I wish there were a way to selective eradicate one’s memory. If that were possible, I would gladly erase last night from my memory forever. It made me seriously question my worth as a living organism, much less a human being.
If I wonder why hundreds of people who’ve I met through the years have totally forgotten me, they would have been reminded if they had saw me in action last night. To say I was a complete and total asshole would be too kind. I acted so badly I probably deserved to be sent straight to the Missouri State Penetentiary in Bonne Terre. I was that bad.
It began before I got to Buffalo Wild Wings. I set up the computer in my room at the Overland Park Marriott–yes, it was a different room; I checked out of 1123 Wednesday morning after sleeping in that room for 18 of the previous 20 nights–and got on Facebook really quick.
What I saw sent me over the edge.
I saw Liz had posted pictures of her, Sean and Cori Gardner out the previous night.
It wasn’t they were out–yes, it kind of reminded me I’m lonely away from Kansas City, but I’m so old and I was in Russell the previous night–but it was seeing Cori which brought out my anger and sadness.
I met Cori before I met anyone else at Buffalo Wild Wings, Liz included. She waited on me at lunch quite a few times during the summer of 2013, and we really bonded. I asked her about a tattoo she had, and she told me she had type 1 diabetes. The bad kind.
I have type 2 diabetes, but at least I can keep my blood sugar under reasonable control with medication. I wish I could stay away from the sugar and exercise more, but I’m just so bone lazy.
Cori and Liz were two of the few I knew at Buffalo Wild Wings at that time. I would get to know Sean, Ronnie, Dana, Casey, Morgan Tomac and others over time, but my eyes lit up any time I saw Cori and/or Liz.
The last time I saw Cori working at Buffalo Wild Wings was September 15, 2013, which also happened to be the same day Alex served me for the very first time. I didn’t go back there until October, and by then, Cori was gone, and I did not see Liz at all for quite a few visits. I thought I would not see them again.
Until November 19, 2013. Cori came in a little after 4 that Tuesday to see some people there, and she was so excited to see me. About an hour later, Liz came on for her shift. She was surpirsed to see me, too.
This is where it diverges. I would see Liz regularly. Cori disappeared from my radar.
It seems like I lose ladies in my life at regular intervals.
- Stacie Dauterive Seube and everyone else at Arabi Park Middle basically wrote me off once I went to Brother Martin in the fall of 1989, and disappeared from view until I finally reconnected with them on Facebook.
- Not talking to Stacie for so long really hurt. Really did. When I found out her son, Colin, has autism, I really felt awful. I felt like I could have helped her had I gotten in touch earlier, considering I’ve been through the same thing.
- I met Tiffany Peperone, then a sophomore at Dominican and a Brother Martin cheerleader, in May 1990. Became really close to her. Once she graduated, I saw her only sporadically at LSU, and then after a couple of chance encounters at Ivar’s in 1997, nothing. That hurts a lot. Still.
- Two teachers at Brother Martin whom I became very close to, Janine Koening (8th grade science) and Rebecca Hale (junior English), have faded from view, as has another, Eileen Depreo (senior Civics), the lady who helped me so much during the St. Patrick’s Day folly at the Louisiana Supreme Court (see an earlier post).
- The ladies I worked with in LSU’s sports information office have wiped me from memory. Other than Laurie Cannon Moll, whom I reconnected with on Facebook, they’re all gone.
- Wendy Wall, whom I met in 1997 when she was in graduate school at LSU, hurt a lot to lose. I haven’t talked to her since she and her husband, Sid, went to dinner with my dad and I in Houston following LSU”s 2002 baseball super regional vs. Rice. I’ve tried time and again to get in touch, but to no avail.
- Rebecca Borne could be a chapter in a book, or maybe a book, period. The daughter of LSU football and men’s basketball public address announcer Dan Borne, Rebecca was a super smart young lady (34 ACT) whom I met through the LSU sports information office. We slowly drifted apart until her graduation in May 1998, and then it was she didn’t want to have anything to do with me again. I cried almost every day for years over it. It didn’t stop until I moved to Kansas.
- Rebecca McCann Campbell and I bonded when I first met her as an LSU Batgirl during the 1999 season. We stayed in touch for over a year, but once she graduated, she quickly got marreid to her high school sweetheart. I was so ecstatic to be watching an LSU-South Carolina baseball game in Columbia on the night of her wedding. She’s still married and has two lovely boys, so that’s worked out. At least she hasn’t totally forgotten me.
- Renetta Rogers. I’ll skip her for right now.
- Brenda LeBlanc, the winningiest high school volleyball coach in Louisiana history, occupied the perch Liz, Brittany and Lisa do now. I trusted her completely. I felt I could count on her whenever and wherever I needed her. And I would be there for her if she needed me.
- In Kansas, the list is endless. I could probably name 250-300 people.
- I thought Amanda Schelp wanted nothing to with me again for a time. Fortunately, that’s not hte case, but there are several at the hotel where she used to work who probably want me gone.
- Now I worry to death it’s going to happen with Crista, with Dr. Custer, with Dr. Jones. If that happens, my health will suffer greatly.
- I also worry about the crew at Buffalo Wild Wings. I know LIz is moving soon, Lisa will have a new job, and I’m sure Brittany will move on following her wedding in July. There still might be Alex, Tori, Raymie and a few others, but I don’t know.
Back to last night.
I came into Buffalo Wild Wings at 6:30 and sighted LIz. I yelled at hear about Cori. She took me outside and chewed me out. I deserved it. I was totally wrong.
First, I had NO RIGHT to go into her place of employement and make a scene. She should have slapped me, or kicked me in the nuts.
Second, it isn’t her fault. Things happen with people and their lives.
Third, she told me she hadn’t seen Cori much, either. So I wasn’t alone.
When I went back in, I broke down and cried hard, the first time I had cried in public in a very long time. I started playing some of my favorite sad songs, “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins, “Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word” by Elton John, and “All By Myself”, first the original by Eric Carmen, then the remake by Celine Dion. Chad McCart, the manager on duty, told me I had to stop playing those songs. I did.
I stayed until 9 and then left. I didn’t eat, and I hardly said goobdye to anyone. I did not say goodbye to Alex or Lisa.
I was feeling awful by time I pulled back in to the hotel. Jackie wondered what was wrong. She had never seen me that down.
At least something good happened last night.
I called Outback at Oak Park Mall to get a steak to eat in my room. I wanted prime rib at first, but I got a call five minutes later that there was no more prime rib. Therefore, I was offered the 22-ounce bone in ribeye at the same price as the prime rib. I jumped at the offer. That steak was so awesome.
I got ready early this morning. My car is being serviced at Morse-McCarthy Chevrolet right now. The oil life meter was down to ZERO.
It’s raining and cold this morning. Fits my mood.
I have pretty much forgotten about almost everyone who was in my graduating class at Brother Martin. That’s not to say there weren’t some wonderful people I met during my five years at the New Orleans Catholic high school.
One of those very special people, Tiffany Peperone, turns 40 today. Tiffany was a cheerleader for Brother Martin, which was very important to her, since her brother graduated from Brother Martin and her father graduated from one of Brother Martin’s predecessors, St. Aloysius.
Even though Brother Martin is an all-boys school, it still had cheerleaders, as did New Orleans Catholic League rivals De La Salle, Jesuit, Archbishop Rummel and Archbishop Shaw. When I went to Brother Martin, St. Augustine did not have cheerleaders, and Holy Cross had only male cheerleaders, much the way Texas A&M only has male “yell leaders”. Holy Cross and St. Aug now have cheerleaders, although unlike Brother Martin, Jesuit, Rummel and Shaw, there are no male cheerleaders.
The all-boys schools, which included De La Salle until it started admitting girls in 1992, selected girls from the all-girls Catholic high schools. St. Mary’s Dominican and Mount Carmel Academy mostly supplied cheerleaders for Brother Martin, Jesuit and now Holy Cross, although Jesuit also culled the ranks of Ursuline Academy. Archbishop Chapelle in west Metairie, was the source of Rummel’s cheerleaders, natural since Rummel is also in Metairie. Immaculata was largely the source for cheerleaders at Shaw since the schools were located very close to one another, although some came from Archbishop Blenk. Blenk and Immaculata merged after Hurricane Katrina to form the Academy of Our Lady.
Tiffany attended Dominican, in uptown New Orleans, which made for a very long commute for her, since her family lived in the northwest corner of Kenner near Lake Pontchartrain. If there was no traffic, it would take at least 25 minutes, probably closer to 35 during rush hour. Tiffany was very bright and very gregarious; I hardly remember her without a big smile. She also appeared in several Brother Martin drama productions which were directed by the wonderfully talented Rebecca Hale, who definitely was one of my favorite teachers at Brother Martin, ranking only behind Bob Conlin and Janine Koenig.
I first met Tiffany near the end of my eighth grade year. She was the steady girlfriend of Mike LeBlanc, the daughter of Brother Martin math teacher and later director of student services Claire LeBlanc, who taught me trigonometry as a junior. Mike’s twin brother, Mark, earned an appointment to West Point. Tiffany and I bonded that summer at Brother Martin’s American Legion baseball games, since Mike was the team’s catcher.
Tiffany was nominated for the Brother Martin homecoming court during her senior year at Dominican. I was a sophomore, and I took it upon myself to convince the other students Tiffany was the perfect homecoming queen candidate, since she was so dedicated to Brother Martin. I got caught red-handed by a male teacher, I don’t recall whom. The next day, just as the football team was leaving for a game at Central Lafourche, coach Conlin asked me about it and I admitted to it. He grinned and patted me on the back. When we got back that night from Raceland, Tiffany asked me about it. She was impressed.
Tiffany graduated from Dominican and went on to LSU, where she was a cheerleader during the 1992 and 1993 football seasons, and she was also very active in the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. I wanted to ask Tiffany to the 1993 Brother Martin homecoming dance, since LSU had an open date on its football schedule that weekend. It was the game vs. Utah State when Herb Vincent gave me a credential to sit in the press box, but I never made it down to the field. I ended up finding a date the Monday before the dance with Colleen Bandera, another cheerleader and the daughter of Brother Martin math teacher Jeanne Bandera.
I ran into Tiffany during my third week at LSU after an address by former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer to the College Republicans. A few months prior, my civics class at Brother Martin were guests on Angela Hill’s talk show on WWL-TV in New Orleans, and Roemer was Angela’s guest. Angela came to me to ask a question of Gov. Roemer. Tiffany drove me back to my dorm after the presentation. I saw Tiffany a couple more times at LSU during the second semester of my freshman year, but we lost contact again once I left for UNO.
By a fortunate chance, I ran into Tiffany, in of all places, Ivar’s Sports Bar, my favorite hangout in Baton Rouge. It was late on a Friday afternoon in July 1997. I walked in and she immediately recognized me. We didn’t talk long, because she was there with someone else, but we mentioned coach Conlin’s passing the previous day. I saw Tiffany again one day at lunch in October when I went with Bill Franques and Fred Demarest from the LSU athletic department.
And I have not seen or heard from Tiffany since. I followed her on Twitter and have sent a friend request on Facebook, but nothing.
I decided to take a shot in the dark and send Tiffany flowers for her 40th birthday. I didn’t know where she lives right now, so I sent them to her parents’ house in Kenner. Doubt it will get anywhere, but I figured it was worth a try.
Tiffany, if you’re out there, I miss you greatly. I would love for us to reconnect. God bless.