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...so 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...