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- Sheila Blackthorne files for divorce from her husband, Millionaire businessman Allen Blackthorne, in San Antonio. She cites irreconcilable differences, cruelty and abuse. The story is carried in the local papers.
- Allen Blackthorne is arrested outside of his mansion for domestic violence, harassment, and menacing. He allegedly pulled a gun on Sheila and tried to choke her.
- Before Mr. Blackthorne is able to post bail the next morning, he is violently assaulted by another inmate. He is transferred to the hospital and is in serious, but stable condition. He has a fractured jawbone, legs, two black eyes, and various lacerations.
- Against her own better judgment, Sheila visits Allen in the hospital. He is finally repentant after getting the beating of his life. "I realize it may be too late for us," he says with effort. "But I'd like to have visitation rights with the children."
- After five weeks of rehabilitation, Allen Blackthorne gets out of the hospital. He has a severe limp and will have to walk with a cane for the rest of his life. Sheila agrees to visitation rights and the divorce is final on the last day of February, 1986.
- During one of Blackthorne's golfing outings (which he does daily) he overhears a heated conversation about who caused the Great Depression. He finds this very interesting and decides to study it in his spare time.
- Mr. Blackthorne begins dating Phyllis, one of the nurses who helped him recover.
- Phyllis is now the fiancee of Mr. Blackthorne, and he is considering moving to her hometown of Atlanta.
- Blackthorne puts his mansion up for sale in the Shavano Creek subdivision to prepare for the move to Atlanta.
The Blackthornes have now moved into their new home. Allen continues to build his company and can now travel the country selling his medical device without worrying about his marriage or his wife being unfaithful.
Sales of Allen's medical device continue to grow astronomically, and Blackthorne now spends most of his time either playing golf at local country clubs or being involved in his church because through the influence of his wife he is now a born-again Christian.
The Pastor of Blackthorne's church announces from the pulpit that he has invited new House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich to speak at their church in March and that he has accepted. Mr. Blackthorne is very intrigued indeed.
After Gingrich's presentation, the Blackthornes invite him to a backyard barbeque. He readily accepts and Allen and Newt hit it off and discuss politics for most of the afternoon.
Gingrich and Blackthorne begin corresponding regularly. Blackthorne mentions his interest in running for office...Newt advises taking baby steps such as Alderman, City Councilman, Mayor, etc. Blackthorne considers running for Mayor of Atlanta in the next election.
After a chance meeting with Andrew Young, the former mayor of Atlanta who is now running for Governor, Young agrees (surprisingly because they have just met) that he would endorse him should he run for Mayor as long as he takes a strong pro-Olympic position on Young's efforts to get the Olympics for 1996.