There is so much that I did not write about when I decided to share this story. I had wanted to write about my experience with John for years. I knew that it would run long and that’s why I decided to do a series on “The Frank Diary of Anna”. More than one person asked for me to put this in Kindle format, so I did and here it is.
There are lots of memories, experiences, and people that I omitted from this account. I truly believe that there is enough to this John story to fill a book. But it would take a lot of time to do. It would mean contacting people from his past to get their memories and thoughts, research that I’m not too sure that I am willing to invest the time in. It’s still a very emotional story for me to tell. There are still parts that I hold close to me and don’t feel the need to share.
I was amazed at the number of people who I did not know that contacted me with in the first few days of this blog going live on my page. If only he realized how many people’s lives he touched. How many people still love him and think of him maybe that would mean something to him. But sadly a life of drugs doesn’t usually lead to sunshine and rainbows. He wasn’t cast out on his own with no hope of redemption. Lots of people have tried to help him. I am more than confident that in the years that we have been apart he has had ample opportunity for change. But he has allowed himself to be swallowed up by his drug use.
His story isn’t an unusual story. That’s why I think people could relate to a book about his life. But it’s much too sad of a story for me to spend any more time on. But I welcome you to share your memories of John with me. Who knows maybe one day I’ll find the courage to really look at what happened to him. Maybe your memories will help me to do that.
I was at the house in Riverside not long after divorce was final. He showed up on the front steps and said he had left his car somewhere over in the Diamond Hill area and asked me to take him there to get his car. On the drive there I found out that he owed someone some money and they wouldn’t give him his keys back. So I gave him a $20 bill. He also had a girl with him. She was as strung out looking as he was. What got to me was he called her doll face. That was what he always called me. But that was just another sign that I was on the right track.
At times in my memory I’ve made him a sad misunderstood character in my mind. He did have problems and probably would have benefited from counseling at an earlier age. But wouldn’t we all. We all make choices and sometimes we make very bad choices. But in the end, no matter what our upbringing or what torments we have been through, whether they are caused by ourselves or someone else, we are responsible for our actions and our own choices.
I chose to leave. Looking back nearly 30 years later, I know that I made the right choice. You can’t change the basic core of who someone is. John was basically a selfish soul. He wallowed in self-pity and shallowness. He said he loved me, he may even have believed he loved me. He stole from many who knew him, many who loved him. He stole lots of things from me, my graduation ring, my guitar, jewelry, things that I have forgotten. He wasn’t concerned with my happiness or my well-being.
I remember putting a jack together and jacking up the car because we had a flat. He told me if I jacked up the car he would change the tire. I remember putting a master cylinder on a Ford while he lay on the couch and watched tv. I remember getting a ticket while driving that car about six blocks to get the brake lines bled, because he refused to get up off the couch and help me. I remember him laying on the couch when I arrived home from work. He hadn’t gone to work. Without getting up he asked me to fix him a glass of tea and what’s for supper. All this before I had even completely entered the apartment.
There have been times in the years since our divorce that I sort of looked back on our marriage through rose colored glasses. Why? I have not a clue.
When my father passed away in 1997, I received a letter at my mother’s house from John. The return address was the prison at Tennessee Colony, Texas. It was about three or four pages long. I don’t remember the entire letter. But I do remember him saying “we just weren’t meant to be.” That really pissed me off. I responded with my own letter. I let him know in no uncertain terms that his drug use was the cause of all of our problems and that considering where I was mailing my reply, it was still a problem. That was my last contact with John Hudgins.
I have lived the last 20 years with someone who values me. He’s my protector and my best friend. My only wish is that I would have met him sooner. But there are still days when I think about what could have been.
Tomorrow the final chapter and then I think I’m done. If you just found this series, you can click here to start, when you finish that introductory blog if you’ll scroll back up there is a link to click for the next day’s installment.
I appreciate your comments about my blog and your own comments about this time period.
My mother helped us buy a used car. It wasn’t much, but it got us from point A to point B. Later we bought another car from a friend of hers. We were now a two car couple and we both had jobs. We decided to move to another apartment. This one was off Handly. After a few months things begin to go downhill. John lost his job. Things started missing around the house. I came home from work one night and put my wedding ring in a glass dish on the dresser. When I got up the next morning it was gone. I asked John if he had seen it. He said no. I went on to work, upset. When I got home that night I looked in his wallet and sure enough there was a pawn ticket for my wedding ring. This, as they say, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I mulled it over for a couple of days. Finally I told him I was done. He was going to have to leave. He cried, I cried. But in the end I stood my ground and he knew that I was not taking any more. I told him that the next day we would put a new battery in the Gran Torinio and he would have to go. I went to bed. Later he would lay down next to me and try to hug me and I resisted. He was ice cold. He sat up in the living room and played his guitar. I remember him playing “You were always on my mind” and “Danny’s Song”. It was way too late for any of that.
The next day I bought a battery, a case of beer, and gave him $20 and sent him on his way. He ended up at my Uncle Fred’s. Once he was done there, he stole their television and left. He continued to call me, show up at my door, and even showed up at my work. I eventually moved into an apartment with a security guard at the gate.
He refused to sign divorce papers. The guys he worked with told him that if he didn’t sign the divorce papers that we couldn’t get divorce. He was still trying to hang on. My lawyer served him with divorce papers at his workplace. After the waiting period, we went to court. He didn’t show up, his friends at work told him if he didn’t show up we couldn’t get divorced. Not that it mattered whether he was there or not. Ninety days later I walked out of the courthouse free and finally on my own.
There are 2 more days of this story left. If you just found this series, you can click here to start, when you finish that introductory blog if you’ll scroll back up there is a link to click for the next day’s installment.
I appreciate your comments and your own comments of this time period.
So we packed our bags and moved. We moved into some apartments off of Camp Bowie. It was a sad little apartment. It really looked like the projects. It was during this period that I would leave John for the first time. He was getting in over his head again with drugs. He wasn’t working. He was stealing again. This time he was stealing from me. He took a couple of checks from the back of my checkbook and actually wrote a check to the drug dealer. I didn’t know drug dealers took checks. Our rent check bounced, we got an eviction notice, my car was repossessed, and John was missing. I had had enough. I called my parents and said I’m ready to just leave.
My dad happily arrived to move me. Since I didn’t have a car, I needed to be close enough to work to walk. So I moved into a duplex off of Carroll Street, between Seventh Street and White Settlement Road. I remember my dad picking up the broom at my apartment and asking me if I wanted to take the broom. I said “I read somewhere that moving the broom would bring bad luck.” He threw that broom as hard as he could and said “We’ve had enough bad luck.”
Somehow John found out where I was living. One morning as I was getting ready for work he knocked on the door. He came in. Begging for forgiveness and making all kinds of promises, he wouldn’t leave. I left and walked to work, leaving John at the house. When I got to work I called my dad and told him that John was at my house. My dad drove right over there to physically remove him. John did leave. He had two black eyes and my dad broke his hand.
During this period I discovered that not only did John’s check writing cause our rent check to bounce, but a lot of other checks bounced. Apparently since he wasn’t working he was home when the mail arrived. When a certified letter came about a bounce check, he would sign for it and throw it away. I don’t remember how much I had in bounced checks, but it caught up to me. A sheriff’s deputy showed up at my parents’ house in Riverside with a warrant for my arrest. My father hired a lawyer and I had to go with the lawyer to the jail and turn myself in. Since I went with my lawyer, I didn’t have to be place in a cell. But I was booked. I was finger printed, a mug shot taken, and then I was asked about John Hudgins whereabouts. They knew exactly who he was and they were looking for him. I got out of that fix by the skin of my teeth. I paid off the bounced checks before the case went to court. Because I had never been in trouble before and had paid off all the bad checks and I had a job, the case was dismissed. So I don’t have a record. But there are mugs shots somewhere.
John was jailed again. This time when they released him, they released him into a half-way house on South Riverside Drive. He was there for quite a while. He was required to go to Drugs Anonymous meetings. He was meeting with a court ordered psychiatrist as well. He got a new job. It seemed as if he was really making an effort. Much to my father’s disappointment, I took John back.
If you landed here for the first time, you may want to read the following blogs to catch up.
His dad convinced me that John should be in rehab. I believed then and still believe that that was the only choice we had. I can’t remember the name of the place. I do remember sitting with John and his father waiting for him to be processed in. He only stayed about three days.
He called me and told me to come get him. The people working there tried everything to get him to stay. But he refused. We could only make him stay 72 hours. So we went home. He was hearing voices. We couldn’t watch television, because they were sending him messages. We couldn’t even listen to the radio. I remember I had some raw chicken that went bad. When I threw it out, he smelled it. He became very suspicious of me for a while. I think he thought it was human body parts.
We did continue to see the psychiatrist. He was put on Haloperidol. It was an antipsychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia. That was his diagnosis, paranoid schizophrenia. The drug made him very lethargic and he began to have the shakes, which were side effects of the drug. So they had to add another drug for that. But the John I loved did come back to me. He was pretty much his old self.
He did work while we were married. He was a wonderful carpenter. He worked for a cabinet maker who was very good to him. At least until he couldn’t put up with John showing up late and sometimes not showing up at all.
A few months later John ended up back in jail. He had broken into his mother’s house and stole his grandmother’s silver. She pressed charges. I don’t blame her. Around this same time, my dad came by the house and discovered his welder missing. He went ballistic. I found the pawn ticket and gave it to him. My dad went to the pawn shop to get his welder back. He was nearly thrown in jail, because he wasn’t paying for it, he was taking it. My mother was able to diffuse that situation, by paying to get the welder back.
I remember standing in line, again, waiting to visit him at the Tarrant County Jail. I became very familiar with that jail and their visitation rules. But I remember sitting next to a woman that was there to visit her son. She said that he had had a drug problem when he was younger, but had seemed to have beaten it. He got married, had children, and was living a good decent life. Then in his late 40’s he got back on drugs and was back in jail. For some reason her story stuck with me and I felt like I was on a fast train to nowhere, but I didn’t know how to get off.
My father’s father was an alcoholic. My father was sent to live with his grandparents when he was very young. My grandmother spent a good majority of her life just trying to keep up with my grandfather in honky tonks and bars. That was their life. He had younger siblings that were often left alone and weren’t raised the way children should be raised. When John was released from jail, my dad sat me down and had a long talk with me. He told me that he had watched his mother chase after and take care of his own father and that he was not going to watch me do the same thing. He said that if I wanted to stay with John, that we would need to find someplace else to live. That he wouldn’t watch me live out the same life as his mother did.
Once I called his father, he came immediately and got him. John’s dad thought taking too much drugs was comparable to getting drunk on alcohol. He thought by pouring hot coffee down him he would “sober” up. His father called me in a few hours and told me that John was sleeping. He said he had driven him around because that seemed to calm him down. Then he took him back to his house, feed him, made him take a shower, and put him to bed. I thought it was over.
He escaped from his Dad’s house at some point. We didn’t know where he was or what had happened to him. Later in the evening we receive a telephone call from the police. He was in the emergency room at Saint Joseph’s Hospital. When we got there they had him strapped down to the bed and he was giving everything he had to get away. He was terrified. Somehow I was able to get through to him and while I held his hand he became calmer.
The police asked me all kinds of questions. What was he taking? Where did he get it? Who fixed his last needle? They told me that they picked him up because they had received several calls about a “peeping tom”. Apparently he was running through people’s backyards and looking in their windows. He really thought someone was after him. They also told me that they believe someone had laced his drugs with angel dust. But the police generally, in my opinion, don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to drugs. You pump meth into your veins for days and days and then throw in no sleep for about a week; you are going to get crazy every single time.
On a side note, when I went home that night from the hospital I had a visit from the drug dealer. He wanted his money or his drugs. I told him John had been admitted to Saint Josephs because of an overdose and handed him the policeman’s card and told him maybe they can help you get your dope back.
They moved him to the psych ward. To visit you had to go through sliding doors like elevator doors into a small room. Once you were searched and cleared they opened the next set of sliding doors where you entered the day room. There were people in different states of mental illness sitting around. Some were watching TV. Some were reading. Some were playing games. John was in a room still tied down to the bed. When the psychiatrist came in to talk to him that first day he asked him “What is your first memory of your father?” John began to cry and said “I was bad and he left me.” Johns’ parents divorced when he was very young and I think this event was the catalyst for all of his problems even to this day. I know they say hindsight is 20/20, but he really needed counseling after his parent’s divorce. At least in my opinion.
Tomorrow join me for Part 5 of my story.
If you missed the previous post
I was startled awake one night with the feeling that someone was watching me. It was John. He was sitting up in bed and staring at me. “What’s wrong I asked?” He said, “I was just making sure that you were asleep.” This began our odyssey of paranoia, schizophrenia, and craziness in general. It was a lot for a young girl of 22 or so to handle. I did the best I could with what I knew at the time.
He thought he was the “Messiah” and I was the “Antichrist”. Why people that overdose on drugs get these religious delusions, I’ll never know. He did want to kill me, but luckily he also wanted to go fishing. I had a 38 snub nose that belonged to my mother. He took that gun and told me we were going to the lake. On our way to the lake we stopped at his mother’s house to get the fishing gear. (I never said this was going to make sense) I thought I would be able to get some help there. But his mother and stepfather had gone out of town. He climbed over the fence to get the fishing gear. While he was doing that I took the gun out of the glove box and removed the bullets. I’m glad I put the unloaded gun back in the glove box; because that was the first thing he checked when he returned to the car. We drove out to Benbrook Lake. I don’t remember fishing. I just remember driving all over and just trying to distract him with whatever I could think of. Finally we went home.
He seemed to settle down some with the outing to the lake. He didn’t mention the gun again and neither did I. I thought it was over. I thought he would get a good night’s sleep and that would be the end of it. I was wrong.
I woke in the middle of the night again with him staring at me. This time it was “We’ve got to save ourselves.” At least now we were in it together and I wasn’t the enemy. He told me the house was evil and he could prove it to me. He went up the crazy wooden spiral staircase and made me sit at the bottom where he could “see” me. Apparently I wasn’t completely trust worthy. My family had lived in that house since 1962. So there was a lot of stuff in the attic. He began to throw
things down at me, mainly books. He would throw a book down at me and say “This one is evil!!” Another one he might lay aside and say “This one is okay.”
This went on for a while. I was sitting quietly at the bottom of the stairs, silently crying, and waiting for this to be over. Only it wasn’t over. He came running back down and told me “Don’t you see? We have to burn down the house with the cat in it.” We had a black kitten that somehow had become evil while he was sorting out the books. He was dead serious about sitting the house on fire. We had been up for hours. It was about 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning. Knowing his mother was out of town, I called his dad.
He began to deal drugs. But I was like the three little monkeys. “Hear no evil”, “See no evil”, “Speak no evil”. There were teenagers on bicycles coming to the door to purchase pot. I would simply say “It’s for you.” He went to jail on a probation violation. He was on probation when we married for “unauthorized use of a vehicle.” This happened right before he dropped out of school for a year and left the state and lived in Steamboat Springs for a while. When he returned to Fort Worth, with his father’s help he was able to get a ten year probation rather than go to jail. I don’t know who put up his bond originally. But I’m getting off track.
One day as I was leaving work, I had a really weird feeling. When I got home and reached for the door knob, something felt wrong. John didn’t go to work that day. He was asleep and I couldn’t wake him. There was a bottle of pills by the bed with his step dad’s name on them. I called his stepdad and he came over and took care of it. I have no memory of what we did. I couldn’t tell you if we took him to the hospital or what. But I don’t think we did. I remember his stepdad telling him, “If you really wanted to kill yourself you should have told me. Those pills were old. I could have given you something to get the job done.” Or something along those lines. I should have taken that suicide attempt as a wakeup call. But I didn’t.
At some point he was jailed again for a probation violation. He was in jail for a while. I remember my mother and I standing in line on Christmas day to leave candy. That was the only time you were allowed to leave anything.
His dealer fronted him crystal meth to sell. Crystal meth, mainlined, was his drug of choice. But he wasn’t really particular. There were other drugs involved. He even huffed paint at some point. Looking back, it’s funny how I went to the dealer with him and yet we never discussed his drug use. I remember him once paying for my hair cut with a line of something. Crystal, I assume. But I’m not sure. During this time period we were still living in Riverside. At some point, my grandmother was even living with us. But it’s all mixed up in my memory.
He played the guitar. He had played the guitar for years and that was his passion. When I first met him we would go every weekend to Aledo to his friend Nick’s house and they would jam. Later he would build a room in the attic and somewhat insulated it for a jam room. While dealing the crystal meth, he did more than he sold. He over dosed. He had been up for days and days and days. He decided to build a spiral staircase in the kitchen to get to the room in the attic. He built it in a day. It was horrific!!!
If you missed the previous blogs, here are the links
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.
My ex-husband’s mother once told me that your first love takes a little piece of your heart and it will always belong to him. She wasn’t talking about her son. He and I were still in the early stages of our marriage. She was talking about her own first husband. At the time I thought “How strange.” Here she is married to a man who treats her like a queen and she’s telling me how much she loved her first husband. Twenty eight years later, I know exactly what she is talking about.
It’s not that she didn’t love her second husband whole heartedly. It’s not that she didn’t recognize that he was probably her soul mate, if there is such a thing. It’s not that she would change anything about her relationship. Except maybe, she wished she had met him first. At least that’s the way I feel about Doug. I wish that I had met him years ago. But I didn’t have children with John Hudgins, so maybe I would feel a little differently if I did.
Maybe it’s just those early years of finding yourself that makes you yearn for things to be different. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband with my whole being. I know that he would do anything for me and he knows that I would do anything for him. We are a perfect pair. But when I say yearn. I mean a really deep, sad, longing for a dream that was lost. I don’t feel guilty for having these thoughts. It’s not a constant longing. But on occasion it does descend upon me like a very dark fog. Doug occasionally has the same thoughts about his own first marriage. There are things he missed out on with his daughter and things he is still missing out on to a degree.
Everyone has choices. So when someone you love takes a course that leads to drugs, jail, probation, theft, prison, and parole, you have to make a decision. Eventually, I had to make the decision to leave. It was not done carelessly. It squeezed every bit of strength that I had in me at the time. Shortly afterwards, I slammed the door on that room in my heart and locked it. Overtime, I’ve had to nail timber across that door and put a chain and padlock on it to keep the sadness from spilling over.
But now, I think it’s time to get the tools out. Clear away the other stuff that I’ve stacked in front of it. Unlock the padlock and the chains. Get the crowbar and remove boards. Throw open the door and let the memories and emotion spill out. It’s time to let it go.
Join me over the next few days as I share my memories with you.