed my relationship with Barb, the second wife. This was again rocky but I tried for the kids I loved. As the business grew it took more and more of my time till I was working eighty plus hours a week. This didn’t help things at home. I caught Barb having sex in the parking lot of the mall she worked at so I moved out of the house into my warehouse.

There I began a slide into madness fueled by extreme depression, drugs and alcohol, and a year long bitter divorce. Set up by an employee I had caught stealing I was convicted of receiving stolen goods, a felony. By this time I was delusional, hallucinating, and suicidal.

I left town, running from my conviction and wanting to return to my home town in Texas. I didn’t make it. Falling asleep in Oklahoma while driving I was flung from the car as it rolled at eighty miles an hour. I was pronounced dead at the scene but revived by the medics.

I was in a coma for a month and woke up with a traumatic brain injury and amnesia. My brother showed up and took me to St Louis where I eventually found my way to a brain injury rehab center. Just when I started getting the badly needed medical help I was extradited back to Toledo because I had violated my probation by being in a coma and not reporting.

The courts recognized I was in bad shape so simply continued my probation put me out on the street. At this time I did not recognize the streets I had driven for 25 years. I wandered around homeless looking for anything familiar and researching who I was at the library. As I worked to recover my memory the local ABC television station heard about me and ran a story, calling me Toledo’s John Doe.

Friends I knew I had but couldn’t remember came forward to help. This got me off the streets and greatly reduced my stress. Stress is debilitating for those with brain injury and in my case rendered me nonfunctional. Now I was able to work on getting my life together.

One of those who saw the TV show was my first wife. She called in to help. Meeting for the first time in twenty years we realized we had never stopped loving each other and remarried June 20 2004. She helps me with my disability.

This is a quick timeline which barely covers the life I have lived. I wrote this to help give a dim understanding to the growing number of those interested. There are many blanks which will be filled in when or if I ever get my books written.

2 Comments:

Blogger just me said...

Just surviving a brain injury is a wonderful thing in itself. But having to shift for yourself, without any help at all, I don't know how you did it.

I really don't think people realize just how much an injury to the brain can affect a person's life. From seizures to personality, to everything. God bless you, and I hope things continue to go well for you.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Malkie said...

Your tale is incredible. Somehow you've been meant to survive whatever awful events have been thrown in your direction. You're a very unique man and a fighter.
I plan on reading more of your blog. You truly deserve whatever we might refer to as "justice," serious love from your wife and others whom you love, and a path that takes you back to God. I'll continue reading in a while. I'm amazed...

7:07 AM  

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