I WANT TO WISH CHUCK A HAPPY BIRTHDAY--WE MET IN MEMPHIS IN THE 1970S AND HAVE BEEN FRIENDS EVER SINCE--HE WAS THEN AND WILL ALWAYS BE 27 TO ME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHUCK!
BERNIE JEAN NIDETCH GREATMARTIN
I arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, from New York City, on Sunday, October 12, 1969 and the following week I did 11 classes and that would be one of the easier weeks for the next year. Bernie's ex-wife and his 2 daughters moved down as a 'front' for him but that's another whole blog.
I have a closet filled with diaries that I started to keep at the age of 10 and still keep to this day, though now they are mainly in the form of a blog. I don't know how it happened but I am missing the years 1971-1975. I do know they were each a separate year book which included my daily, weekly and monthly scheduled appointments, locations I opened, including classes I started and taught , trips I made, people I met, employees I trained and everything I did and every place I went for those 5 years. Did I lose them? were they taken? I don't know so I have to rely on my memory and incidents.
Bernie and I went to Little Rock to help Myrna get her franchise started and we went back when Jean Nidetch, the founder and public face of Weight Watchers came to visit just as she was to come to Memphis to help us celebrate our 1st anniversary. A lot happened during the 'missing' years: Bernie's ex and kids moved back to NYC, I went through TA therapy, traveled to Australia, South America, Hawaii, Papeete, New Zealand, all over the United States, separated from Bernie, met Johnny, walked away from WW and, literally millions of dollars which I will write about some day, went to court sued by Bernie and suing him, basically getting a 'divorce', starting a new business and for close to 9 years traveling to Chattanooga every week for a night or two, meeting and making friends, giving and holding staff meetings and dinners, not to forget a social life away from Weight Watchers and Our Weigh and starting to drink too much.
I met many interesting, fascinating and exceptional human beings during the decade I lived in Memphis and one of the first was Ginny Pozos, a funny, warm, obstinate Irish woman from Minnesota. She joined my first class in Whitehaven--yes, that Whitehaven--where Elvis lived--that's another blog--lost her weight and came to work for us on a part time basis as there were only 24 hours in a day. She was married to a well known research Spanish doctor, Bob, with whom she had three children and, in her spare time was a registered nurse specializing in care taking and wrote two books about being a caretaker that are used as references today.
In spite of Ginny's last years, which weren't good at all, she never lost her wonderful sense of humor or strong sense of being. She and Bob divorced, he married a much younger woman, she developed cancer and was taken away from her children, and friends, way too early. I miss that smile, and the woman it belonged to, every day!
If I remember Memphis for nothing else I will always remember it for the fact that I met the most unforgettable character I would ever meet in my life--Dr. Robert Kingsbery. I will write about him, Overton Park and Square, Cotton Carnival, Mid-South Fair, Gig Young, the Pink Palace, Carbondale and the Southern University of Chicago, Jonesboro, Chattanooga and, yes, I haven't forgotten, SEX IN MEMPHIS! :O)