Friday, April 30, 2010

Love Among the Pines

Jack and I were magnetized to one another from the night of Dutchie's birthday. We were never apart for long from that day on. I remember many nights of fun at the Los Ojos or with friends, going for drives, buying an iron over the mountain (his first gift to me), hanging out, going to the city down the mountain to a drive-in or to shop for something. I gave up the cabin on the hill and moved in to the motel then Dutchie moved in and slept on the little porch. Steve and Shirley moved on and soon it was all over. Dutchie left for Salt Lake City with a friend, Sandy Smith and soon it was getting colder. Jack's job was done and he wanted to follow the rig to Chalk Creek Location in Utah. I was torn. This mountain town was my dream in the clouds. How could I leave?

I tried to convince him to stay and he just said "No! You come with me." He was a worker and one of the first men I had been with who really liked to work and expected to do just that in order to make a living. 'You work if you live' was his motto. So I agreed and we rented a truck.

 Dutchie had came back from Salt Lake and decided to go with us so we packed it all, her dog, my son and my plants and off we went to Utah. The trip was a travel nightmare with mountain roads and snow. I remember her driving Jack's '59 Ford with a motorcycle on the front and Jack driving the u-haul truck. I ate a whole bag of chocolate covered raisins while wondering if we would plunge off the edge of the mountain as there were no guardrails and we couldn't see.

The first night all my plants froze in the u-haul and I had 50 of them. I cried but we went on and threw them away when we reached Coalville Utah on the 3rd day. We arrived on Mike's 5th birthday, November 25th. We soon found that the town had no room for us. I had now become "oil field trash".

 My revolutionary attitude was greatly irritated that the townies even charged us more for hamburger at the general store. The whole town was LDS or Jack Mormons. Either they were presently attending the Stake house services or hanging at the bar as Mormons that didn't attend. I had no idea I would spend 7 years in this no-mans land and become a Christian in a place where there were none. But that would come later.

Now was time to find a place to live.We stayed in the local motel for weeks while we searched. Nothing within 50 miles was available. I saw how quickly it was eating up the good paycheck Jack made as a chain hand on the oil rig. Eating out at the Cafe where we were treated like lepers and putting Mike in school where they considered his a less than worthy child was wearing on me. Finally I saw an abandoned house outside of town and I went to the owners and literally begged for them to rent it to us.

After much talk and pleading they decided to charge us $60 a month and gave me the key. I had to turn this sows ear into a place to live. Jack just shook his head at the space heater, 20 layers of peeling wallpaper in the kitchen and the sloping floor off the living room. I laughed and said "Well, the roof doesn't leak" and went to town to find someone who could loan me a bed.

I managed to get the local car dealership owner to loan me one though it was an old fashioned springs not a box springs and a less than thick mattress. Jack sat on the edge of the bed and put his head in his hands. He said "Woman, you just don't like nice things!" I growled back..."and if I did you couldn't provide them 'til we live here awhile and get caught up."

I was happy as a clam at a clambake. This was my canvas to paint over and make mine. We lived there for two years and I still think about it now and then. Coalville was hard on us but the house became a warm and liveable home.

The Move to the Ghetto

Just before George left, Mike and I got the Hong Kong Flu. It was a complete wipe-out of several weeks of my life. I slept first on the emergency room floor waiting to see a doctor and later on a mattress in the front room of our rental. Mike bounced back quickly and I went from unresponsive to coughing up a lung. It ended my job and put me in a new financial bracket called " far down it looks like up to me".

When I finally recovered and found a way to make money again I also found a new home for us in a lower rent section. My new job was spreading some kind of resin on floors of balconies to make them a.) beautiful and b.) weather resistant. The apartments were not occupied so were very hot and I mean New Mexico kind of hot. The resin was some kin to glue I think as breathing killed my brain cells. After I did a balcony with my partner (The boss) I would lay outside on the grass or cement and try to get over an incredible and not too enjoyable high. They say we all have a twin somewhere. My boss was an identical to Richard Nixon and much like him in character as well. Did I mention I had met him at Red Dog Dan's?

My new home was with a darling young woman with a sweet baby girl who needed a roomie so Mike and I moved to a low income area and a new adventure began. We shared the house with mega cockaroacha! They were the oriental type and large. I learned to put shoes on or flip a light when getting up in the night so they would try to escape my size 11's paddling across the floor.

I remember many games of "Go" played on the kitchen table and a pool cue by the back door which only had a chain lock so a hand would sneak in now and again and try to unlock from the outside. I would whack whoever's hand I saw and they would stop trying to get in. There was an amazing stove from the 1930's in the back kitchen. I would love to find one like it retro and cute but then I thought "Oh, save me!"

 One day my son Michael tried to light a torch secretly in the bedroom and to keep me from finding him he hid behind the clothes in the closet. I was sitting at the kitchen table when I got such a strong feeling of panic that I ran and went straight to the closet and pulled back the clothes just as the torch lit. That was one of many times I was so thankful to have that, well, call it a 6th sense.

 I did not last forever at this place, though the gal and I became fast friends who stayed in touch for many years. I was ready for the mountains. They were calling to me. High above the cockaroacha and latinos who watered the dirt every day, bless their resolve, to keep the dust down. I was looking for my paradise.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mountain Music

So Jemez Springs was lovely the year I met Jack. The mountains sang with it's own flavor of music and the Juke box at Los Ojos had all the most popular songs on it as well. I loved "Snowbird" by Anne Murray. All her songs spoke to me. I was able to attend some of the Jemez Indian Ceremonies which were open to the public and the drumming was earthy and full of expression. The waterfalls had a music all their own. I liked to play in the water and listen to the sound that drowned out all my troubles and spoke of future happiness to my ever yearning heart. I met lots of college students, hippies, mountain natives and locals. It was a relaxed party spirit in the town.

I remember one gal named  Lorraine that was very alluring and interesting.  She lived in rented cabin across the creek with her son Aeron and her mother was often there as well. Her mom was a kick~she told stories of the olden days and would throw up if you blew your nose. She taught me to make mexican spagetti with the coiled birds nest spagetti, catsup and garlic. Mike and Aeron played together at times but he was very worldly and I later learned Aeron's father was a major producer of porn back in Indiana where Lorraine was required to send the boy every summer for visits. Not a good atmosphere for a kid I think...but that is his story not mine. Lorraine was beautiful but had the beginning of rheumatoid arthritus. We, however, lived for the day and not in fear of tomorrow. We all partied and frolicked in those mountains. When Jack and I returned to the mountains to visit several years later we stopped and hung with Lorraine and found that her disease was progressing so it was harder for her to walk.

Jack and I were being drawn to one another but one day a gal with the most beautiful long hair came around, a friend of a friend and she was very plain but oh... that hair. It mesmerized Jack and he the more he drank the more he loved her hair. He just kept reaching out and touching it and saying how beautiful it was. I tired of this game and left the place with an irritated attitude. I suspected that perhaps I wanted to be the one he was reaching for. So I decided to stay away for awhile and see if I could re-focus.

Every day I would drop in to Los Ojos and ask if Jack had been in. The bartenders tired of my questions after a couple weeks and told me Jack and I could just come in at the same time if we were gonna ask about each other every day, that they were not the local matchmakers! So, at that I resolved to come to my friend Dutchies big 21st birthday celebration that weekend.

I dolled up the best I could for a wild child and made my way in to party. Jack came in a bit later and we gravitated to one another. I told him I had been asking about him and he admitted he had also been asking about me. The next short conversation sealed our fate. I told him I wasn't getting mixed up with a married man and he told me he was not married. I asked him..." then why the ring?" and he said they had been together awhile as they had a daughter together but he never loved her or wanted marry her. I told him to take off the blasted ring if he wanted to see me. He did on the spot and from that day forth we were inseperable. The days of Jack and Lynda had begun.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Mountains were calling me...

My heart was yearning for a real man. Was that a cowboy?

The Southwest Drew Me In

Many of you may wonder how I ended up in the mountains of New Mexico when I am such a mid-western gal at heart. It was because of a man of course. No, I wasn't going to be with one rather I was escaping a romance gone bad. His name was George.

 I met George at an weekend Encounter. This was popular in late 60's and early 70's. Often run by a psychiatrist, psychologist or a guru of some kind a group of folks would gather after paying their fee and spend the weekend facing personal fears or hang-ups in a group session. You could punch a pillow while screaming at your parents for whatever slight or true wound they gave you. Many exercises were accomplished in the name of 'getting free'. George and I got to know each other riding in the guru's back seat while he looked for Native American Peyote Ceremonies (which never materialized).

 George was a good catholic boy who had become a professor of English and married the girl his parents chose and had one daughter. Then he discovered he was not cut out for any of it. So he left his wife and child, became a janitor a state away and was finding himself. Not long after this monumental weekend we hooked up and he lived with me at my 3rd floor apartment on Madison's east side. I starred in one of his political movies along with my son. I met some of the more famous folk from the activist scene. Jane Kennedy was imprisoned for 2 separate terms for being part of the Beaver 55 group who scrambled the formula for Napalm at the Dow Chemical Company in Michigan and another political act of activism in Indiana. I met her through George who had taught at the prison she was in. Jane was a nurse from Chicago who was earning her phd when she became active in the anti-war activism. She later was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her actions. She was a gentle and loving woman who taught me much about what went on in women's prison. I was shocked and happy to help expose this through the film that George wrote and directed.  I was mesmerized, taken in, captivated and totally believing he hung the moon. We actually talked of having an outside ceremony of committment...not a wedding but some kind of meaningful moment. I was truly twitterpated.

George believed in challenging the government for laws he thought unfair and I listened for hours to the political rhetoric but all the while he was two timing me with another activist down the street who was involved in health care reform. Boo! I never suspected and when I got a letter from her in the mail that exposed the whole seamy situation I was shocked I couldn't eat. Now for all who know me that is really unheard of. George spent some time worrying that I might kill him somehow but no I certainly didn't want to end up in one of those prisons Jane had told me about! I lay around thinking my life was over after he left to be with her. My father actually took me to the cafe and ordered me soup and made me eat it after about 6 days of my suffering. This man had really fooled me.

Later when the shock wore off I thought perhaps I needed a change of scenery. I decided to contact a friend who I had met in Madison who resided in Albuquerque,
N. M. and she said "Come down and we will get a house together!" Yes, I was ready to leave this place! It was great fun selling everything, subletting the apartment to a friend and getting a new lease on life. George could have his activist, I was moving southwest.

I bought the train tickets and when the day came I was glad to leave. Two days later I arrived with Mike and who do you think met us at the station?  None other than George. I was flabbergasted, a bit incensed and perhaps flattered. He talked a good story about how wrong he had been so we all got a house together and paid our seperate rents for our seperate rooms as I was unwilling to trust for awhile.  I got a job as a bar waitress at Red Dog Dan's and Vivian was a Speech Therapist. Darned if I remember what George did except take weekend trips to college campuses across the west. When he told me he was leaving for another place permanently he also said he was skipping out on the rent. I went postal. This is never a pretty sight. Don't even try to imagine it.Oh, he did part with his share of the rent but I was a mess when he drove away.The neighbors had heard the exchange.

Sunny Spencer, who lived across the street took me (and Mike) in that night and I bared my heart to her. She patiently listened to my wails and tales of love gone wrong. Sunny was a Christian and she witnessed to me but I thought I knew better so I rejected her God and thanked her for caring. Next morning I went back across the street but Sunny and her husband and kids began to pray for my hard heart. It was a long time before I was willing to listen to the Holy Spirit. I returned to work at Red Dog Dan's and wore my thigh high go-go boots, white short shorts and red tunic to work every night. I met a lot of hard core guys while I worked there. I had lost my respect for most men. I knew there had to be a good one somewhere as I had a son to raise and didn't want to think they were all bad.

Vivian said I needed to go to Jemez Springs to find a cowboy to take my mind off the philandering George. She filled my ears with tales of fun in the free atmosphere of that little mountain town. My son and I hitchhiked to Jemez many times before we actually moved there. We met lots of characters and some fine people who became life long friends but we weren't quite done with the city life yet. However... that's another chapter...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It Wasn't so Colorful then...

Same place but years later and has had a little facelift it appears! I would love to go sit in the tub and soak. The tubs were 6 feet long or longer!

My Search for a Cowboy

Let it be known that I was up in the mountains of New Mexico with my four year old son Michael trying to find a cowboy of interest.  I had had it up to my proverbial chin with intellectual puffballs and ineffectual lazy hippies. In order to survive up there I had roomed in with a group of guys who were working construction in a nice rustic cabin with a kitchen, bathroom and one huge open room full of beds. We had strung up dividers and it was sorta working. The town was Jemez Springs. I call it a town out of not knowing what else to call it. The place had a bar called Los Ojos, a gas station with 3 shelves of groceries, a cafe that was not open much, an American Legion Clubhouse/bar, and a Mineral Springs bath house. Outside town about a mile was a laundramat of sorts. The times were the early 70's.

 I did anything I had to in order to survive. I cleaned cottages, cooked and bartended at the Legion, and worked as a mineral bath employee helping folks in and out of the bathtubs and wrapping them in army blankets and plastic to sweat. This was not a romantic spa but a way of life for many to get these baths for health. Actually I was having the most interesting time of my life up til then. Summer was fun there. Hippies,  tourists, cowboys and Native Americans made for a strange and intoxicating mix.

It just so happened that there was a steam well being drilled on that mountain and the roughnecks and drillers were living in Jemez. There was a motel and apartments available for rent.

The Los Ojos was a kind of strange place. It was technically a bar but all the community met there to play chess or checkers, pool or just to sit and gab. Kids and dogs were underfoot all day and then they trickled out as it got later and the night crowd would show up.  I stopped in often and had my son in tow as there really were no reliable sitters in this community and I couldn't have afforded them if there had been. Once in a while the guys on the road crew would watch Mike while he slept and I would descend from the hill above the bar to have a drink and see who was passing through.

On one of these occasions I met my future husband. He was playing pool, quiet but full of smiles. His friend, however, was on the lookout for a lady to bed. He hit on me and I told him cockily that I preferred his buddy. Jack grinned at how I handled the hand off and we talked a few minutes before I climbed the wooden stairs to the top and crawled in with my adorable son Mike. This was, however, the start of something...

I didn't think much about him until we had run into each other several times and I learned more about him. He drove an old green Ford in mint condition with a clothing rod across the back seat, He carried all his possessions with him in that '59 Ford. These roughnecks followed the jobs all across the west. As he had a car and I did not I was not shy to ask him to take me to the laundramat and he was happy to do it. He often watched Mike when I had to work late and couldn't have him along. We were officially buddies. Later his fellow roughneck Steve's wife showed up on the scene. They all lived
together in an apartment in the motel area. Looks like they had been friends for awhile. Steve's wife kept him in line when she was around with the kids. (Actually they survived the oil-field days and are still together but I am getting ahead of myself here. )

 Jack wore a wedding ring and I wasn't gonna get involved with a married man so we were destined to be just friends and buddies, or so I thought. During the summer a young teenaged boy showed up for a week with his "step-dad" Jack. I didn't see too much of him during that time as I had developed an interest in a tall construcion worker who roomed in the cabin on top of the hill. After the young teen went back to wherever he lived I spent some time talking with Jack and learned he really actually wasn't married but had a long term relationship with a woman in Nebraska and that they had recently split the sheet. I asked why he still wore a ring and he just shrugged and said it kept the girls at bay. I laughed.

I had asked Jack how old he was but he was reluctant to tell me. One night he left his wallet on the bar and I checked for age. He was at least 5 years older than he admitted to. 'These roughnecks were here today and gone tomorrow' I thought...I tumbled for one of his fellow workers once or twice but he was soon gone back to wherever the oil was running. Drilling for steam was dirty and different from the regular oilfield they were all used to. What a strange fate it was to bring us all together in that little mountain town.

To be continued

Wild Child!

Most of you know me as an interesting older adult woman. I do have a past. Some of my immediate family have asked me to write a book but that seems a bit like a huge undertaking so this blog will now become the chapter every once in awhile to be my let's take this one bite at a time book! Good luck and hang on. I will think all day as to my first story and then blog late!

Changing the Tone of this Blog!

I have decided to somehow expand my view of life: Get Ready World and please encourage me with comments!
I know this is April 1 but this is serious! I am on a GET HAPPY resolve!

Oh My and I thought it would be okay today!

Mutter mutter mutter
drink ginger tea
pray again
sip sip sip
eat a cookie
go to bed
Tomorrow is another chance...