After moving to Charlotte, NC, Rhett and I started doing many things together. It was as if we had known one another for many years. During my first two weeks after moving to Charlotte, NC, I traveled to Long Island, NY, where Gary lived and had his regional office. I spent about 4 days with Gary training, reviewing all the different products I would be selling and learning what customers were presently using the products in the Southeastern Territory. During our time together, we began prioritizing the new target list of customers that were not using our products so I could set appointments for presentations and future opportunities and hit the ground running. On the last day, we spent the entire day going over all the Corporate America Rules and Regulations of the Quaker Oats Company, which had their main headquarters in downtown Chicago, IL. After we were finished, Gary invited me to his home to meet his family. His wife Deb, his son, Brett and daughter, Jodie made me feel extremely welcome to their home. After working with Gary the first week, it was time for my field training with my Northeastern Regional counter part, Andy. If anyone knew anything about Bagels, it was Andy. He was an absolute genius on the selling and the handling of both the Arnie’s and Petrofski’s line of Bagels. Andy grew up in the Bakery Industry and was a baker by trade just like me. We hit it off immediately. Andy and I made a few joint appointments so I could get acclimated to exactly how presentations were made on behalf of this huge Corporate American Company.
After arriving back home that following week, Rhett invited me to join her at church on Sunday, known as Calvary, the Big Pink Cathedral. The Church was absolutely gorgeous on the inside with a large Orchestra and 100 member Choir. The Church was non-denominational and followed a Presbyterian Doctrine. As time went on, Rhett and I became closer and closer. We started doing many things together. She never once mentioned anything about my weight, which was an absolute Blessing and a Curse at the same time. I no longer had to hide my Compulsive Overeating. She never said anything about the quantity of food I consumed or how much I would drink. It almost felt like a breath of fresh air. At the time, my weight remained steady at about 380 lbs. I was always a big man and loved to eat good food. Rhett was a good cook and had a talent for melon carvings. Rhett was involved in the Bakery / Deli Industry for about 20 years, having worked for both Large Manufacturers as well as local Brokers. She had 2 sons and 2 grandkids. It felt kind of strange to meet her oldest son the first time. His name was Kevin and we were only 9 years apart and scary thing is we almost looked like brothers. Several times when I was out with Rhett, they would call me Kevin and ask me how my business was doing. This didn’t sit well with Rhett, although I thought it was kind of funny. You could say I liked to find humor in just about anything.
Back home in Metairie, LA, things were not going too well. Jane was trying to find herself and Karen was becoming a home Angel and a street Devil. I talked to Karen every day, sometimes twice a day. Most of the conversations were her crying to me about my leaving her and Rhett breaking up our marriage. It was an absolute nightmare. I tried telling her that her Mom was not being mean and she needed to start listening and begin growing up. The only thing that was missing in Karen’s life was me being home at night. At the time, I was so consumed with my own needs, that I put her needs and wants on a back burner. Yes. I listened to her every day. We cried a lot together. I even went home several times for a weekend visit just to calm the storm. It became more and more difficult to come home because all she did was cry to me about leaving her mom for Rhett. Nothing I said mattered. After Karen turned 16 years old, she became very difficult for Jane to handle on a one-on-one basis. I was trying to do my job to the best of my ability and get my life together in Charlotte, all the while dealing with the situation back home. The only thing that ever put a band-aid on the situation was to send Karen money to buy something or go out with friends. As time went on, this became a pattern, one of which I absolutely regret to this day.
Will to Live – Gluttony, Anger, & Pride – Part 33