The compelling, funny, and poignant story of the unlikely marriage of a pro football player and an aspiring doctor. Jan Thatcher, a wide-eyed Iowa freshman coed, met Karl Kassulke in 1962 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he was a football hero about to enter the world of NFL football. Told from Jan’s perspective, Football Wife is set in a time when America was rapidly changing from conservative to free wheeling, from closet alcoholism to an awakening to the consequences of alcohol abuse. All the while, the sexual, racial, and women’s revolutions were raging. A true story told with memories of love and compassion, its cautionary message offers hope to anyone struggling with destructive issues in their relationships.
|Publisher:||Franklin Green Publishing, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Jan Thatcher Adams is a writer and physician who lives in Shakopee, Minnesota. A graduate of the University of Minnesota and its medical school, she also has been the founder of several family practice clinics in the Twin Cities.
Table of Contents
1 Going Home, Sweet Home 21
2 Preparing for Big Changes 35
3 The Long, Strange Summer 47
4 Rookie Wife 57
5 Summer Adventures 67
6 Alone Again, Naturally 77
7 Dark Clouds Forming 85
8 Heading Toward Motherhood 93
9 Football Mom 105
10 Storm Clouds 115
11 A Summer to Remember 123
12 The Growing Storm 133
13 Ups, Downs, and More Ups 143
14 Surprise! 155
15 New Beginnings 165
16 The More Things Change … 175
17 Life in the Good Ol' Boys Club 185
18 Med School Mom 195
19 Chinese Fire Drill?! 211
20 Unexpected Opportunities 219
21 Summer in Cardiff 229
22 The Marriage Road Ends and So Does Medical School 239
23 Internship and the Accident 251
24 The Weird Years and All the Rest 261
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An interesting read pertaining to the struggles of a young family in the 1960s dealing with pro football, women's struggles, and additions. I would recommend this book.
I have to admit, I know nothing about football and I am too young to remember Karl Kussulke, but this book is so much more than football. It is about a a woman married to a celebrity and the good and bad that comes from that celebrity status. Not knowing much about the early years of the Vikings, it was eye opening to read about these first years. I think what I most enjoyed was Jan's own personal journey to become a family practitioner, which had been considered to be a man's profession. It really was not that long ago and yet the prejudices she ran into are hard to imagine. This is the story of a football wife, but it is so much more; it is a story of a very strong woman who helped bring about change in the medical field and classroom.
The history recorded in this compelling book is a graphic but thoughtful recount of a glamour marriage destroyed by alcoholism, celebrity compulsion, philandering, betrayal by one party, and denial and codependency of the other. It is also a description of a brilliant and determined woman whose own story of achievement, healing, giving and success could have been the center of the book. Instead, the author uses her lifetime of learning and reflection to draw lessons on the nature of love, celebrity, ego, and simple human weakness. But it ultimately a book of forgiveness and compassion, and insight into the manifest damages done to our professional athletes, their families, and their lives by repeated concussions in violent sports. It is also a confession of her co-dependancy and the part denial played in the years of deterioration. The descriptions of late night calls from mysterious women is compelling; one is horrifying, and the resulting humiliation and lifelong damage to her is difficult to absorb. But she also describes her life with an all-pro Viking with candor and compassion, and she is honest and reflective in the lessons she learned about herself. There is no villian in this book; only victims. Karl Kassulke's sins were many but he is not portrayed not as a monster but as an athlete who loved his sport and the accolades accorded him perhaps too much. Football Wife is a powerful and sensitive portrayal with lessons that are human and universal.
Jan Thatcher lived every girl's fantasy, a Harlequin Romance come true. Beautiful, brilliant and talented, she received a scholarship to an ivy-league college where Karl Kassulke, the big man on campus and pride of the Drake football team, fell madly in love with her. He was accepted by the Vikings; she was accepted to medical school; both became stars in their chosen galaxies. They had a beautiful home, made beautiful babies, and lived a fabulous Minnesota celebrity life. But the romance twisted into a horror story, one Jan (Adams) couldn't understand or explain until many years later, long after the alcohol, drugs and infidelities that ended their marriage and the motorcycle crash that ended Karl's career. Karl Kassulke was probably a victim of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative brain disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. Karl's symptoms of CTE were exacerbated by his alcoholism, and the result was confusion, memory loss, and such an extraordinary level of poor judgment and impulsive bad behavior that their marriage had no chance of survival. CTE is big in the media these days. News stories show us horrible before-and-after pictures of famous athletes we remember as big and strong now frail and crippled, unable to put basic sentences together, suffering from dementia before they're even old enough to join AARP. We wonder: how could this superman crumple so badly? How could he let this happen to himself? We judge: he made bad choices in his life after his career ended, he let himself go; he took too many performance enhancing drugs, perhaps. We take comfort in thinking he must have done something wrong for this to happen. Football can't be at fault. But CTE is the dark side of the game, the hidden penalty, the loss that's bigger than all the wins: every concussion, every brain trauma, exacts a lifelong toll. The answer to the question "how could he let this happen to himself' is this: he chose to play football, and CTE is often the price of that decision. In "Football Wife" Adams shares her first marriage years of glory and heartbreak with frank honesty, humor, generosity and kindness. She buries her ghosts in a loving grave, one fully open to the sun. Hers is a cautionary tale. Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be football players. And honey, you sure as hell should never marry one.
This memoir is a page turner about marriage, pro football, concussions, and humans trying to come of age in a turbulent era. I couldn't put it down- I guess I will catch up on sleep on the weekend.