So many years ago, a good-looking, talented young man came to my Events studio with a vase of flower—the most awesome arrangement I’ve ever seen. We were friends and co-workers for the next ten years … give or take a week! He got into a tight costly situation and I did not question him; I helped him out, paid the bill, and he and I did great, work together. He was always there for me. His designs were always a selling point.
Years later, a request and lots of begging—to help set up a restaurant by my beloved brother in Tampa—convinced me to move and give Florida a try. Why not? I went there for vacations reguraly, and the sounds of the wave-runners every morning beat out the sound of the bus stopping by my window every morning for sure! OK, I packed up; helped a huge yard/estate sale. Said “Ta ta” to all my friends and acquaintances and drove south. Life was so good and busy and the new business, a Philadelphia steak sandwich shop, was better than we imagined—busy all day and weekends too. I was convinced that my investment to my brother was going to pay off in record time. So, I bought a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch style home, with a full suite on either end. My brother would live on one end and I on the other. Ten months later, he was dead. A staph infection from the hospital he went to for the flu or pneumonia (neither was confirmed) took him down in three days flat.
I had no way nor any real friends to help me scratch my way out of the dark deep hole I now found myself in. Soon after, I had to sell my house because I never got around to getting any legal papers signed with my brother. I lost everything including his house, and my $20,000 loan to him. I just did not have the legal retainer money I needed to fight Florida city hall … nor did I have the mental or physical strength or the support of anyone. I found a little Maltese dog; she kept me alive and we moved to an apartment. I finally got a job for a few years, when I slipped and fell in a retail store. Apparently, a ceramic object d’art had fallen and broken into bits on their floor and no employee bothered to pick them up, and I went splatttt. My employer was there and other patrons who helped pick me up, but not any of the employees! I had to ask to get a manager to file an accident report. She did not even offer me a chair, and after answering all the questions on her clipboard, she asked me if I spoke English? I was done. My knees started to throb and I bit my lip and at the time I just wanted to sit down, lie down, get the heck out of there, and go home for a glass of something.
I called my personal primary doctor the next day and got an appointment immediately. Both my knees were swollen, my neck was tight and throbbing, my wrists were shaking and painful, and my back, oh my back!
I called the Insurance Company to ask them to just pay for my Doctor bills and they refused. Ok, so I got a Lawyer. Physical therapy followed for months after, but I lost my job because I could not sit or stand for any length of time and I for sure could not drive to Miami and Ft. Meyers, and Ft. Lauderdale and Jupiter etc., as I had been doing as a Pet Store Representative. How the hell was I going to pay the rent? Get food, feed the dog, hell, walk the dog? I was alone, and but for the kindness of strangers, God only knows.
The following year I had to have the surgery on my left knee. The cartilage was messed up even after physical therapy, and my knee was the size of a cantaloupe and so was the right knee, just not as painful. I lost my balance a few times and fell; that put my right knee in even worse condition. The diva that I used to be needed a cane. I hate to admit this, but I fell again the day I got home after the surgery. I was alone. Anesthesia, crutches, carpet on the floor … down I went. My dog and I did not eat for twenty-four hours. Thank God, the dog’s groomer came by and God bless her and her husband, they went shopping for food and put a jug of water in my bedroom, took my dog for a few days, and checked in with me. The condo I rented was owned by a “snowbird” who lived in upstate N.Y. and was going through neck surgery at that same time and told me not to worry about anything for the next five months! THERE IS A GOD. Through all of this, I managed to go back to physical therapy, chiropractic therapy and a neighbor upstairs became a friend.
My young friend from years ago and I had always been in touch and he knew I was having a tough time. He too was having emotional issues having to bury his loving mother. He had moved back to Tennessee and bought an “adorable stylish home,” he said. He is and will always be my Angel. He was scheduled to have double hip resurfacing exactly two months after my surgery and he lived alone too. He proposed that I move in with him, and we could resume our creative efforts to produce wedding events and home staging together. He had a very good job with benefits, so he could afford the cost of the home and I could take care of what I needed, which was to find a Doctor to operate on the right knee, and get some government assistance. After conferring with my Attorney, and a deal was struck to get some advance capital, I moved to beautiful Tennessee, and we are not alone any longer, we have each other and the dog princess!
Now, I only see blue skies.