She was released from the hospital and off to home we went. One of the things that Mike always did that drove me nuts was close all the curtains and turn out the lights. I would have lived in a glass house for the sunshine and light- he preferred darkness, usually the only light was from the T.V. We had been home for three days; I had just fed Regina and was holding her as we sat in the chair. Mike was sitting on the floor leaning on my legs. I looked down at our little miracle. She seemed so still- a bright flash from the T.V. caused me to stiffen. I said Mike I think she is blue. He jumped up and flipped on the light switches that were at the door and came back across to us, took Regina out of my arms whose eyes and upper lip were blue in the light. He turned her over did infant choking care on her, told me to call the Dr. He laid her on her back and gave her two breaths and she began breath-ing. I was screaming that Regina wasn’t breathing and we were bringing her in. We loaded up in the car- I was holding Regina- no time for her car seat. I was hysterical. Mike was driving and he yelled at me your crying isn’t helping anyone I need you to make sure she is still breathing. I tried but I was panicked, my baby didn’t seem to breathe very well and I had no idea how to fix that. She had been born with all her toes, fingers and was so beautiful but she didn’t breath. As we walked into Dr. Grossman’s office there was the Sheriff, the Doctor and a nurse. I tried to hand them Regina but Dr. Grossman prevented that. He ushered us back to an exam room as Mike parked the car. The Sheriff was there on a personal matter and gave me a pat on the back- told me it would be ok. The nurse in the exam room started to take Regina and Dr. Grossman stopped her. She said she is going to collapse; he turned to me and said she is not going to collapse be-cause she is Regina’s mother and she is going to take care of her. I just wanted him to take this baby away and give me one that breathed. I sat in the chair; I pulled Regina back into me and began rocking. We checked her oxygen level and it was good. She seemed fine. We all talked about what happened. Not knowing is such a helpless feeling. Dr. Grossman told me he wanted me to write down my address and phone number and tape it to the fridge. I enquired why, he said you panic when she is in distress- this was when you call 911 you can read your address to them and don’t have to think. We decided to go to the Kremmling hospital until we could get an Apnea monitor for her. This would sound an alarm when she did not take a breath. We spent another week-end in the hospital where they could monitor her around the clock. On Monday an Apnea monitor was brought up. I was taught how to operate it. Whenever I laid her down I would put two straps around her upper and lower chest. They had wires to the monitor and would sound an alarm when she did not take a breath for 30 seconds. She wore this till she was nearly 3 yrs old because she would stop breathing regularly. So we adverted los-ing her to SIDS. The people who lived behind us had a dog that howled like he was full blood hound dog. He would howl for hours and Mike would go back there to find his chain was choking him. He would get him unwound and kept telling the man that we wanted the dog if he didn’t. One day here he came and said he got loose again if you want him he is probably down at Fletchers Sporting Goods. We talked about it and he was adamant that he was a great dog so I went down to Fletchers. I found out they had sold him as a pup to a young man who joined the military and had to bring him back when he was about 8 months old. He had named him Duke. She said you can take him if you want- we’ve given him to 6 homes and he always comes back to me. I said well my husband wants him so we will give it a try. He jumped in my truck and came home with us. He never once ran back to Fletchers. He was an awesome dog. He went everywhere with us. People offered to buy him, we said NO way.
Then Mike’s friend Ray was moving back east and asked us if we would stay in his new log cabin and take care of things. When it was all said and done we were actually renting it but it was awe-some to live in a brand new home! It was whole log- inside and out. There was ceramic tile in the bathroom. We had no cable while living here. Mike’s friend Chuck would tape on his VCR T.V. programs and we would watch them that way. We also rented a lot of movies. The Broncos went to the Super bowl and Mike wanted to go to the Super bowl. He had rented the movie, “The Hitchhiker”. Then Mike and Randy decided to leave on Saturday night to drive to Pasadena Ca. before watching the movie and left it for me. They bought scalped tickets in front of the stadium and saw the Super bowl live and in person. Chuck taped the game for us. I spent the entire day delivering newspapers. I thought oh no big deal I will deliver his newspapers and mine- I figured out the hard way he does actually work! It took me until 3 in the after-noon to get all of the newspapers delivered. They were going to be home on Monday. Monday night for some stupid reason I watched that rented movie, ‘Hitchhiker’. Hmmm I keep telling myself it is just a movie. They did not make it home on Monday. Randy is living with Debbie and her and I have been spending time together this weekend and checking in with each other. We watched the Super bowl together. At half time it was cool- all the seats had been given a cushion that was white on one side and blue on the other. They took a shot from the blimp during half time that spelled out one of the sponsors with those cushions and then another design when they flipped them over. Randy hasn’t called Debbie, Mike has not called me. We call their friend Jimmy and they left his house Monday morning. On Tuesday I called the Colorado State Patrol, Utah and Nevada Highway patrol and put an APD out on our truck. Wednesday night around 10 PM they come strolling in like nothing is wrong. I jump out of bed, determine they are alive, breathing and healthy. I call Debbie to let her know I will kill them now! They had ‘stopped’ off in Vegas and won back the money they spent on the tickets. The next morning I told Mike we had the Super bowl taped if he wanted to see it- he very excitedly tells me that he can show me exactly where they were sitting. I said I watched you were never caught on camera that they showed…. He said no I put a sticker on my cushion and showed me because they got to keep the cushions. I laughed and said I don’t think you can show me but you can try. So we watch the game to the half time blimp shot where Mike gets to the edge of his seat and is going to show me… when he realizes that shot is from a mile above the stadium- he can’t see his sticker! I said I told you so! But nice thought! We were living here and Mike’s ex-wife decided she was moving to California. She demanded that he buy their house that she got in the divorce. I demanded that he didn’t. Reality tells you though that although she got the house in the divorce decree it did not remove him from the financial obligation of the mortgage. So after many struggles we signed the papers to pay Chris $10,000 and take over the payments.
I was at work and Roger called. He didn’t seem surprised that I answered the phone. I told him that we were obviously not meant to be. I don’t hate you but it is time to admit we don’t have a relationship and move forward in each of our lives. He agreed. Occasionally we ran into each other over the next few years and I will always consider him a friend.
I really thought that once we were back to our homes that would be the end of Mike and me. I only slept with him to keep from getting nabbed off of his bike! And he had a wife and kids. I figured he would settle back into his comfortable life and all would be well. He didn’t do that. He moved into his friends’ (Randy and Jimmy) home in Hot Sulphur Springs and we dated. Occasionally I would stay the night there with him. Although he came over to my trailer he didn’t stay there. He was never comfortable there. He had to find new work since separating from Chris. She had kept the newspaper routes as well as her beauty salon business.
I became pregnant. I was shocked. I did not think I could get pregnant due to the abuse I had suffered and the lack of contraception I used. Well this will drive him away positively! Wow- I am going to be a mommy. I was excited and scared. But no one was going to take this baby away from me. Mike didn’t leave me. He insisted we move in together in Granby. It was closer to work and he was not going to live in Kremmling. He bought a trailer. My trailer was an 8 x 65 and this one was a 12 x 70. It felt HUGE to me! It was pretty well-abused but it was affordable for us. We tried to rent out my trailer. I finally just signed the title over to the land owners so I didn’t have to mess with it any longer.
Mom called and told me that Ken had been diagnosed with bone cancer. He was given less than 6 months to live. I asked her what I could do? Do you want me to come visit? Do you want me to wait and be there when he passes away? She was adamant that a visit would be her choice. They had met Mike that summer when they came thru on a visit to everyone. She thought we were more of a couple than I did because Mike came over to meet her- and began cleaning my kitchen. I said Mom will know you cleaned it- not like she thinks I am a neat freak! First thing she said was looks like you found a good man who can clean! I flew down to Tucson for Thanksgiving. Ken was taking chemo therapy and I would drive him to the appointment and back while Mom was at work. We had a nice visit. I told him I was pregnant and due on March 27, 1986. He said NO- you did not tell me. I did not hear that. You tell your Mom first. I said I don’t want to. He said you have to. When she got home that night I told her. Ken acted all surprised and helped her to be happy for me. I wasn’t sure how Mom really felt and was glad I would be leaving soon. I returned home and to work.
LeRoy moved to Granby. He began delivering newspapers in Grand Lake. He kept trying to drive a wedge between Mike and me. He was standing in the driveway of our trailer one day telling me how happy he was that he and I were going to finally have a baby. We could move up to Buffalo Park and Mike would never find us. We would raise our baby together. I said this isn’t your baby. I am not going anywhere with you.
My checkups were going well. I felt great although I certainly gained too much weight. I had the mentality of fat is fine I am pregnant! I’ve struggled with being overweight ever since. Ken passed away in January. The pain was more than he could handle and Mom called the ambulance. They wheeled the gurney up to the back of the ambulance and Ken tapped one of the EMT’s- he said yes, Ken with his usual grin and uplifting sense of humor asked, ‘have you ever dropped one of these’ Everyone laughed the EMT said not yet but there is still hope! He passed that night at the hospital. Mom had him cremated and never much talked about it again.
I was walking into work on Feb 5. I always parked in the employee lot because I follow the rules. They never maintained it very well so I would wear my tennis shoes into my office. I kept a nice pair of shoes to change into. Walking in this morning I slipped on the ice and slid under one of the parked cars. I bruised from my right hip to my shoulder. I caught my breath and walked into the build-ing. I told them in the housekeeping department I had fallen. They helped me get my time card punched and up to my desk. My supervisor was there and said you have to go see your Dr. I will file a workmen’s comp report. I called Dr. Grossman’s office and told them I was coming in that I had taken a bad fall. Dr. Grossman saw me right away. He thought I was okay. He told me symptoms to watch for. He said if we make 24 hours things should be fine. Back to work I went. I was responsible for Home Owner disbursements at this time. Karen, my supervisor, had moved me to accounting during the dayshift because it concerned her having a young pregnant woman working night audit.
On the 6th night after falling I was not able to sleep. I was uncomfortable. I felt like the flu was starting. I had not slept much when Mike got up at 3 AM to go to work. He was sympathetic and told me everyone went thru premature contractions. I didn’t’ think they were contractions. He left for work and I tossed and turned for two more hours. I got up and took a warm bath. Ate some breakfast and got ready for work. It was about time to start my jeep to warm up but now having an overactive bladder I thought I should pee one more time before I went out in the cold. I went to the bathroom and not knowing exactly what it was saw a bloody mucous discharge. That is not good. It was Feb 12. I was not due until Mar 27th. I called work and left a message for Karen that I had to see the Dr.
I called the Dr.’s office and before I got off the phone Debbie was there. She was the front office manager at work and raced over. She followed me to the Drs. Office. Another lady came bouncing into the office in front of me. She was nearly jogging and told the receptionist she thought she was in labor. My turn to walk up- I said I don’t know if I am sick or in labor, but had a bloody discharge after a sleepless night and think Dr. Grossman should decide. I sat down and Debbie tried to help me pass the time. We heard the receptionist call the Dr. and tell him he had two ladies in and he told her he was going to take his morning jog. At some time I be-gan to realize these are contractions mainly because I remember Debbie taking my watch to time them. Mike was making deliveries for the laundry and saw my jeep at the Doctor he hurried in and found me in labor. He told Debbie he would be right back he had to take the laundry truck back. He was back in just a few minutes and Debbie left us to go back to work. We were sitting there tim-ing the contractions and Dr. Grossman walked in ready to start his day at 10:30 AM. I don’t know where the other lady was at this point I was in PAIN. Dr. Grossman said come on back and we will let you know that all is well. Off to the exam room- love those stirrups! Cold and expose yourself to the world! Dr. Grossman examined me, looked up at me with shock, concern and sternly said you need to get to the hospital right now. You are having a baby. Mike laughed and said hey Doc we been sitting here for a long time- she wants to grab breakfast first, ok? He was joking but Dr. Grossman did not know that- He yelled at Mike- she will just throw it up anyway… get her to the hospital! We left there and I told Mike I want my bag. I knew I didn’t’ have everything in there and ready but I had been working on preparing it and I wanted to take what I did have. He took me to the trailer and we went in. I was trying to walk to the bedroom when another contraction hit and I grabbed the dining room chair. I remember Eric who was living with us at the time, yelling at Mike get her out of here- I don’t want a kid on the floor! Mike said you move her- I am not going to get in the way! It subsided I got our bag and off to Kremmling to have a baby. Mike wheeled me up the main entrance at 12:15 and walked me in. We registered and everyone has been moving like she really can’t be in labor it is too early. We are just going thru the motions for her. They get me to a labor room and finally do an exam, that gal says you’re dilated to a 10! I said what does that mean? She said it means you’re going to have a baby. I don’t think we have time for an enema. I said yes we do. She got it and I waddled to the bathroom. I cleared my colon and wasn’t too sure I could walk back to the bed. I got back to the bed and Mike asked me what I needed. I told him a cigarette. She said have a cigarette. There’s no ashtrays but you can put it out in the toilet. (Can you imagine smoking inside a hospital??)
I told her I have to push- she said you can’t your doctor isn’t here. I said tell the baby not me. She opened the door and SCREAMED for a doctor and spun my bed to go into the delivery room. It didn’t seem like long and Dr. Ceriani was there and my step grandmother, Della. They had helped my mother deliver me. Dr. Ceriani told me that I should push. At 12:45 he was holding a baby girl they told me. They were attending to her. Mike was holding my hand, standing by my side. They were getting oxygen going for her. The phone rang in the delivery room. Someone answered it, said it was for me. It was Karen from work. She was mortified that they put the call into the delivery room. She was simply calling for an update! I said well you are the first to know- we had a baby girl! They put her into an incubator that was sealed with 100% oxygen. I couldn’t hold her. They had called for flight for life. She wasn’t absorbing enough oxygen. Her incubator was in my room- it had gloved hand holes that I could put my hands into and rub her. She was so tiny. She only weighed 5 lbs. The fixed wing air-plane arrived. An ambulance picked up the crew and brought them to the hospital. They secured my baby to go with them. They did not know where they were taking her yet. There were several possibilities and no one knew. They would let me know as soon as they knew. They left the hospital. It felt like my heart was yanked out of my chest. I asked Mike if we could leave and start for Denver? He asked them. They said yes, I got dressed and we got the phone numbers of who to call to find out where they were taking her. We drove to our trailer in Granby. I called my Mom and told her. He told me to call his Mom. I called and said Marion we had a baby girl. The phone went dead. It wasn’t like a hang up, but it was dead. Mike looked at me funny, I said she isn’t there- he took the phone and there was nothing at the other end. We called the Kremmling hospital; they still did not know which hospital. I was getting a bag ready for an extended stay. The phone rang, it was Marion. Mike answered and I could hear her saying, put my Becky on the phone! She said I didn’t hang up- my phone fell apart… it broke I ran and bought a new one. Are you ok? I told her what we knew so far. She was so sweet. I felt so much better to learn that her phone broke and she didn’t hate me.
We finally decided on a name. Regina Ann Smith. I wanted to name her after her grandmothers but did not like the combinations. Regina means Queen. I didn’t want her to be a princess- I wanted her to be a leader. Smith be-cause I still knew Mike would leave at any given moment that suit-ed him and we (Regina and I) would live happily ever after.
We finally found out they took her to St. Luke’s Presbyterian hospital. We drove down there. As we were walking into the hospital I apparently wasn’t as strong as I thought- I heard the staff calling for a wheel chair we have a woman in labor. Mike said a wheel chair would be great but our baby is already here- we need to find her. They took us up to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Most people call it NIC U. There she was, Baby Smith. The Dr. shook our hands and said welcome Mr. Smith. Mike started to correct him and decided it wasn’t important. He told us how she was. I still could not hold her. I rubbed her and began sobbing. They told me if I could pump milk they would feed it to her. It would be the best for her. We left, bought a hand breast pump. I got about an ounce. It was torture. I had to expose my breasts; Mike was watching I could not do this. We took that in, they offered assistance but there was no way I would expose myself to others. They began her on formula. I would sit there for few minutes and become hysterical so Mike would take me back to the hotel. Might be there for ½ hour and have to be with my baby. It was a long several days. She stabilized and I could hold her. I think she was nearly 4 days old before I got to hold her for the first time. She became jaundice so the treatment for that would not allow me to hold her again! Finally about 3 weeks they said she could go back to the Kremmling hospital. She was nearly 34 weeks and would not be able to nurse on the bottle. For one week she would be feed with a tube and then she would be able to nurse again. I got to drive her home to Kremmling. Here we are in the Kremmling hospital receiving tube feedings. Karen called me at the hospital. She said if I wasn’t at work tomorrow she would have to let me go. I said I understand. I told Mike, and left the hospital to go to Dr. Grossman and get a work release. I walked into the room with Dr. Grossman and had barely explained that I had to be work the following day, when Mike charged thru the door and said if you give her a release for work I will sue you for everything you have! Dr. Grossman laughed and said relax Mike I am not giving her a release. He then took my hands and said ‘You are a Mom now. That is your only concern. She comes first. No job, no boss supersedes that. Go back to the hospital. Neither one of them understood- this was my health insurance, our food, the roof over our heads…. I thought I will just go to work without a release. I got back to the hospital and held Regina. I knew that was where I was supposed to be. So I was terminated for falling in an unmaintained mandatory parking lot.
Late winter in 1983 I learned they were hiring at a hotel in Granby. The pay was worth the drive up there. So I went and applied. Sandy Fraser interviewed me. She hired me to work at the front desk. I was very excited! Shortly after I was trained Sandy left her job and I went thru a succession of Front Desk Managers while working there. My next manager was Debbie and at the end of ski season she came to me with sad news. I was low man on the to-tem pole and they were laying people off because ski season was closing. She liked my work and would hire me back when they al-lowed more staff. She offered me a position as night auditor. I asked what the job requirements were. It sounded interesting, other than it was over night. I explained I had never worked grave yard shifts; I was willing to give it a try with training for the auditing portions of the job. She set me up to train with Diane who was quitting. I trained with her for about a week and took over. Diane was very different than me. I figured out my first night working with her that she met with several men in empty hotel rooms. It was awkward when she was in a room with one and a different came to the front desk looking for her. This was how I met Mike, is now my husband. He came in and Diane was actually at the front desk with me. They carried on about whatever the topic was, but I thought he is the loudest most obnoxious man I’ve ever met. She walked out the front door with him and I went back to work. He came in again after she had left the job a week or so lat-er. I thought ‘Nope, don’t knock at this door’ Ain’t gonna happen like it did with Diane. He stood at the desk and visited forever. Turns out he was delivering newspapers and we were a regular stop for him. He liked coffee and always asked me to fill his cup. I was not a coffee drinker but usually our security guard had made a pot so I would fill his cup. It took me awhile to adjust to working thru the night but I enjoyed the work very much. I was responsible for auditing all the front desk clerks, and before I left that position had begun auditing the two restaurants and three bars in the hotel each day as well.
Roger and I were dating with a strange arrangement although it worked alright for me. He gave me a key to his place but I was on-ly to come with an invitation. When he felt like it he would call me at work and invite me over. He watched my trailer more than I truly realized at the time. I brought home a little black Chihuahua from the dog pound to find him a home. He was a great little dog and very quiet. Turned out Roger was sneaking around the back of my trailer, thinking I was in there with another guy. Peanut started barking furiously and I caught Roger spying on me!
Most of us who worked at the front desk had acrylic nails done by Chris Maloney. I don’t recall the name of her shop but she did excellent work. Mike the newspaper guy was her husband. She complained nonstop about everything he did not do. But it seems like most salon people tend to talk lots about other people. She told me that their son Eric had run away. Mike told me the same thing that night. He was only 14 and I was worried about him. He came in with Mike while he was delivering newspapers so I had seen him, talked to him and was concerned. About a week later as I was driving home I found Eric hitchhiking on Hwy 40 towards Kremmling. I picked him up and he fell sound asleep in my truck. We got to my trailer and I invited him in. I showed him the extra bed and told him I had to go work at the dog pound and would be home around noon. He was asleep before I left. I got to the dog pound and called his Mom. I was confused by her response. She was angry. She wrote down my address and said fine we will try to come pick him up.
I complete my work at the dog pound and went back home. Shortly afterwards Mike, Chris and their youngest son Keith pulled in. I let them wake up Eric. I thought they would be relieved and happy to know he was alright. They were demanding and telling him everyone was going to Steamboat. He asked to go home and to bed- they said no not until later. I was baffled at this inter-change, but apparently I did not have the whole story.
LeRoy’s truck was not reliable transportation. Roger wanted a jeep. He loaned me his Toyota Pickup a lot to drive to and from work. I decided to buy a jeep. I got LeRoy to give me the title to his truck and I went to Denver. I found a 1982 Renegade that I fell in love with. The salesman called my Mom to see if she would co-sign the loan. She said yes and they made the deal with me. Turns out they never sent her the paperwork so I didn’t really have a cosigner on my first loan.
My sister mentioned she might come for a visit. I talked with my General Manager about getting a suite for free at the Inn. He said over Christmas week he couldn’t do that but that he would let me set up a payment plan to pay for it. So I booked them a room for the week before Christmas. I told Linda I got a compensated room for them and they made plans to come visit. It took me 8 months to pay that off! But it was worth it to have Linda come visit me. I was excited for Linda to get to meet Roger. I trusted her judgment more than I did Mom’s judgment. I rattled on for a month about my sister coming to visit. He missed every meeting with my sister that we tried to set up. I worked with his sister-in-law and I asked her, is he ditching me?? She said, this is Roger, this is what he does. So Linda and I had figured out he wasn’t as committed as I was. I sort of knew that we would never grow old together but thought we had more time than this! Roger actually broke up with me on Christmas Eve. He said he didn’t want to be in such a committed relationship until he figured out how to care for his daughter in Louisiana. He came in a couple of days later while I was working and my sister was gone and apologized and wanted to get back together. It went on like this until April. He would break up with me on one night and then a few days later call me with come back… I kept going back, not sure why- guess I just didn’t want to be alone.
Chris told me they were getting a divorce when I was getting my nailed rebased. Mike told me they were getting a divorce when he brought in the newspapers. This went on for a while with the story sounding believable. Mike said he was taking off the end of March on a motorcycle vacation to tour the coast line for probably a month. I jokingly said, ‘Take me with you’. He jokingly said ‘Sure’. The more he came in and talked the more I thought he was serious. I checked to see when I was eligible for my vacation. I was eligible to leave in April. I put in for two weeks off starting April 4th. I told Mike and he began making his plans to take me. I told him I could only afford to camp. I took two weeks but only one was paid and my budget was tight. He said he was camping the whole way. I told him I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend- just a vacation. He said he was just going on vacation. Eric came in with the papers sometimes and I thought I recognized a young boy’s crush on me, but worked hard at not embarrassing him. I have always seen Eric as an adolescent- not demeaning him in anyway- I just see him as a child not as an eligible male date.
I began thinking we might really be taking this trip. I am not telling anyone. I would like Roger to worry for two weeks what happened to me. I didn’t think anyone at work would tell him I went on vacation. I thought either he would permanently break up with me or permanently reconcile. Either way I would be off this roller coaster of his.
I got off from work that morning and drove home. I hoped Mike wouldn’t show up. I was going to go ahead and take off to Tucson without telling anyone. I packed up my backpack- I would need it either way. I dozed off on my sofa for a little while. Then I heard his motorcycle. I thought I am just going to not answer the door. He knocked and I had to answer- it seemed rude to not answer the door. Years later when we shared “truths” he was hoping I wasn’t there. He couldn’t not show up after he said he would but he was hoping that I didn’t’ answer the door!
It was snowing hard. We both believed as soon as we made it thru Eisenhower Tunnel we would be in good weather. It was cold. We rode in this full blown blizzard. We cleared the tunnel only to see more of the same weather. We pulled off at the first exit and went in the Homestead Restaurant. The waiter was really nice. He served us hot coffee and didn’t’ mind us trying to wait out the storm. The storm didn’t break. The waiter offered to let us crash at his home, but that felt too scary. I was glad that Mike said no. I can set up the tent- I can warm up a tent- thanks to LeRoy I learned a lot of survival skills. Mike insisted he was getting a room. I said drop me at the outskirts and pick me up in the morning. He would not have it. We rode into Evergreen and he rented a motel room. We entered the room. One bed, a chair and a bathroom. Yep, I knew it. Oh well- I am not that easy you can forget it. He said he was willing to share the bed; I thanked him but assured him I would be fine on the floor. I rolled out my sleeping bag and he tried to sleep in the chair. He finally gave up and crawled in the bed when he determined I was not! We got up in the morning and the snow had subsided. It was still cold but he figured we could make a quick frozen dash to I 25 and head south and get warm. It worked well. We were in Texas that night and located a decent camp site. The next morning we loaded up and got on the road. He had not completely decided a route and he said those clouds are tornado clouds- I am going south because they are going west. That night the news reported tornado damage in the west towns we would have been in. I was surprised that he was right. We made it to the Gulf of Mexico on our third day out. It was overcast and stormy but it was THE GULF OF MEXICO!! I was excited to be there. Seemed like the beach was very empty. There was a sign that said camping allowed. There was a park ranger and we asked her to make sure. You would have thought she would have said some-thing other than yep you are allowed to camp on the beach.
We walked along the shore. The water was really polluted. It was foamy with oil and lots of litter washing ashore. I was saddened to see how seriously polluted it was. We picked a camp site. Neither of us are camping dummies. We set up the camp at least 30 ft. from the water. We set up the door away from the wind. We liked and disliked the tent stakes. They went in easy because of the sand, but we were concerned how well they would hold. But it was only one night. It is time to crash and we climbed into the pup tent. It is always interesting sharing such a small space with a stranger. I had my mummy bag and cinched it up pretty snug. I had enough different perverts in my life I did not leave open invitations to assault me.
I was awakened from a deep sleep with Mike on his knees reach-ing over me as though he was going to straddle me. I sat straight up and said what are you doing? He said trying to keep the water away from your face. He has a sock in his hand. I am foggy from sleep. I think what did this pervert do? Did he piss on me? That sock is wet, why is that sock wet? He has sat back and the tent is on his back, my side is flapping madly and my senses are slowly waking up. I am wet. I am very wet. No one can pee that much- I look around, no one else is here. Wow, I am really wet. I said where did all this water come from? I look at the floor and there is water all the way up to the bottom zipper of the tent! Mike said a storm blew in. The bike is down and the ocean rose. We are in the ocean now. I leaned up against my side of the tent to ease the flapping. The stakes had all come out. I said should we try to leave. He said we should wait for daylight so we can see. He chuckled. I said what is funny? He said I’ve never seen anyone sleep thru so much. I thought you were going to drown. I said why were you reaching over me? He said I was pushing the water away from your face and out of the tent! Daybreak happened we climbed out. I helped him stand up the bike and he pushed it up to dry land to access the damage. I said I would break camp. I turned back to the tent. I was dismayed. Usually you roll up the bedrolls. Put the dirty clothes in one bag. Tidy things up to fit into the backpacks. EVERYTHING was under water, full of sand and where do I start? I grabbed the stake lines and pulled it all up to the shore. I then folded it in half and began rolling. I made a roll that would fit and brought it over. I said we are going to have to wash everything. Probably just drive today and find a laundry later today. He agreed. We rode into town and had breakfast. The news told us we had camped thru a hurricane. Hmmm no wonder we were alone on the beach! I still shake my head and wonder why the Park Ranger didn’t warn us!
We turned west and followed the gulf. The damage was incredible. The highway was torn up so badly that a car could not have passed over it. It rained on us. It felt like a warm shower- I loved it! On the highway it moved inland some and the road was in bet-ter shape. We ended up on a bridge. It kept on and on. I said I’ve never seen such a long bridge. He said me either. At the other end we pulled off at a rest area. There was a janitor cleaning things up and I asked him about the bridge. He told me it was 29 miles long! He was a very kind man that visited with us and told us about the swamp and things in the area. We rode into New Orleans that day. I always wanted to see New Orleans. I was excited! We got a room with TWO beds. I ran the clothes and bedding thru the laundry. Saving money I hung everything around our room to dry. We decided to venture out and see the sights. I put on cut offs and some tank top. I don’t recall seeing much. We were rid-ing along and what I heard began giving me concern for my safety. We were stopped at a red light and a car beside us with several black men in said how fine I looked and how much finer I would look in their ride. I realized how easy it would be to grab me off the back of this motorcycle. I also realized NO ONE knew what I was doing so I could be killed in New Orleans, Mike could go home and no one would know any different. I got scared. I told Mike I would like to go back to the room. He agreed. I burnt my leg stepping off the bike. I told him I was fine- to go enjoy himself. He said he wanted to stay. I began a new train of thought. I knew how to guarantee Mike would get me home- I could entice him sexually and then men always try to take care of you for a little while anyway. He bandaged up my burn and I turned on the charm. He took NO convincing to have sex with me and he fell hook, line and sinker. I at least felt like he wouldn’t just drive off now if someone grabbed me off the bike!
Our time was getting closer than we hoped. We decided to turn north up thru Mississippi and then east towards home. We camped at a KOA with a pool in Mississippi. I lost my contacts in the pool. I went thru the filter and found one of them. So I could see out of one eye for the rest of the trip! Most of the rest of the trip was uneventful. Coming across Kansas we ran into some sort of insect swarm. Mike was convinced they were bees- whatever they were there were lots of them and we were grateful to have face shields on our helmets. It seems to me we made it back in the afternoon and I had to be to work that night.
I started packing. I told him I was moving to town. I am taking your truck. I have let you rape me, use me in every way you possibly could but I will not lay here and die for you. I am leaving. I told him as long as you stay away from children I will play your little fantasy of Daddy, daughter routine- but if you hurt another child EVER I will be your worst nightmare. I took my clothes and left. I drove to town. I knew of a cabin in town I could rent. I went to Donna Uncapher and asked if I could rent their cabin. I told her I don’t have the money but I will by Friday. She and Ed agreed to rent me the cabin. I carried in my clothes. Three days later I turned 21 yrs old and received a very welcome package of 21 presents from my Mom. She sent me much needed household things like dish strainers, utensils, tooth-brush holder and more! I don’t remember telling her I moved out but according to the presents I must have! I went back out and got more of my things from the homestead. I always only went in the middle of the day.
Things were going along ok. LeRoy brought me in Navajo. I kept her at Johnny Colbrans place just outside of town for a while. But it wasn’t long before I realized I couldn’t afford to keep up with rent and pasture so I talked to Bud who gladly took her back. She was a great mare.
LeRoy had bought me an 8’ X 65’ burnt out trailer. What the fire hadn’t damaged the water from the fireman did. It was nothing more than an aluminum shell. He said it would be perfect- I thought otherwise. He came over to the restaurant and told me that he had traded his international pick up to get my trailer moved to town. Lot rent would only cost me $75 a month. I was horrified. Pasture was only $50. I knew he was trying to make me give up.
I went to work on weekends cleaning the bathroom at the bank and the bar. I got a call to clean the town hall! Then I got a job 3 hours a day working at the dog pound. This trailer needed every-thing. Dick Lemon brought me home a load of sheetrock for the walls. LeRoy had replaced the studs and we had insulated the shell. The sheetrock was in 12’ lengths with the corners busted so got them for $1.00 a sheet. I had the money together for cabinet wood. I came home one night and Jim Charleston had brought and installed a furnace.
I needed a toilet, bathtub and bathroom sink. I called my Uncle John and asked where I get those affordably. He gave me a spot in Commerce City and I went down. I got all three, matching for only $75.00. LeRoy and I got those installed and connected and I moved in.
LeRoy cut out and made the cabinet with a kitchen sink. Then he got mad and wouldn’t do any more telling me I was sleeping around. I wasn’t sleeping around but I would not go to my trailer when he was there. I had been cocktail waitressing on weekends and not just cleaning the bar. Kremmling was a small town and there wasn’t a full-time job for me anywhere. But I was blessed with lot of people who offered me part-time in any way that they could.
I got home another day and someone had dropped me off a gas cook stove. I moved it in and connected it up. I decided I had a pattern for the cabinets- I could copy what he did. So I made the cabinets for the other side of the kitchen and Jim Charleston showed up with a fridge. It was coming together. Catherine Brown called me – said I replaced my carpet and you can have my old. I thanked her and went and got it. It was pretty used but it was better than bare plywood.
Fall was coming to an end and I did not have the money to seal up the bottom of the trailer. I don’t remember who called me and told me there were large pieces of Styrofoam that I could have. They were like 2’ thick and 3’ tall x 4’ length. It would be more insulation than I thought necessary and FREE! I was working at hauling it to my trailer when someone dropped off a load of cellulose. LeRoy had begun speaking to me again and framed in the bottom of the trailer and fastened the Styrofoam to the frame from under the trailer and the cellulose to the outside. There sealed up- Pipes wouldn’t freeze. I wrapped the main water line with heat tape and had a hole cut in the floor in the bathroom to allow heat down there. I kept asking around and found out that Ace Kiem had brought the cellulose board. He said it was just sitting around so I thought you could use it.
There were many nights that I would get off work and find LeRoy in my bed passed out. I tied the top sheet around him and would drag him out the back door doing my best to bruise him as much as possible. I would then gather my sheet back, lock up the trailer (again) and go sleep at someone else’s place. It was usually at an officer’s house because they were lonely people too. But LeRoy kept befriending each of them so I didn’t feel safe with them either.
Mary Thatcher was my supervisor at the dog pound. She was always trying to worm more hours of work for me. She was a decent person. The sheriff was in charge of the dog pound. His name was Huck Henderson. He called me up and said he had a full-time job for me! It was data entry into the new computer system! I was excited. We set up that I would come to work on Monday. Monday morning I was at the sheriff’s department in Hot Sulphur Springs. Huck took me into the jail. He showed me the computer. We sat down and he showed me how to pull a hand record, input it, then file it as complete. I was excited to work with a computer and ex-cited to have a full-time job. The first day went fairly well. Tues-day did not go quite as well. Being in the jail was not comfortable. I checked many times to make sure that the jailer would let me out, but it did not comfort me much. On Wednesday after getting nothing down for two hours I went into Huck’s office and begged him to move the computer to the front. He said he couldn’t. I pleaded- the lunch room, anywhere. He told me I was not locked in the jail and could leave anytime- I said I know, that is how I spent the whole morning. I cannot work in the jail. I am sorry. I really want this job. He laughed and said ok. He called me a week later to see if my mind could be changed. Sadly I could not be locked up and he could not move the computer to the outside of the jail. So I continued with my many part-time jobs.
I brought home many animals and cared for them until I could find them homes. Being a county animal shelter we could only hold them for 10 days before we put them to sleep. I had many animal companions while working there and found homes for as many as I could. I had a huge support team of police officers throughout Grand County, mostly because of this job. I was visiting with Jim Charleston one day as they were setting up for a street dance and he asked me who I was dating. I laughed and said, seriously Jim do you think any man in this town wants to date LeRoy’s daughter- and if they don’t know that much would you ask the girl out that is talking to the cops in broad daylight? He gave me a funny look and told me to come to dinner at his house that weekend. I was a usual guest and at times babysat their kids. This night Captain Donner was there, Jim coyly was serving ‘mystery meat’ that we had to guess what it was. There was also a rookie, Roger Kendall at dinner. He was new to Grand County and Jim sat him next to me. We visited some. He was from Louisiana. I guessed the ‘mystery meat’ was wood chuck, because it was greasy. There were lots of guesses, turned out it was bear from Alaska. Roger and I set up a date before we left that evening.
Happy New Year! By Rebecca Maloney
We are blessed with another New Year to ring into our lives very soon. Through the years I have seen so many different ways to bring in this Holiday Part of the excitement for me is to reflect on what has gone well throughout the year and to address what has not gone well.
In analyzing what to keep and what to discard whether we are talking physically, mentally or spiritually we help ourselves to draw near to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I believe we can use our celebration of each New Year to remind us to put off our old sinful nature and to put on our Armor of God. To wear our helmet of salvation, our breastplate of righteousness, gird ourselves with truth. To pick up our shield of faith and always, always have our sword. By carrying our sword with us each and every day we are more likely to use it every day!
It is easy to fall into poor choices leading us into habits that we blind ourselves with. I find it easy to justify in my mind why this ‘little’ sin isn’t THAT bad. This is the time for us to look within ourselves and identify these habits, both small and big
Ephesians 4:22-24 New English Translation (NET)
22 You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image—in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.