7 DECADES SERIES PART 9B   Leave a comment

From March 1967 to October 1973 were 6 years that all the stars were aligned in my life to have me peak financially, mentally, emotionally, materially, in every way possible. It was in October 1973, when I felt such a murderous rage towards Bernie that even before I signed that paper in which he agreed to pay me all monies and give me all the privileges, benefits and perks that I had been reimbursed the previous year for another year , that I knew this was all coming to end, that my career/life at/with Weight Watchers was about to end. Ironically, in an exchange of letters (yes it was still snail mail back then) when I had written Gene how WW was my life 24/7 she responded by simply asking me, “What if there was no WW?” and for the first time I was faced with that possibility.

I may not be exactly sure of dates, times and in what order everything happened as someone stole my diaries from the years 1971-1978 so a lot depends on memories, notes, letters and mementos from events. As an example I am not sure if I met Johnny in late 1972 or early 1973 but I do know it was before the whole legal WW mess. I am also not sure when I did one of the very few regrettable things in my life–not that I did it but the way I did it.

How do I explain the year from October 1973 to September 1947 without making 365 posts???? I’ve already written a 287 page book called “The Looks Of Love” about it that starts with ‘ “I will destroy you if it is the last thing I do”, all 6’3″ of him said, filled with rage aimed at the man he loved. ‘ Walking out of Joe’s office I told Bernie that I wanted him out of my personal life immediately and completely and that was his response. It wasn’t until much later that I came to realize that he truly loved me and I wasn’t aware of that.

We both hired lawyers who met frequently as we would both call our own when we thought each other wasn’t living up to the business agreement. I was, also, talking to my lawyer about suing for what I felt was due me as an equal owner of a successful business franchise. I even had a memo where Bernie wrote out how all shares from both corporations (Memphis and Chattanooga) were to be given among other things. My lawyer was concerned about that paper I had signed which he said made me an employee but after I gave him reports and pictures showing my being at a franchises only meetings, participating in franchise tests and writing training schedules, visiting other franchises and being advertised and presented as the owner of the Memphis franchise he felt we might have a strong case. From May of 1974 we were in courts with suits and counter suits. In August of 1974 I met with my lawyer and told him to stop everything. I had met with Joe and when we talked  realized that Bernie didn’t care about the suits except is was a way he could still interact with me, still play ‘games’ that we have been playing since the day we met.

It is very difficult for people to work together who are angry and Bernie was angry for me for not loving him, for having a new lover, for being independent, not needing, but even worse, not wanting him anymore. On a side note I inadvertently introduced him to Jim who would be his lover for the next 39 years.

I tried to stay out of the office as much as I could but the girls could feel the tension and would eventually making them choose sides which wasn’t pleasant for anyone. Bernie and I were still making trips together for WW including the WW 10th anniversary held in Madison Square Garden. It wasn’t until June 1974 that things really hit bottom with us. I already mentioned the Caddy incident but that was the least of things. I had to prepare for what would happen after September and I had some thoughts in back of my mind which led me to do things to protect myself in addition to find out who I could depend on among the staff.

One of the last times I saw Bernie was in a lawyer’s office when he tried to stop me from making my annual 4 week vacation. It was then that I knew that my career with Weight Watchers was over and I had to make plans as soon as I got back from that trip.

This chapter in my life ended this past February when, at the age of 80, Bernie died. I don’t know if it was a coincidence, fate or his last game but he was buried on my birthday February 29, 2012. I do regret that I didn’t apologize to him for the way I broke up with him and the words I said though even today, knowing I gave up, literally, millions of dollars, I don’t regret breaking up with him.

Posted August 7, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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