So, it was going to be, a vacation in Europe. Did I want to come along? No, not really. They needed time to be together, doing things, together. They did not need me..
For the next three weeks, we were all busy plotting where to go, what to do, Dottie's bridge partners had lots of ideas, but Tom ruled most of them out. What thrilled the both of them was the possibility of a chalet in Switzerland, formerly occupied by Richard Burton. And that happened. They arranged for the lease agreements, sent their deposits, scheduled a flight and almost forgot, they had to get passports.
I could live there as long as I liked, but if I decided to move, I was to make arrangements with our friend, the boat owner. I drove them to Atlanta, saw them off on their flight and headed back, trying to figure out what I would be doing with my time. Oh yes, there was a substantial check waiting for me when I got back to Florida. The first thing I did was to "sign" on to one of the fishing boats in the harbor with the thought that ought to help occupy my mind.
It didn't last long. I was having my lunch when the door opened, to my surprise! In walked their daughter telling me that she had received a cable from her parents, informing her of their plans and to leave me alone. Ha! Then she added, she had caught her husband with another woman and she was leaving him, planning on moving in with her parents until she got a divorce. I had little to say to her and was glad I had a boat trip arranged for the late afternoon.
Actually, I needed to talk with her parents, so I cancelled the trip and went to a nearby motel to talk with her parents. They were upset, he was - in a word, livid. He talked of coming home immediately, but I calmed him down telling him I planned on going to New Orleans for a couple of weeks and would call them when I returned, hoping the daughter might be gone when I returned. I picked up my things the next morning and left, hoping that in my absence, she might have had second thoughts and returned to her husband.
I really enjoyed New Orleans, actually spent a lot of time getting there with stops in Mobile, the coast and a couple of casinos. Things sure had changed from the days I had spent in the area while attending a school for the Air Force. I also started looking for something "new" to be doing. I actually signed on to a oil rig off of the coast, but when I decided to actually go to work, they had a cancellation and were laying off some of their workers. I headed "home" and found a mess. She really knew how to get drunk and mess up the place. I was in no mood to deal with that, so I gathered up my things while she was passed out and left. I drove the Mercedes to our mutual friend's house and he agreed to put it in storage and to call our friends in Europe telling them I had left.
I went back to New Orleans, found a nice rental place near to downtown and after reading the papers for a few days, discovered a job working on a production line for household cleaning products. It was a smelly job, but it was easy and I used the time when we had break downs - and there were several, to clean up the place. The "boss" thought it was futile. No sooner would we have it looking better and the mess would start again. Cleaning up the place made the time pass that much faster and I actually enjoyed it, whether I had help or not. It wasn't long before my efforts were noticed and they offered me a raise to be an Assistant to the "boss". I declined; that wasn't going to work.
A few days later, I was heading downtown to a restaurant when a guy stepped out from between two buildings, holding a knife and telling me he needed to have my wallet. I looked around for the easiest way to avoid him and saw that there were cars passing along the street, in intervals, after stopping for a light and I decided to run as soon as a last car passed. It worked. I got to the other side and he was apparently, too drunk to run after me. I came to a pay phone and called the police, but no one seemed to respond so I kept on walking towards town. On my way home, I took a taxi.
That was a Friday night and I saw some police officers talking on the street outside of the restaurant while I was eating. I went out and told them of my experience and their advice to me was to take a taxi rather than walking on the downtown streets. I had a hard time finishing my dinner and yes, I took a taxi to get back where I was living. It made me think, why was I "living" in New Orleans? It was Saturday so I got on a bus on Sunday morning, headed for Tampa.