What a Tale My Thoughts Will Tell

Words Not to Be Forgotten


Plot Summary

What do you do when you discover that the love of your life, the person you’ve chosen to build your life around, no longer wants to remain married to you? What do you do when life evolves differently than you had hoped or expected?

These are the questions facing John Edwards as he begins his reflective open letter memoir, What a Tale My Thoughts Will Tell – Words Not to Be Forgotten, narrating and describing to his ex-wife Robbin and children Johnny and Jessica the raw and gut-wrenching account of the sad day his wife asked for a divorce after seventeen years of marriage.

In his anthology of pivotal life moments, John is a mirror that re-focuses the light on how life transitions can lead to a love we have only dreamed of and how other life disruptors can traumatize and overwhelm us completely. He explains how cultural, psychological, and sociological influences determine the nature of our happiness and disappointments and directs our path in life.

Amidst the dialogue, John amplifies and humanizes the impact of his real-life events through personal humility that reveals his willingness to unveil the character traits of vulnerability, empathy, and humor. His journey starts in early childhood detailing the experience of growing up in the middle-class Bay Area community of San Lorenzo, California.

After describing a school career including St. Joachim’s Catholic, Arroyo High School, Chabot College, and St. Mary’s College of California, he illuminates to his once nuclear family how his socialization process of being born into human groups, platonic relationships, friendships, intimate bonds, and significant mentors influenced his identity, hopes, fears, dreams, decisions, and satisfactions as he advanced into adulthood. It’s a profound journey that peels away the layers of the upcoming challenge of balancing an emerging business management career with United Parcel Service and his eventual parenthood path of choice.

As John charts his life experience with Robbin, he explores the joy of falling in love and entering marriage with a set of expectations, including romantic and emotional faithfulness, while protecting and providing for his family. Together living the American dream of home ownership with their four-year-old son, Johnny, and two-year-old daughter, Jessica, they share an evolving relationship in the suburbs of Concord, California. But no marriage goes without hindrance. The happy marriage suddenly disparaged by an emotionally detached wife leads to a surprising request for a temporary separation.

Shaken and provoked by Robbin’s appeal, John heads for his brother’s house for refuge and solace. After Brother Frank advises, “You will not settle anything here. You need to go back and communicate with Robbin,” John and Frank head back just after midnight. Upon arrival, they notice an unfamiliar truck in the driveway.

After encountering the painful visual representation of infidelity, John’s core is threatened with self-inflicted torment and thoughts of betrayal.

After forgiveness and years of therapeutic help, John’s marriage experiences a reassessment and growing back together phase over the next several years. But unfortunately, his marriage never advances or achieves the commitment of complete fulfillment. After enduring a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows in their marriage, the unwanted shadow of Robbin’s emotional unavailability reappears.

No longer sharing joy, laughter, and happiness in their marriage, a troubling disconnected series of events unfold, consuming primal feelings of abandonment and uncertainty within John’s reasoning and common sense. Then, unable to re-engage with his wife and build a personal connection, an unexpected sexual rendezvous proposal emerges from a former work associate that John accepts, commits to, and plans for an engagement of sexual disloyalty under the premise and justification of unmet romantic needs.

As several months of disillusionment intensifies, deep resentments build, finally leading to communicative roadblocks that trigger Robbin’s divorce request. After a contentious divorce settlement, John begins a new meandering of dysfunctional relationships championing the role of a rescuer resulting in two more failed marriages and the trauma of estrangement from his children. These life disruptions happened while John undertook a commitment to provide and fight for his family through a considerable business management career with United Parcel Service for thirty-four years and another thirteen years with Enterprise Holdings, Inc.

Inspired during the COVID-19 isolation period, John contemplated and reflected on his life story at sixty-eight. His manuscript took nearly three years to write. John describes his writing experience as a therapeutic process of enlightenment where he realizes the essential single dynamic regarding life’s meaning. This book should be read as it is extraordinary and unforgettable. It will bring forth lessons and memories of your encounters forever carved into your hearts.


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