The year was 1982. We danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and watched “E.T.” on the silver screen. John Belushi died and Prince William was born. We exercised to Jane Fonda video tapes and never missed watching “Dynasty” on TV. Gas cost 91 cents a gallon and a stamp two dimes. We were spooked by the Tylenol scare and held our breath as the recession began.
It was a year of promise and pain, of sweetness and sorrow.
But it was OUR year.
We were the Class of 1982, and we were ready to take on the world.
Joe (Yearbook post/1982)
Gina, to the one girl who I think has the best personality out of anybody I know. Always keep those good looks and special smile. I wish you luck at anything you try to accomplish in the future. You are very special to me as a friend. Take care, Joe
I’ve never see anyone battle drugs like Joe. He started drinking heavily our junior year in high school and then got into pot and other stuff. I liked Joe. I always tried to talk to him about what was going on. I knew he was in trouble. He always said that he could handle it and that he could quit anytime he wanted. We both knew that wasn’t true.
I watched as his smiling eyes turned into a blank stare. As he lost weight and stopped caring about his appearance. As he started skipping school and his grades plummeted. Looking back, I’m surprised he graduated.
Watching Joe was like watching a fly become ensnared in a spider’s web. I wanted to rescue him, but I didn’t know how.
He called me one night when I was in college. He was crying and saying things that didn’t make any sense. Eventually, he hit rock bottom. Ended up in a ditch, then the hospital and then rehab.
Joe tells his story over and over to high school students and anyone else who will listen. He made it out of that sticky web, but it wasn’t easy. He would tell you that drugs are a demon he battles every day.
I often wonder what would have happened if Joe didn’t have the support of his family and friends.
Today, he's married to a wonderful woman who, like him, counsels drug addicts.
It’s good to see Joe’s smiling eyes, and it’s good to see wrinkles hug the outer corners. As the years pass and the wrinkles appear, it means he’s beating the demon – one day at a time.
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