Behind The Scene
It was 1994 when I got my first flatbed tow truck and started my own towing business in Fairfield, CT. It was then that I had met Lisa. As my business grew I purchased a gas station and second tow truck. Lisa and I worked to make a life together and build the business. I had built a medium duty wrecker and purchased a new 16-ton Century tow truck. In 2002 I moved into a larger building.
We used to donate our time and use of flatbed trucks for all the local parades. The trucks would be packed with streamers, balloons and tons of Happy Kids! The Book Parade in Easton, CT. was one of Lisa’s and my favorites because we came from Easton, so it was such a joy to do.
Times were good. But health issues arose with me. I wasn’t feeling well. Couple of years earlier, numbness developed in my lower legs, growing to debilitating pain, spreading upward over time. I started to miss work. After many tests and two operations, I finally was diagnosed with Idiopathic Small Fiber Neuropathy. This disorder affects nerves and causes a range of ailments – the most acute being extreme pain – and requires a life-time of treatment. The doctors told me I would have to stop working and sell off the business. After talking it over with Lisa and my parents, we thought it best to sell off everything.
I married Lisa on August 6th, 2004, overlooking the waters of Cape Cod. Being bedridden on and off gave me a lot of time to think. I thought about writing about my life in the towing business and calling it “My Big Tow.” Over the years I had gotten the nickname “Captain Recovery.” Then my cousins were born and it became clear to me to do a children’s book and call it “My Big Tow, the Adventures of Captain Recovery.” It was based on little Darren’s imagination of having a big tow company that he runs with his sister, Kaylee.
I shopped the idea around until a publisher took a liking to it and asked for a draft script.
I was very excited, Lisa was by my side saying to me, “Let’s do this.” Lisa was at the local office supply store replenishing our ink supply so we could print the book, when she started to have health issues. Lisa suffered epileptic seizures in the past and called me for help. I lost her on the phone and called 911 and explained what was happening. An ambulance arrived and took her to Cape Cod Hospital. I rushed to meet her at the hospital. When I got there, Lisa had a heart attack. I was holding her hand and she died in my arms on March 5, 2012. She was only 46 years old. Ironically she is buried a quarter mile down the road from the harbor where we got married. Lisa used to co-host a radio show with me, which I am still doing, called “Side B Deeper Cuts.” You can listen on Friday nights @ 12 midnight (ET) on line at womr.org a Cape Cod Station.
I was determined to finish and see through what Lisa and I had started. So, I rewrote the book to put Lisa in the book as Auntie Lisa. All the characters come from my life, such as Darren and Kalee, my cousins, and Fire Chief Hoffy, who was a dear friend of mine who passed. He was a firefighter for the town of Fairfield, CT. Hoffy was his nickname, his real name is Harry Hofmiller. Even the dogs in the book belonged to Lisa and me (Kody and Balto).
I am with a new publisher now, American Towman, and we are going to do great things.
This book is dedicated to Lisa Cole Chirgwin 10 ~ 20.