I met John in my senior year in high school. He was a year older, but had dropped out for a year. We ended up in an English class the last semester of school. He sat behind me, but I really didn’t pay that much attention to him. One Saturday night while I was out “clubbing” with my best friend, Gerda, we crossed paths. For those who might be wondering, back in the late 70’s and early 80’s you only had to be 18 to drink. After that he took more of an interest in me. We went out a couple of times. We went to see the Juke Jumpers at a place called Tootsie’s on White Settlement. We also went to a club on Horne, but the name of the place escapes me. We went out maybe a total of four times. He played the guitar and found it interesting that I had a guitar and had taken lessons. But after graduation we both went our separate ways. No harm, no foul.
In the Fall of 1980 I enrolled at TCJC (now TCC) at the Northwest campus. The first week of the Spring (1981) semester, who do I run into? John Hudgins. Sometimes I wonder what path my life would have taken if I had just enrolled at a different campus. The relationship accelerated quickly from there.
When my sister graduated from high school in the Spring of 1981, my parents moved to their place in the country. My sister, my best friend, and I were living in the house in Riverside. The three of us lived together there for several months. Eventually my sister got married and Gerda moved into the dorms at Texas Wesleyan. During this time period, John practically lived at the house and actually did live there after they moved.
My facts and timelines get a little muddled during this period. We were married on January 21, 1982. Basically because he got tired of hiding in the closet on the mornings my mother “dropped” by to say hello and put on her makeup. We had a skiing trip already planned to Red River, New Mexico with some of his friends. So we said “Why not!!” We got married at the courthouse in Fort Worth. Gerda Cole was my maid of honor and Andrew Jackson was his best man. No family. That afternoon my dad was in the yard and asked me “I thought you were getting married today?” I answered “I did.” I don’t think John’s parents knew until we mailed out wedding shower invitations when we got back from New Mexico and my family wanted to throw us a party.
His mother was very please with me, I think. One of her very dear friends was also an acquaintance of mine and she had very nice things to say about me to John’s mother. Looking back, I think she thought I might be his savior. She told me once that she could almost pinpoint the day that John “changed”. He went from being a thoughtful son and good student to running with the “wrong crowd.” But I think John’s problems started at a much earlier age.
Sometime during this honeymoon period, I found his “kit” that he stashed in the bathroom. His kit was a case that an electric razor had come in. In it were syringes and a little brown bottle. Now I knew he smoked pot and maybe did some pills, but syringes were way beyond any experience that I had ever encountered. Looking back what I should have done was take the kit and asked him about it. I should have made a decision right there at that point. But I didn’t. I put the kit back where I found it and didn’t say a word. Later a psychiatrist would tell me that I was an enabler, somehow suggesting that John’s addiction was in part my fault. Living now with a diabetic, I find that maybe I am an enabler.