places to go, people to meet
1975 to 1976 were good years for the business and for me. Though I had skipped one summer of my month vacation I was making trips to Houston, New York, Atlanta, Tampa, Detroit, Houston and New Orleans. Those were the years I became a "A Chorus Line" junkie going to a city, say St. Louis, on a Thursday and seeing the show Thursday, Friday and Saturday night along with a Saturday and Sunday matinee.
In 1977 I got into my convertible, put the top down and with Damon's Guide and the AAA traveling book I took off for the southeast stopping where and when I wanted for as long as I wanted. I went to Mobile, Pensacola, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Baton Rouge, Houston, Dallas and back to Memphis. In 1978 it was Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and then through Texas and Arkansas.
Oh, I forgot which trip it was on but Johnny and I were in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and went to Lloyd's Coach House where if you ate a Shrimp cocktail, salad, baked potato and a 72 ounce steak in an hour they paid the check. I have the original check marked "PAID" and has the "Coach House, Inc" seal imprinted on it. I do remember that was after I was on a radio show talking about dieting!!!
Though money was still coming in I wasn't getting as much I was at Weight Watchers and I was still spending like I did when I was there. Also, another mistake I made was letting the Memphis girls invest in the business and partially because of that I felt if I gave one more pay I had to give them all more pay. I, well the company, was buying them lunches and dinners, got them all personal business cards and stationary. There was also the lawyer, accountant, advertising agency, expenses traveling back and forth to Chattanooga and many expenses that I just took for granted when WW paid for them.
One of the big highlights of those years was going to see "A Chorus Line" for the first time. I had just seen the Tony awards of TV and their number blew me away. To this day I remember sitting in the second row of the Shubert Theatre in New York unable to move when the house lights came up at the end of the show. I felt completely drained as if I had lead each of the lives up on that stage! Due to Dr. K and Buddy Victor, the latter played Zach on tour, I was able to go to the performance celebrating "ACL" becoming the longest running show on Broadway 9 years later. I thought nothing would ever be as exciting, moving, draining as the first time I saw it but that performance will never be equalled in any theatre by anyone,
April 7th, 1978 Bob (Dr. K) and I, along with Doug who I met through the Advocate ad, went up to St. Louis for a weekend of "ACL" and we stayed at the Holiday Inn near the Opera House and so did the cast of "ACL"! I was in heaven but, and this may be hard to believe if you know anything about me, though I had the chance to have sex with a couple of the cast members I wouldn't because I identified them to much with the character they played on stage. How could I go to bed with Paul when all I wanted to do was hold him?!?!?
October 18-22 Chuck, Glen, Tommy and I went to Dallas and guess what--yes, spent the weekend seeing "ACL". The funny thing that weekend was that we wrapped Tommy in a red bow, and nothing else, for Chuck to come back to the hotel room and see his 'present'.
Okay, this is suppose to be about Our Weigh and not "ACL" but as you can see I was spending money like water as I usually did but, even though I wasn't making what I did at WW, I was letting more out than I was taking in. The same thing was true about the business. And then there was my 10th Leap Year birthday party that I was having at the Hilton Hotel for 350 of my closest friends--of which I only remember about 10 today. Most of the people I cared for didn't come and the bottom line was that I probably wouldn't have remembered as I was drunk that whole night. Luckily I have a lot of pictures from that evening. No one, not Bernie, Clara, Bella, Bonnie and others I invited came, which didn't surprise me but hurt.
Now I have my diaries from 1976 on and there is one entry for February 3, 1976, that says,"Last few weeks been talked to by Barbara and Margie saying that Carole is talking about taking her money out of the company and if she goes she won't go quietly." Carole did ask for her investment back and I paid her on the 5th but she stayed, at least for awhile. When I sat down with Fred, our accountant, he said our monthly statements showed a big loss for November and December, which was expected because people aren't concerned with diets between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. We had shown a small profit for January, again expected as the New Year's resolutions are made!
Along with all I was doing for Our Weigh I wasn't neglecting my social life as I have a lot of entries like; April 30, 1976, Johnny and I went to see Neil Diamond at the Colisuem, had dinner with Gene Crain and and Jack Heilzman May 9, went to see "The Bad Seed" at Theatre Memphis, made a trip to Buloxi for a weekend, not to forget going to endless movies, plays and other concerts but along with the good comes the bad.
We had sold a franchise to James Parker in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1974 and now he wanted out so along with Carole wanting her investment we were caught 'short' but still moving along.
I started going back to Joe Cassius because my drinking was becoming a problem to the extent I was doing things that I had never done before like not going into the office, missing classes and I needed to stop that. Also Johnny was having bad back and neck problems and was going to the hospital. Life was crashing and I wanted to stop it from happening.
In August of 1976 I got a call from a Weight Watcher franchisee telling me that Bernie was trying to sell his franchise to Joe Folender, which took me by surprise as I knew we were hurting WW but I didn't think that much nor would Bernie let me 'win' by giving up. He didn't.
Finally got the settlement from Weight Watchers and that was the last 'contact' I had with Bernie for many years.
On January 1, 1977, we had snow, sleet, rain and ice--not a good beginning for the year which was just a sign for the next 2 years.
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