In August of 1973, I began my Sophomore year at Jesuit High School. I was assigned to Room 2A, which was my homeroomand Band Class. I played trumpet, but during the summer of 1973, I was really torn between football and music. I was a pretty good trumpet player. My first music teacher in 3rd grade was “Papa Jac” , a famous jazz trombonist from New Orleans, whom was part of the Dukes of Dixieland. Finally, as much as I loved Music and spent the summer practicing with the marching band, I decided to play on the Jesuit High School Football Team.
Spend a few minutes and google about the World Famous Assunto Brothers. This is a great read. A part of New Orleans Jazz History at it’s Best!! www.thedukesofdixieland.com
Our Football Coach was a pretty persuasive guy. The line coach was an ex-football player himself. So I switched from practicing with the band to joining the football team. I was well liked by members of the team; not that I was all that great a football player, but I was big and could fill a hole on defense or on offense, block an opposing player and make way for a running back. I was not too strong at this time, but had pretty good mobility for a big guy, that was only 14. As the season progressed, I was a second string player, not seeing much playing time. It would frustrate me. In my mind I felt I was good enough to start, but I have to admit, the Seniors were actually much better. I would leave home with nothing but food on my mind. I was eating all the time. I never missed a meal, a snack, nothing. I was so frustrated not being able to play, that food became my comfort zone yet again. In the back of my mind, I kept hearing, and I quote, “TO BE BIG WAS TO BE STRONG”. Wow, this is the reason I’m not starting. I was not big enough for my position. Well that started to change and hence, the real sickness began. I was out of control. My friends were like, dude, we just ate. I didn’t care. I was on a mission, which I was slowly starting to conquer in a weird way. In the first few months of my sophomore year, I had gained another 40 lbs. By now, I was topping the scales at almost 265 lbs. I was a big guy. No one ever called me FAT PAT again. I got the new nickname “BEAR”, which was given to me by one of the football coaches. I guess the hair hormones kicked in and besides being big, I was as Hairy as a Bear – I know TMI!! – LOL. Halfway thru the season, I decided to quit football and go back to the band. I truly loved music and like I said before, I was a pretty good trumpet player. I also played Piano. My mom and I were both musically talented. She played some Piano and the Oboe at Behrman High School and I played Trumpet and Piano.
On my 15th Birthday, my mom and her roommate got me my first car. It was a 1965 Ford Galaxy 500. It was a beast. The car actually belonged to my mom’s roommate’s dad. He was getting older and eventually passed. I had my wheels. This was a good thing for me, but not so good for my weight. I could drive to school. I made friends real quick that lived in my neighborhood. So I got this brilliant idea. I would pick up several guys that lived in Metairie and charged a few bucks each day for gas and they could hitch a ride with me to school instead of catching the School Bus. Eventually, my sickness really got out of hand. In the back of my mind, the Drive Up Window, was a beautiful idea. I could pull up to a McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s ,etc. and never get out of my car. OMG, I was becoming a closet drive thru car eater. I would go to the same drive thru all the time. I knew I was out of control, when the clerk at the window would say, See you tomorrow!! I guess I was so depressed about a number of things, I ate and ate. Food was my friend and it always gave me instant satisfaction.
Will To Live – Gluttony – Part 7 – to be continued!!