My son Edwin and I were behind the boat on the big lake in a tube with Loretta at the wheel. We hit a wave and were launched off the tube. Edwin was about 16 months old. He had a life jacket but when I surfaced I could not see him! It seemed like several minuets but it was probably 45 seconds. On my swim over to him I was thinking………………..He is going to HATE the water, be afraid to get on the boat, and never want to ride again. I also pictured him in therapy complaining about his dad to the therapist and blaming me for screwing up his life. I was really into this! When I got to him I asked him if he was okay. He looked me dead in the eye and said ”daddy hold on tighter”. We got back on the tube and had a great day!
When I was still using I had the following “moment of clarity”. I was drunk, stoned, and had been using cocaine. For me this has NEVER been a good combination! I had a friend visiting from Boston. I wanted to show her a good time. We had been to a party and came home blitzed. I felt to high to go into the house (I was still living at home). We were siting on a hill in the backyard. All of a sudden without warning I started to cry. Not crocodile tears, I was balling! She looked at me and said ”what is wrong with you”? I said ”My life is crazy. If I keep on doing what I am doing, I’m not going to make it”. The bad news is in the morning I went about my business. I used for another two years. The interesting part is I DID get it. I just did not make the necessary changes.
When I first found the future home of Elk Mountain Academy I was camping on the property and slept in the back of my truck. I LOVED the property and had spent all day exploring. I had a dream. In the dream my dad (he passed away in 1985 this was 1990) and I discussed the property. I wanted to know his opinion. He said “if you don’t do it you are crazy”. I do not remember any such dreams in the last 20+ years. I believe He was communicating with me through my “dream”.
Edwin was 3 years old and was still riding on the tank of my dirt bike. He started riding with me when he was 9 1/2 months old, and got his first dirt bike of his own at age 4. We were riding around the pasture at Elk Mountain. We were on the track in the front yard. When we hit the jump I would gas it to do a wheelie. Edwin LOVED the feeling and would laugh and scream with excitement every time we hit it. On what was to be the last lap of the day I over gassed it. The wheelie was bigger than normal. When the wheel came down his hands could not support his weight. His arms collapsed and his nose hit the handle bar. He had blood coming out of his nose. His nose bled and bled. I kew he was okay but was VERY worried about how Loretta was going to deal with it. I did NOT want her to find out. I took Edwin in the bathroom. I took his clothes off and put him in the tub. We got all the blood off and he cleaned up well. When Loretta got home I assumed I was in the clear. Then she asked what happened that day. I told her Edwin and I had gone for a motorcycle ride. She said “WHAT HAPPENED!”. I could tell I was busted so I told the truth. I then asked how she knew. She said she saw Edwin’s bloody shirt in the hamper………………BUSTED.
Three winters ago I was on the roof of the school shoveling snow. I was worried about the weight as the depth passed three feet. A student was on the second floor deck shoveling snow. He saw me climb the ladder and get on the roof. Loretta asked me to pay someone to do it as she did not want me to fall. I insisted. I was up there for about an hour when the slide happened. On the way down I reminded myself to land feet first. I feel of the second story roof. I did hand feet first. But momentum won and I hit my chin on the ground. No one heard the snow slide or saw me hit the ground. When I realized I could still move my fingers and toes I got up sand slowly walked upstairs. When I climber the ladder to get back on the roof the student that was still shoveling knew I had fallen. He made a big deal about it. I planned on trying to keep the fall a secret. It didn’t work. Loretta saw my chin and quickly put the rest together.
I was driving to Richmond from Orinda on my way to my dads house when I saw him walking down the road. I stopped to see why he was walking. He calmly explained that his car had been stolen. It was about noon and I thought he had left his keys in the car. I started to get very heated as he showed me his keys. They had stolen his car in broad daylight! He was not a bit upset. His car only had PL and PD so he was NOT covered for theft. I loved his “vintage” Caddy. I actually tried to get him upset, at least as much as I was. He said “either I’ll get it back or I won’t”. I could not believe it. He did get it back. The police found it a few days later. He taught me a lot “either I’ll get it back or I won’t”. Why get mad?
My mom once said to me “I don’t understand why you drink until you fall over”. My response was “I don’t understand why you have one and quit”. At some level alcoholics and non alcoholics are never going to see things the same way!
I was able to make amends to an old girlfriend of mine. We dated from age 14 to 19 (I was a weird kid). Though I tried to make amends earlier I had to wait until I was about 20 years sober before she would not speak to me. Given How I behaved when drinking this makes perfect sense. When we first spoke I told her excitedly I was still sober. She told me she NEVER doubted I was still clean. She saw me drunk for years yet she was not surprised at all.
She also emailed me a message where I referred to myself as a “shit head” she said “you were not a shit head. You made some mistakes, took enormous risks, and were fearless, but you were a good guy most of the time. I think she was a saint and helped me stay alive long enough to get well.