14 July 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Jackson Clay Burgess, II

I was married just after I turned 18. It was also a week after I graduated high school. Wait, it gets better:  I married the football coach of my high school. His name was Jackson Clay Burgess II. A Southern boy, from Harlan KY, just out of college. He taught English and I suppose it was his literary background that charmed me.

He was also very, very funny. And that charmed me even more.

The school administration knew about our liaison as did most students, I'm sure, even though we went to other towns for dinner or the movies. It wasn't like it is now; back then if a teacher and student dated, it didn't necessarily bring in patrol cars with sirens blaring. I'll leave it at that because everyone has their opinions.

Jack and I had a highs-and-lows kind of marriage.

We went on adventures at the drop of a hat. We drove across the U.S. (twice) from Ohio to California and back. Once in a souped-up Buick, and once in a Triumph TR8 (Victory Edition, 2-seater, acid green, V8). Sweet.

Those were the highs. The lows were frightening. While I can bitch and moan with the best of them, Jack was high-strung. At the height of an argument he'd suddenly pass out. He wouldn't wake up for 5-10 minutes. When he did, you can bet it had taken the fight out of both of us.

After we moved to California, things fell apart. I started college, too naive to know that the University of California was a very big deal. I'd said, "Wow, that school has pretty grounds. I think I'll go there." And there, I found out that Jackson Clay Burgess II was not the only brilliant, funny, charming person I would know. We were divorced after 3 years of marriage.

Some years ago, I thought to look Jack up on the internet and see where he had landed. I found him here:

FOREST, Ohio -- Jackson Clay Burgess II, age 45, of 501 XXXX St., brother of XXXX, Salisbury, N.C., died Saturday at his home.

No mention of his parents, deceased then. No mention of a second wife or family. No indication of how he died. Just "at home." We hadn't seen or heard from each other for 20 years, but I cried and cried.

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