An Affliction called Thomasitis
If we ever had any doubts that family was a cure, the injury banished them. The accident was a set back, but it wasn't going to get us down and it certainly wasn't going to stop us. The gnashing of teeth stopped the minute we lifted off the ground in Havana, and the work toward recovery began. We had absolutely no idea what lay ahead and we were scared. But we were determined to persevere and everybody around us knew it. You could feel it. If you were around us, you "caught" it.
So, who, exactly is "we?" First of all, there's my gorgeous wife Betsy, our three remarkable children, Eric, Thalia and Devon, and most indomitable of us, my mother, Margo. You can see her on the left, by my side on the medical jet back to San Diego after the surgery in Miami. She supplied more than enough support and energy for all of us. She's a treasure, and if we inherited a surplus of good qualities in the gene pool, we got them directly from her.
Betsy and I met on a blind date at USC, which was her first date since arriving on campus as a freshman. We were set up by another couple, Mike Smith and Debbie Taylor. Betsy swears that she knew we'd get married the first time she saw me. It took me a little longer, but not much. We hit it off immediately. She was the blonde, surfer girl I'd always wanted. And Betsy says it was my ultra-suave, international background that gave me the extra edge. Whatever it was, it worked. We got married in 1968. To our delight, Mike and Debbie followed us in 1969.
I followed my father into the Coca-Cola Export Corporation, and after being stationed in Chicago and Atlanta, we were finally given an international assignment in Surinam. Coke had decided to use its massive distribution system to help feed the world, and my job was to introduce a new nutrition drink to the area. It was a challenge, to put it mildly. The airport was literally in the middle of the jungle, and there were only two paved roads, but it was definitely party central. We were newlyweds, and we certainly made the best of it. 1 year later, we were off to Bogota, Colombia and the idea of an expanded family
Eric was first, Betsy was working as a liaison for an adoption agency between Bogota and Boston. One day, the head of the agency showed up with a bouncing bundle and announced, "It's your baby." Betsy took a step back, to say the least. But she could tell immediately there was something special about him. To make a long story short, I was informed I'd become a father that night when I got home. I couldn't have been happier.
It soon became clear that one wasn't enough, and Thalia came to join us. Beautiful, tiny, round and perfect, she grabbed onto my heart and has never let go. A son was one thing, but now I had a daughter, too. Fortunately for Betsy, with the cost of living so low at the time, we could afford help. Lots of it! She needed it. Especially after we were transferred to Ecuador and Betsy discovered she was pregnant. We'd been told this was impossible by every doctor we'd consulted. But when the second blonde beauty arrived in the family, we named her Devon. From the beginning, it was clear Devon she had inherited our love for travel. She was always on the move. Over the furniture, out the front door. It was constant. Today, we're never surprised to hear that she's heading to Buenos Aries or returning from Madrid.
But that's just the beginning of our immediate and extended family. We'll be adding more as time goes on. Please check back for all the dramatic and gossipy updates. (Especially if you should be on here and aren't yet!)