Tuesday, July 05, 2016

We Had Eight Years—Vernon Huffman and I

Drums/Twitter—August 25, 2008” @VernonHuffman what kind of drums and why aren't you playing with our band?”
Google Chat—October 17, 2008
10:02 PM me: hi ya. Did you enjoy playing with the group last night? it was fun to hear you on the timpanis. 
10:56 PMVernon: It was a bit like going back to my school days, Yaney, and I'm not one who generally longs for that, but it was interesting. Most intriguing point in the evening was the kiss.
11:11 PM me: Well, I wasn't sure how you felt about that. Still a bit hesitant after your ex neighbour. Are you going to the pink painting party--do you have congas?
Over to his place—October 18, 2008
Michael Heart Attack—October 24-27, 2008
Hot Springs Xmas Day—2008
          Moved in January
          Dan Death—April 23, 2010
            Mom Death—January 16, 2011—Service in Rapid City SD January 19, 2011
Mom's Service Oregon UCC Hillsboro—Date ??
Derek Wake—March 17-19, 2011
Boulder—July 1-17, 2011
            ELAW—March 2012
Working for Cynthia—April 10, 2012-June 13, 2012 (bad day?)
Green Convention—July 10-16, 2012
V Family Gathering—July 12-16, 2012 Shared bus back from Seattle/Portland
Harvest and Co—July 19-August 27/September 3, 2012
Counseling—August 30 through December 8, 2012
            Harvest move in to new apt—March 15, 2013
Max Graduation UO—June 17, 2013
Zeke Move Out—September 2, 2013
Charlie and Julia Wedding—October 19, 2013 (Vernon, Michael and I went)
Y Paya Berkeley—November 20-23, 2013
            Shelter night work—November 2013-March 2014
Owens Valley Visit/Manzanar 45—April 22-29, 2014
Marjori Break—June 13-July 29, 2014
            2-89—January 13-May 19, 2015 end of him playing with the CNHB
Walking Water—August 25-November 1, 2015
Moving Days—November 22-30, 2015 (last day November 30)
           May 9 (I saw May 11) and May 16—Marjori announcements

So I followed my MySpace crush on Twitter and from there I got acquainted with Vernon and found out that he needed space to store his rather large drum set. So since we, Michael and I, had space in the basement and because he was part of a group of people that are my friends I thought we could help him out.

I had already met him somewhere around February 2007. He was helping Michele Darr put on a PeaceWorker training through the Rural Organizing Project/Code Pink and was taking notes at the very first meeting. Michele and I have known each other when I worked at Oregon PeaceWorks and she knew I was a good organizer so I got tapped for a lot to put into that training. And in one of our early conversations he and I had, I said, “I would like to see you ride up my hill.” What a line!

He and Michele went on a bike ride for six months in 2006 called Catalysts of Hope. The ride took them across country through the South; up to St. Louis, and over to DC where they arrived for World Car Free Day and a few other things. That said, and as I've said before it was a crucial time for me as I just left Oregon PeaceWorks and was trying to get back into Corvallis and Michele had just had two little kids, and I had a new granddaughter, and I hoped that they/we could get together, and it could be kind of a normal thing that I would be mom or grandmother like. It was a hard return to Corvallis, alas.

I may have met him earlier when he came to talk with Peter about canvassing for Oregon PeaceWorks (between 2003 and 2005) but it would've been a brief meeting as he was probably leaving after talking to Peter and I was just coming to work. Seems that the Seattle area had the first Give Peace a Dance, that he was instrumental in. As many of you know that was one of Oregon PeaceWorks main fundraisers and I think we continued the tradition after it left the Seattle area. So our paths had been intersecting.

Anyway so we met after my offer to him to have a place to store his drums or set them up actually. It took a while for him to ride up the hill to check out the place. But when he did it was a day that I had the worst back shoulder ache ever and I was asleep on the ottoman when he came up. I apologized for being so. We went downstairs for him to check out the drum space and he did it by clapping I can't remember what he called it maybe the echo maybe something else. But he decided that the space would work for his drums acoustically. We sat and chatted for a while in the space and then for some reason we ended up going into the computer room to look up something online. That's when he started rubbing my shoulders and oh Lord the God's were talking to me and he was getting a bit excited himself. However that's as far as it got that night.

But any rate being the good community person and hostess that I am I tried to get him to be able to play drums with various groups. One group was a little ad hoc jazz group that was playing music in the gazebo at Central Park. He didn't really get there in time because he was helping Michele out with some car problems that she was having off in Lebanon. But he did get there at the end and helped me carry my real heavy soprano sax case back to the car. That's when we discovered that he had (and Marjori) been next-door neighbors to my other Langley crush, Derek Parrott who really broke my heart. So I did put out some feelers to Langley friends to find out what kind of a guy he might be etc. Sometime around then I went to hear him when he was playing at the second Saturday event for the Homeless Shelter and it was nice to dance to is drumming. He was very appreciative that I danced to him/them.

The other band I was playing with (kinda called it a middle-aged middle school band), was the Corvallis New Horizons Band and they laughed at me when I said I had a drummer friend who might want to join us. I didn't understand why everybody else could say I have a friend that can play XYZ, like a clarinet or a flute, please bring them. But not a drummer I guess. However he did ride over to check out the band and the next week he came and played with us. We were doing band practice in a middle school band room. It was so good to have a real drummer playing with us especially since there were timpanis and hearing them played was just wonderful. After band practice we went and chatted a lot outside in the parking lot and walked around to the back of the gym and I kissed him. Was very nice, kind a like when I was younger, and those kisses that we had back then. That was October 16th, 2008.

On October 18, 2008 we were chatting on MySpace, I think since I can't seem to find the records in Gmail. And I told him to go slow, adagio. Well about fifteen minutes later I said to myself Yaney he's not in Oakland or in Portland he's only ten minutes away go check it out. So I went down to Veggie House where he lived. We went to the Thai restaurant around the corner and had a wonderful meal and I had leftovers which had meat in it, oh no, but he let me put them in the Veggie House refrigerator anyway. On the walk there to the Thai restaurant we walked past a portable storage unit, a POD, and he said something about how he wished he had one of those and that's what he would live in and just move it from wherever he wanted to go especially to Dar es Salaam, oh no! Oh well shades of Russell and all my ex hippie boy friends who wanted to live in a tipi or a tent. Also I mentioned how sketchy my body was, I was in pain most of the time this from un-recovered stress from working at Oregon PeaceWorks and driving my then 79 VW van back-and-forth to Salem. He was very concerned about what I said about my body.

Then we got talking about a picture on calendar that was up at the Veggie House kitchen wall. There was a picture of Bolivia where people were fighting for their water rights and I said how much that area looked like the Owens Valley. He said it look like his home town country, Big Timber, Montana. Then we went to look at the map out in the Veggie House dining room, so I could show him where the Owens Valley was. He said his parents had been in California during World War II and when I asked where, he said they were in Victorville. Well that's where I'd lived and gone from kindergarten to high school. So I thought this was a sign that I should get together with him. So we went upstairs to his room he took my ear rings out very gently and put them on the stack of drums. It was like coming home. Mind you it was a very interesting bed because it was a canvas cot. Before going to bed with him I mentioned that I was scared, and he asked me what the worst that could happen was, I said he could break my heart.

Then that next weekend Michael had a heart attack and Vernon helped me out with that, he had been an EMT. He stayed with me that weekend and that's when he introduced me to the shower ritual. I had never really taken a shower with anyone else before and felt I had to rush through it. The ritual consisted of us washing each other, him washing my hair when needed, putting conditioner on, and combing through it. Something his first wife had taught him to do. He also combed my long hair every day, he loved it so much. I never cut it when we were together and now I'm afraid to, because I don't think I'll be attractive enough. I miss those rituals, shades of Raising the Red Lantern. Michael got through the heart attack without surgery or stents he's a stubborn old lad, isn't he?

I spent time going over to Vernon's for cot time, which I made much more comfortable by bringing over a comforter, some blankets, and some pillows. So even when I wasn't there I was making his life more comfortable. Now he has the bedding that we shared in the downstairs room, my bedding, and it is now making it more comfortable for he and Marjori. I'm not sure that I really gave him the bedding (sheets, pillows, comforters) I did ask him to make sure they weren't in that downstairs room as Michael was going to replace the furnace and they would have gotten destroyed because the furnace entrance is through that closet. He still has things in that room, including his trunk full of mementos and two shelves of bike stuff. So even now I am making his life more comfortable and Marjori's too. And he is still part of my life at least at the Pi.

We stayed overnight at his house, Veggie House, the day Obama won the election in 2008. Michael was a bit sad we weren't up at the Pi but hanging out in Veggie House was better. Although Vernon and I weren't really thrilled about Obama, we had voted for Cynthia McKinney.

Then in December I went to the Bay Area for my brother's graduation from San Francisco University and I had a bad MRSA on my leg that I had to get treated in Sacramento so I couldn't go in the hot tub at the fancy hotel. I did tell everyone that I had another boyfriend as well as Michael, my mother wasn't too happy, my aunt was OK. And my mother was suspicious when I ordered spinach instead of lettuce for my salad. Got a watch out when your daughters hanging out with vegetarians or vegans. What strange puppies I bring home!

One time as we were coming down from his room Veggie House I stopped to look in the big mirror that was at the landing on the stairs. It had been a sorority house before and I gave myself kind of a dirty look because I wasn't happy with how I looked. I was about 185 pounds. Vernon said to me you be nice to that woman because I love her. Anyway by the time of the close of the year we had decided that Vernon was going to move up to the Pi in the Sky Ranch with us. We all celebrated by going to the hot springs as it was a Xmas Day ritual that Micheal and I had, he really loved that. He moved in with us in January of 2009.

And I began to relearn how to ride a bicycle and eventually even rode all the way up my hill. My goal was to be able to do that by the time Gretchen got back from sabbatical think around May 2009. I did take a few breaks it's a tough hill, with an 18% grade followed by a 22% grade, the latter is actually easier.

It was very nice to have him there he help me out with Michael's medical issues because Michael had some. He'd had a hip replacement in April 2008 and that was very stressful. Just getting him taken care of appropriately and me not being able to be there all the time was really hard. And I had just started my job at the Unitarian Universalists in Corvallis (UUFC) that March. And after the hip replacement most likely because he been in the hospital he gotten pneumonia I think that was around June 2008. So I was exhausted by all of this by the time of the heart attack.

Anyway Vernon started working on getting the Corvallis bicycle co-op running and I continued getting into the swing of things at my job. It was good to have another person around the house to help with things. I even found a better bicycle at the co-op, a purple Bridgestone, which I came to find out who traveled all over New Zealand and Australia. And we all, Michael he and I, went various places as a trio. We went up to Port Townsend to see Wayne Horvitz and Timothy Young and other people play at their annual New Year's Eve bash. We visited friends, sisters, relatives it was fun. And we all learned how to accommodate each other, especially Michael's being slow on walking.

And when the last of the brother cats, the boys, died he was there to help out with that. And since I couldn't stand living more than four days without a cat in the house I went to the animal shelter got a cat that I thought he would like, she also liked me. Her name was Starfish and still is, but she's referred to as Fishy Cat. She is with him now and I miss her very much. The ferals don't make up for her and because of them I can't have a cat of my own.

He was good with my kids they liked him. He was wonderful with my grandkids. And he was there to help me to commiserate with me about the bad way I was treated by Ryan and his mother when my last grandchild Jackson was born in late June 2010. I never got to hold him that day. I finally did but it is one of the greatest heartbreaks of my life. The reason Ryan's mother didn't want to bring me back down to Albany Corvallis was because Michael was up at a KBOO meeting in Portland anyway. So unslept I had to go to the Lucky Lab and listen to some woman rail against Seth and what he had done horrible at the Green party local chapter that she was in. This issue continues to this day somewhat with folks thinking that Michael Meo should be allowed to continue to represent us as a Green but that's another story.

By then the motion already been set for Bike4Peace 2010 (July 24 through September 22). Seems in a Gmail chat that I invited Cynthia McKinney to come along with us and she did. I got time off work to go on the bike ride and everyone was very supportive. It was really funny when we left the house of Common Sense in Oakland how people there especially the guys were like hot and heavy on Ron and Vernon to take care of Cynthia. But they didn't bother with me because they didn't know that I invited her or because it was a male thing. And when one person asked me why I came on Bike4Peace, (I think it was the woman who got kicked out of KPFA for doing photocopying for her daughter and the police got called but I'm not sure), I told her it was because I was in love with Vernon. This surprised her. But it was a new relationship and I knew if I didn't go on the bike ride the relationship would be over. Also there I got to meet Malcolm X's grandson. Malcolm X had been very important in my life one time when it was really hard,I had read his autobiography and I think it kept me from committing suicide and therefore also made sure that Max was born.

However neither Cynthia nor I were good enough bike riders to continue riding bikes on the trip so the group decided to get a car instead of tandems and Cynthia and I would be in the sag vehicle. I remember crying so much in disappointment in Carson City when we picked up the car because I thought that I'd really failed, that I really wasn't up to the relationship with Vernon because I couldn't ride a bike that good. But in retrospect I don't think the idea of getting tandems would have worked, at least in my tandem experience with Vernon. It doesn't make it any easier to ride up the hill on a tandem. But maybe he never got our tandem in good enough repair for it to really be a real test for me. He has tricks for getting bikes to ride in ways that I never could do because he knows how to futz with a bike. I think the repair and adjustment is better.

Bike4Peace 2010 ended his employment at Cyclotopia and he never really had employment after that much, but he did have funds to contribute to the household and to at least pay for the cell phone bill that we three had as a family together. So things settled into routines. He and I and Max went up to Derek Parrott's living wake in March 2011. Vernon ran into people who had known him and Marjori, this was before they got reacquainted via Facebook. People were still upset with him in the way that he left/divorced her. But he always maintained at least while we were together that it was the right decision and that he was glad he made it.

And sometime around late 2011 early 2012 Zeke needed to move in with us because his roommate who was an Iraqi veteran had gotten screwed over by the VA and Zeke was about to lose his apartment and we didn't want him to have a bad rental record. But it didn't go swimmingly to put it mildly. The room wasn't really prepared for him and the modem was in there so when we had to reset it and had to go in the room Zeke was upset. Also he and Michael didn't get along and upon leaving he would never come back into the house when Michael was there and won't come in my house when Michael's around, ever. It is the major reason why I left Michael.

2012 brought many opportunities and many challenges, it was a very hard year. One of the opportunities was the ELAW Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in Eugene in March. Vernon had convinced the organizers to have a panel on Biking for Peace. The panelists were, Cynthia McKinney, Ron Toppi, Michele Darr, and him. Cynthia flew out for the event and she, Michele, Vernon, and I rode from Corvallis to Eugene (a very nice bike ride, especially with a stop at the Mennonite Bakery on Peoria Road). Ron took the train in from Chico. We had just had snow and were cycling with snow still at the sides of the road.The panel was interesting and Cynthia also participated in another couple of panels. Vernon and I stayed at my son, Max's in Eugene, Cynthia was hosted by a family, Ron stayed at a conference organizers house and I think Michele stayed with friends. The conference was hard on Ron since he couldn't bring his bike on the Amtrak at Chico and had to rent/borrow one, also his hosts weren't available to let him into their house when he needed to because they were organizing an evening event.

The ELAW Conference was also when Cynthia mentioned that she was thinking of running for senate in Georgia on the Green Party ticket. And over a discussion along the bike path in Eugene Michele and Vernon crafted a plan to make that happen. Vernon ended up going out to Atlanta to help out on that, sadly the effort failed. I missed him so much and I think that's when I finally went through the change. I was so emotional. And then when he came back our household almost fell apart due to the interactions between him and Michael.

I also got involved in Green politics on the statewide level and was selected to be a delegate to the Green National Convention in 2012 back in the Baltimore area. It was really cool to get to see my brother and sister-in-law's house and visit with my nephew. But the convention was very demanding physically and I didn't sleep well as my roommate insisted on having a light on at night.

After the convention, I came back to Harvest and Ryan and the kids needing to move in with us because they were getting evicted. So from July 2012 to around Labor Day of 2012 we had Zeke living in one bedroom and Harvest and her family living in the downstairs living room which was the music room where all the drums and my saxes were. Seems they had been evicted because rent hadn't been paid due to Ryan's drug habit. Sadly in that process Ryan stole from both Vernon and me. Money from Vernon that he'd earned while working for Cynthia and from me, he almost stole my alto sax, and did steal my inheritance of silver dollars from my grandmother Brooks (I did take him to court for the latter). Finally Harvest and the kids got to move into Sunflower House and stay there I think for a good nine months until they got an apartment in Albany. That lasted for a good couple so years until Ryan moved back in and did the same thing all over. Man did he sell a lot of her stuff that last time, some of it was stuff I'd gotten for her. She ended up in another homeless shelter and I guess he's back on the straight narrow or whatever you want to call it. They do have a rental house and are together again. We'll see.

Also that's the time when Marjori came to visit us just after all that happened in September of 2012. Vernon still thought he had made the right decision after the visit (to divorce her). However the whole time she referred to him as her husband!

2012 was so horrible, I also came to find out that I was almost fired then. I don't know what I would have done without the women who put on the annual UUFC Rummage Sale as I went through the whole Ryan/Harvest thing. Also I think that's when my lower back began to act up so much that I couldn't get out of bed or walk and when I got plantar fasciitis.

Anyway Zeke finally got out of the house in 2013 and found a better place where he is now and we reclaimed the room for Vernon because he was having a night job working at the Homeless Shelter also known as the Cold Men's Shelter. I got him a good mattress (the one I have now) and put up black window coverings so he could sleep during the day. They didn't hire him back for next year.

So around late 2012 I decided to check Facebook out for classmates from my high school and then also Bishop. That ended up in me attending my 40 year reunion and getting acquainted with Paya, the movie about the Paiute irrigation systems in the Owens Valley before my settler ancestors arrived. And I also found out about one of the massacres that happened, this one at Owens Lake that had included my great grandfather, Alney McGee. I'd always thought the McGees were Irish, but they were Scots who scabbed for the Brits in Northern Ireland. So they had very bad history. Also, the LADWP was wanting to build a Solar Ranch right across the highway from Manzanar (where my uncle, an orphan of seven, was interred). The site for the Solar Ranch was on my great grandparents' ranch that they had had to sell to the DWP. So I felt the ancestors calling me back to the Owens Valley. Vernon went with me to the 45th Anniversary of the Manzanar Pilgrimage in April of 2014. I wanted to show him the Owens Valley. He thought it was too dry for him and also that all my friends were too middle class. Although he did talk about a good place to set up a bike coop in Independence.

So we returned home and I kept abreast of Owens Valley activities. One that interested me was the Walking Water Pilgrimage, a three year journey from Mono Lake to Los Angeles to highlight the loss of Owens Valley water to LA. I joined the pilgrimage for the first leg, which was from the headwaters of Lee Vining Creek, one of the creeks that feeds Mono Lake, through to Owens Lake, the lake that LA dried up. That journey went from September 1st through the 22nd 2015. My last day at the UUFC was August 25th, I took the train that afternoon down to Sacramento where my brother and sister-in-law live. I got down to my friends' house in Round Valley a couple of days before the walk, and the night before the walk was supposed to start my cousin called offering me a place to live should I really be wanting to come back to Bishop/Owens Valley. It's an old Forest Service single wide and is where I live now.

And later in the summer of 2014 Marjori was having break from her schooling, he wanted to go up and see her but she wasn't comfortable with that and he didn't go. He did remark in 2012 about her coming down and him having to pay for her her fare about how crazy he thought that was. And then in 2014 he did start talking about her joining our household. Well for a reasons I won't go into that would have ended our having sex. And that was very hurtful, but since that didn't happen we continued on, however it ruined the sense of oneness I felt with him, something I'd never felt with anyone before.

In the meantime he got involved in the ballot measure 2-89 in Benton County which would've banned GMO's being grown there. And he tried to get hired at the Bike Coop but they didn't hire him. He'd started the whole danged venture! His working on the 2-89 campaign ended him playing with my band and I just could't bear to play without him there so I also quit.

After Walking Water I spent three weeks with my parents at their house in Big Bear Lake helping them get things ready for their move into a care facility in the Sacramento area and came back to Bishop for a couple of weeks to interview for jobs and oversee my place getting ready for move in (which didn't really happen much). I returned to Corvallis on November 1st and spent a month getting packed and ready to move down to Bishop. We rented a 20 foot Uhaul, and I did need all that space. Vernon went with me and drove. We had to go down the coast of Oregon and down to Bakersfield/Mojave to get up 395 because I5 and 395 were undriveable due to the snows. When we got there on Thanksgiving Day, the trailer still wasn't ready, the carpet hadn't been replaced (it had tarry skid marks on it) and there wasn't a working refrigerator. So we had to keep the Uhaul for an extra day until those things could be completed (they didn't charge us for any of this). It was very difficult, moving is difficult enough. Vernon mentioned that folks in other situations would be happy to have the space. I guess I'm not worth decent flooring or a working refrigerator, how materialistic of me. So we got enough moved in and settled so that we could put up the bed and sleep there, we'd been sleeping at my cousin's.

So I sent him back up to Corvallis on November 30th, he thanked me for letting him help because it made him feel better knowing where I was. Also at one time when my parents were visiting Corvallis he thanked them for me. On one of those visits I was so very visibly in love with him that my mother was worried. She didn't think that he was a good deal because he'd had three divorces. Well I think divorce comes with the territory when you're my age.

I cashed out a pension that I didn't know about from HP to move down here. But those funds have been depleted in the move and subsequent getting the house up to snuff. The kitchen needed revamping somewhat, when I moved in it only had one six inch wide drawer and needed more cupboards and storage (at least I brought my wicker for the meantime). And my furniture needed recovering after 43 years. At least there's no hangman drawings on it any more. And there were a few other storage solutions needed.

Around mid-April 2016 my debit card got hacked and I needed funds to go to my parents and to a medical appointment for my hemochromatosis that I found out I had via my Aunt Charlotte having it. I got from Michael what funds he could offer for my trip and I needed some more so I asked Vernon. He was pretty cranky about it. So when he made the announcements on Facebook about Marjori and him I was hesitant to call him. The announcements made me feel that I had been totally erased from his timeline. After Bike4Peace 2010 he didn't really have employment and we, Michael and I, were the main support for the household. Yes he did get me a Mac Mini and an IPad somewhere around 2013, I think, because the old Windows '98 machine was a great frustration to me and he was sad about that. He'd said that that was what money was for. So I was very surprised by his crankiness about my need for a bit of money in April (I think it was around $150).

I wish he'd called me before the announcements, I would have been prepared and would have felt that I wasn't erased. But he just said that he didn't have much computer time and that it was somebodyelses' story. I had been fairly sanguine about him and Marjori prior to the announcements, I even didn't get upset when Michael told me that Vernon had come and gotten the tandem, because I'm sure they would be needing it.

Anyway I posted some of my thoughts about the announcements and had a long chat with his sister, Lois. Also others said that they cringed when they read his announcement about being apart from Marjori for twelve years and I wasn't acknowledged. Others said when I told them about why he didn't post anything about me, that their estimation of him had been lowered. I have just noticed now that his sister has unfriended me on Facebook, but his brother, Ted, friended me? So I have lost family over this. Yes I'm upset.

He asked how long I was going to be mad at him, and couldn't I just remember the good times? Well this post is an effort to at least do the latter. I am still very saddened about the former. And I expected him to be more understanding about my anger over the former. It is hard to find out that a friendship and a bit of life lived together can be so disregarded. Also we had talked about him coming down to visit when Reenie and John Gandalf were coming down to visit friends in Alpine County (just a couple of counties to the north of Bishop). He said I'd have to pay for him. And I'd hoped that he'd see that he really did miss me. Alas.

So I'm here in Bishop trying to get employed, but so far I've not been selected for any of the teams I've applied for. Also I'm not quite getting the opportunities to work on land/water rights restoration that I thought I'd be very involved in by coming back here. And I've not had companionship either, he has had some, before Marjori's first visit to Cigamland. One of our friends (a companion) even wanted to get my take on Majori visiting her place, Cigamland, is her property where he is staying.

You know I only saw him cry twice, once when he came back from his brother Dan's memorial in April of 2010 and then again one night after his mom's death in 2011.

I don't know when they will be completely together/married again, he and Marjori. He talks about them having long conversations about it and that there is the “materialism” thing that will have to be gotten over. I guess that means that he isn't thinking of being employed to help support her. Or will they even have a place to live other than the one room place that Vernon is in now at Cigamland? Strange he did get employment after I left, some but not much. Well I'm not throwing his things over the fence and I'm hoping this will at least explain to him how I feel.

In some ways I feel that I had an eight year long affair with a married man. And it is the first time I've ever obsessed about the ending of a relationship. I was so generous with him, financially especially. I believe I made his life better and he did mine during the time we were together, but as you know I feel so erased now from his life. And I didn't expect that from him. He touts himself as being better than that. I remember one Day of the Dead Service at the UUFC, they had made butterflies everyone had gotten one. He fluttered his butterfly over my head and made everyone laugh, especially those in the choir. I still have that butterfly.

And I don't know what will happen with Micheal and me. I did make a promise to be with him forever, but I'm not sure I can keep that. Michael seems to just want me to come take care of him and that is a tall order. Plus there are other financial things going on with the house so I'm not sure if there will be any resources with him. But in honor of non-erasure, he and I were together for twenty-eight years. Strange that my marriage to and being with Russell also lasted only eight years as did the relationship with Vernon.

Maybe the Owens Valley is not the answer for me, Corvallis definitely isn't for me or Michael anymore. At one point we had thought to move to Greece after my kids graduated high school. I think that was hard on them, especially Max. And when that dream died it was hard to know what to replace it with. I was very despairing about that as it was something that we'd predicated a lot of financial decisions on and those decisions led to me needing to declare bankruptcy. And I need a reason in my life, that was the reason then. Somehow getting involved with Vernon helped put some reason back in my life with all the things I got involved in with him.

I'm not sure what the reason is now, but that has nothing to do with Vernon, it has to do with how things have happened here. I know my cousin is happy I'm here and I'm helping her with things, but I've yet to be able to pay her rent and unemployment was denied, so I'm only on foodstamps with getting some money from cashing out a bit more pension and from Michael. It is tough. And it is saddening to not have anyone to share this beautiful valley with. I am glad to hear the crickets again, however.

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