Time sure flies when you are having fun, so I'v heard!! It must be true because 22 years ago today, I left Casper,Wyoming headed for Palm Springs,California and it truly does seem like it was just yesterday.
I had lived in Casper for just over a year and a half, I had moved there to put some kind of order back in my life. When I moved there I was really just a shell of the person I had always been up to that point. I was 32 when I moved to Casper. The year before had been one of the most devastating years of my life. My marrage of 10 years had come to an abrupt halt. Everything I had work for the previous 10 years suddenly dissolved into thin air in what seemed like over night. One day it was there, the next day it was all gone. When my exwife decided to leave me, she planned it well and when she was ready, she took our two kids, and everything in our home, and left. Seriously, it was pretty much that way. The next few months were not pretty and I slowly went deeper and deeper in a depression. When it was over, all I had were my personal belongings and my car, and lots of debt. The depression went deeper. At that time my maxium weight had been 155 lbs (o how I long for that weight now!!). The day I left to move to Wyoming, I weighted 118. Like I said, it wasn't pretty.
My sister and her husband (Jim) lived in Wyoming because of his job. He was a Directional Driller and worked for a major oil field company located in Casper.
They had come home for a visit just about the time my divorce was final and my sister tried her best to get me to come back with them and start my life over there.
I told her I just couldn't go and leave my kids, I got to see them once or twice a month and I could not lose the chance to see them. She really did her best to convince me to come back with them but I wouldn't. As the next few weeks passed on my depression continued to get worse. My Doctor finally told me that if I did not do something soon I would have a complete nervous breakdown. I so remember the day I decided I had to do something about my situation. I was at work and I could barely function outside of my daily routine. I remember thinking, I just can't do this anymore and I walked over the phone at work and called my Mom. I told her to please get Jean to call me, I just couldn't handle anything anymore. This is a tough place to be when you are only 32. I stood there by the phone and in just a few minutes my sister called and I told her I would come, I just had to do do something or I did not think I could handle it anymore. Looking back at myself at that time, it really scares me that I was ever in that place. Within two weeks, I had given up my apartment, boxed up what little I owned and was on my way to live in Casper, Wyoming. My brother in law flew down, picked up a company car in Houston, and drove us back up to Wyoming. I took us 3 days.
I will always believe that my sister and her husband letting me come and live with them there truly saved my life. I was not allowed to work for 3 months. They paid what bills I had and provided me with a truck and a gas card for those 3 months.
Slowly I started getting better. Like I have said before, my sister and I are crazy fun when we get together. She and I traveled all over the State. She took me up close to Yellowstone where we roamed around the mountains and saw some of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. Over those 3 months I returned to being more of the person I had been before. But also during those months, I started coming to grips with my being Gay. I was really surprised to find the Public library there had numerous books on being Gay (now remember this was 1985). By accident I met some really nice Gay men who in turn introduced me to other Gay people and before long, even though I was deep in the closet still, I had several Gay friends who helped me realize who I truly was. Several of these people and I are still good friends and keep in contact to this day. It was through some of these freinds I met, Calvin, who would become my first partner, but that is story for a future time.
In November 1986, I flew to Palm Springs to spend a week with my very good friend, Lola Milburn. Lola and I had met one night when I had gone to pick Calvin up from work at the Mall and she was working in a store next to where he worked. I went into her store one night and we struck up a conversation and we have been close friends ever since. She had live in Palm Springs once before and decided to move back to work in a resort. After she had moved she invited me to come out and visit and I did!
I spent a wonderful week with her and her daughter and while I was there I just knew deep down inside myself that this is where I needed to be. I kinda brushed it off thinking it was just because it was such a beautiful place is why I was thinking that. So when my week was up, I flew back home to Casper. Well, I couldn't get it off my mind. It was all I thought about. So one day I mentioned it to my sister she told me she figured I would want to move there!! She really did not want me to go but she would not tell me not to go. So after a few more days of really mulling it over, I decided I would move to Palm Springs and follow whatever it was that was telling me I needed to be there. My friend Lola told me I could stay with her until I could get a job and a place of my own.
So on January 5,1987, I took out in my old 1972 International Scout loaded with everything I owned and headed for Palm Springs California, with my first stop being, Salt Lake City, Utah!!
to be continued.....