Hero Interview from Second Time Around by JoAnn Durgin

» Posted on Mar 7, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on Hero Interview from Second Time Around by JoAnn Durgin

This week I’m hosting Kay Marshall Strom with The Hope of Shridula, JoAnn Durgin with Second Time Around, Dora Hiers with Journey’s End, and Zeke Lam with Submission (non-fiction).  If you want to enter the drawings for the books, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawings end Sunday (March 11th) evening.

Interview with the hero, Marc Thompson from Second Time Around by JoAnn Durgin:

1.  Tell me the most interesting thing about you. Maybe you should ask my wife, Natalie, but something different is that I remember things in terms of number patterns. Even under stress, I use it as self-calming mechanism to help keep me focused. Let me give you an example. When Natalie suffered a horrible fall down our basement stairs—only two months after our wedding—the nurse asked me for her date of birth. It was a simple, routine question, but my brain computed it like this: the date of Kennedy’s assassination, plus twelve years, minus twelve days.

2.  What do you do for fun? Natalie and I go on a special date at least once a week. There’s this great little pizza place near Fenway Park called Peppino’s, and we go there a lot. If it’s not after a game, we’ll dress up, and I give her flowers, the whole thing. Other times, she’ll meet me downtown after work, and we’ll walk around Boston Common or poke in the shops on Boylston Street. One of our favorite things is going for lunch at Durgin Park Restaurant in Faneuil Hall the first Saturday of every month. Then we go buy fresh fish and produce in the Marketplace and make dinner together. We’re renovating our century-old home near Wellesley, and it’s great to see it finally taking shape. I love going to Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins games. Since I own a sports advertising agency, going to games is a great way to promote client and employee relations. I work out like a fiend several times a week, sometimes at the gym or jogging or biking with Natalie around our neighborhood. It’s a great way to release my excess energy and for my health, and it is fun.

3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it? I try to be a handyman around the house, but other than planning the renovations and doing what I can, that’s not where my talents lie. I’m man enough to admit I want to be the one to “fix” everything, but I usually pay someone else to do it when it comes to plumbing, electrical wiring, that kind of thing. To this day, it still haunts me that I should have fixed—or had repaired—the rotting rotting step that caused Natalie’s fall. I couldn’t dwell on the guilt, though, and focused my energies on what I could try to fix—our broken relationship. You see, when Natalie tumbled down the steps, it was my fall from grace in several ways.

4.  What are you afraid of most in life? Failure. My dad was an NBA legend, and that’s a lot to live up to, especially for a son. I’ve always been tall, athletic and fairly coordinated, but I wasn’t very good at basketball. I played baseball on scholarship for Yale and then got drafted right after graduation to the Pawtucket Red Sox—the farm team for the Red Sox—and played three years. I finally realized it wasn’t for me and started the sports advertising agency. In terms of Natalie, when I thought I lost her, I pulled out all the stops to win her back. Failure wasn’t an option, but God knocked me back down to size.

5.  What do you want out of life? To be known as the husband of Natalie’s heart, and the best dad in the world for our children (however many that will be). In my professional life (since it’s such a big part of my life), I want to be known as kind, fair and generous with my co-workers and employees, both in terms of my time and talents.

6.  What is the most important thing to you? Family. My dad’s gone now, but I’m closer to my mom and sister than ever before. Faith is the strongest part of our marriage, especially after Natalie’s fall. Giving up the reins and learning to depend on someone else—the Lord—was the toughest but most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned. I came to that epiphany when we traveled to a ranch in Montana and met up with Sam and Lexa Lewis and their TeamWork crew. In order to try and regain everything we’d lost when Natalie lost her memory, I had to surrender all. Once I understood I wasn’t alone and could lean on the Lord, the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place. I was out in the freezing woods when I had this epiphany; I know without a doubt God put me there since another TeamWork member fell into the frozen creek and needed my help. Please don’t misunderstand—there’s nothing about me that makes people fall! Anyway, Natalie’s memories finally started returning in bits and pieces, although I doubt she’ll ever remember everything. But she’s remembered the most important things, and the Lord worked a miracle in our lives. I’ll be forever grateful.

7.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book? Not often, but when I do read, it’s usually sports-related, and often books written by—or about—my clients. Other than the Bible (which Natalie and I try to read together every morning when we do devotions), I treasure an autobiography written by my dad years ago. It was out-of-print, but guess who had it and shipped it to me? None other than Sam Lewis. Who knew a native Texan could love a Boston Celtics sports legend? I think it’s another one of those “God” things.

8.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I need to lighten up more. I’m usually very focused and serious. Natalie calls it single-minded—not that it’s a bad thing. Sam and I really bonded out in Montana, and he’s like the brother I never had. He keeps me sane and holds me accountable. He’s down in Houston, and we talk at least once every couple of weeks. I can only admire the man for his vast knowledge of all things spiritual and the way he mentors the guys in TeamWork, same as Lexa does for the ladies, my wife included. He always makes me laugh and helps me see the humor of life.

9.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? Funny you should ask. Natalie got a shaggy white mutt named Elwood from the pound not long after her fall down the steps. We shared custody of the dog at first, and he was a good companion when I was going through one of the darkest trials after Natalie moved out of the house. I’m still not sure if it was the wisest decision, but I took Elwood along with us to Montana. Don’t know what I’d do without him now. Elwood’s part of our family, and he’s extremely protective of our new addition, and that’s a great thing.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? A few months ago, I would unequivocally answer that question by saying I’d go back and prevent Natalie from falling down the basement stairs. I’m so thankful she wasn’t seriously hurt, but it was incredibly frustrating because she remembered things from her childhood and up through college—but not one single memory of me. That was pretty tough to take. It wasn’t fair, but God doesn’t promise fair. What He does promise is grace, love and forgiveness. Believe it or not, after all we’ve been through, the love Natalie and I share is even better the second time around. It was a very difficult period, and I had to earn Natalie’s love all over again. Ultimately, we both learned lessons in forgiveness and trust, but now I’m even more in love with my wife than when we first got married. Each day gets better and our relationship is even stronger because of all we had to go through together.