Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Moving Days--or Daze??

Moving Days—Part 1

As the idea of another and I hope very final move begins to take shape, my thoughts are drawn back to the whole notion of ‘moving house’ and the disruption, adventure, excitement and exhaustion that such events create.  So far the end point of this move remains unknown but there will be one and I’ll probably be living there by the end of this calendar year.

Some families, mostly those associated with the military or similar transient professions, move every few years.  My moves have always come in fits and starts. The first big one I do not recall—that was from Missouri to Arizona in early 1946. Actually I’d already lived in three different homes by then and had moved to and from the Boston area and back to Missouri in those few short months. I was not quite three,about 32 months old, when my parents moved to central Arizona. I do not remember that one. We camped in a motel for a few weeks and then found a rental in Jerome.

Sunshine Hill
By my third birthday we were living in a little house on “Sunshine Hill” in Jerome, an old mining town near the geographical center of Arizona.  I am sure the household goods came in a moving van for Dad had driven the little black Ford coupe to get there as I have a few photos to verify. There were still some wooden boxes years later which I am sure had made the journey. That was the first home I remember and we stayed there for about seven years. (OMG—about the same time I have lived in my current home!)
Where it had been...

In the late fall of 1953, we moved from there down into the Verde Valley and settled in two little square brick ‘company’ houses in Clarkdale. I have vague recollections of that move but not a lot of specifics. I was ten and of course had to help pack boxes and such but somehow it did not seem too significant. We used the gray Jeep pickup and a couple of trailers Dad had built or redone to haul the household goods. It took quite a few trips.  Within a few years the little cottage on the hill in Jerome had been lifted from its foundation and hauled away along with most of the neighborhood. I’m not sure where they ended up. We were in the new house by Thanksgiving and had the job completely done a short while before Christmas. Charlie probably celebrated his second birthday in Clarkdale though I am sure he does not recall!

Clarkdale Home years later
That was home for what seemed like a very long time. Years feel so much bigger when you are a tween or teen. I left in early September 1966 to start college at Flagstaff and from then on the family home was really no longer mine. They left, due to some unexpected issues, in the late summer of 1967, bouncing around to several temporary camps and then a time in Sacramento, CA before moving to New Mexico in the early fall of 1968. They lived a number of places from then on, most of which I visited, but never considered home for many reasons.

In Flagstaff, I had several “homes”, five dormitory rooms and then an apartment in a big old house on Agassiz Street, just a block from the Santa Fe mainline tracks. From that time on, I have always enjoyed hearing trains, even at close range.  I did not have a car any of the four year period when I got two degrees by going to all but one summer session as well as the regular semesters. I simply carried my plunder between rooms in two of the dorms and enlisted help of friends with cars to move my stuff across campus for the first summer session and then when I left the third dorm for the apartment.

In three of the dorm rooms I had roommates and lucked out there to get people I could tolerate who could also put up with me! No roomie-from-hell stories to share. My second full year I had solo rooms, which was both good and bad. I tend to be a bit reclusive in many ways and not sharing a room made it harder to get out and do things. That ended when I moved off campus as I had three roommates in that apartment the next two years. Two of them became long term friends as did one from the dorms.

Leaving 17 S Agassiz
Finally my student days were over and I had a job to go to! There was only a weekend between the completion of my graduate studies and my reporting to Fort Huachuca as a brand new civil service employee. I had to jump! I borrowed my roommate’s new car to go take the driving test (until then I had never had a license though permits several times) and the next day rented an Econoline sized van from Ryder to move.  By then I had acquired more than a few boxes and a suitcase of ‘stuff’ and I wanted to keep it all. Roomie Carol and I drove from Flagstaff to Sierra Vista and I moved into El Cortez apartments, a one-bedroom unit on the second floor. She took the van back to Flagstaff and I was again afoot for several weeks. 

El Cortez Apt--window in upper floor
My co-workers were generous in giving me rides and things worked out well enough. I was already used to walking since I had walked hundreds of miles in Flagstaff as I adjusted from a very active outdoor life to a more sedentary one and then carried home groceries and really everything I bought to include a sewing machine—heavy haul for several blocks!—a typewriter and a small desk from Goodwill. After I had received a couple of paychecks, I got bold. I did need wheels! I rented a car and drove to Tucson. My first stop was Jim Click Ford.

They had two brand new-that-year Ford Pintos in the lot—one white and one lime green. The personable young salesman saw me coming. I drove home in the white one with his assurance he would see the rental returned. I guess he did since they never came after me!
It was wonderful to have my own wheels—finally—in October 1970. However, I soon found my princely salary did not stretch as far as I might wish when a car payment was added to my expenses. I moved from the apartment to a more economical mobile home park rental for two months. At least I had a car now to move my possessions although cramming larger items into the Pinto could be a challenge.

Then I discovered rent was much cheaper across the hill in Bisbee. By then I had another roommate so we again put the Pinto to work and hauled my things and a few of hers over to Bisbee. Through that move I had always rented at least semi-furnished places so moving was not the huge chore it could be with a full compliment of furniture and household effects. That turned out to be the last move I was to make on my own for well over thirty years.

Pinto at Spaghetti Western!
I rented a two bedroom place in an odd little strip of rentals, the only one vacant at that time. Outside it looked enough like a set for a spaghetti western to make me happy and inside it had all the necessary things except a tub but no shower in the bath. From Clarkdale on I had grown used to showers and was not terribly fond of tub baths.  Water and I have never been really compatible. Then too, sitting in water where one’s dirty body had been while you bathed and then got out seemed vaguely unsanitary. I am not a bubble bath gal.

The move to Bisbee proved to be one of those fated or life changing decisions that sometimes happen to mark a sudden stop and shift in your route. Within a year, I had begun a brand new adventure -- being a wife and an instant mother! So the next move was a family one and a big relief since it happened at government expense!

To be continued!

Friday, April 5, 2019

A Belated Lecture

I am tired of good words being co-opted and corrupted! The following is in no way intended as a political commentary of any kind but a kind of protest none-the-less. On this day when we commemorate the end of the “war to end all wars” which very sadly yet inevitably did not, I feel a few things need to be said. (Originally penned on 11 Nov 2018)

I’ve been a lifelong student of history and what I would call social anthropology which I’d define as the study of the human race as social beings. In the thousands of years since we began to walk upright and develop the lifestyle which we now call “civilizations,” we have progressed astoundingly in material things, technology, science and engineering, for example. Unfortunately our social development has dragged along at a snail’s pace. In parts of the world humanity is still not beyond the clan/tribe/locale stage—really in most places when you cut to the real meat of things.  However at least as a fa├žade we have advanced to what seems to be the next stage, frequently called nationalism.

Let me yell it very loudly: NATIONALISM is NOT a dirty word. I am furious at those who take it to set one race or one system, religion or group above all the rest! I am equally angry at those who insist it is a definition for “white supremacy”, “xenophobia” and many other ugly things. Nationalism is very simply the love and loyalty to one’s homeland which as humans began to move past the earlier very small and local stage of collective identity became our new anchor and base.

Nations should be groups of people who join together with common goals and essentially common values, develop a government and live within the rules and constraints they establish through that government. Nations come and go, rise and fall, but at this point they are the highest level of social development humanity has achieved.

Yes, there are still many clan/tribal elements. We do not like or trust those who are markedly unlike us. We still have a strong survival instinct that expands to say we do not want “them” to occupy any of our territory, take and use any of our resources or seek to impose their different rules and constraints on us. Within reason that is NOT wrong or foolish or evil. It is where we are, far short of a unified one world completely inclusive vision. While that probably should be the ultimate goal, at least until we encounter other civilizations or sentient beings out in the great universe, we are not there yet!!

The gradual development of the social human cannot be legislated, mandated or forced. Certain traits, behaviors and mindsets can be driven underground and suppressed but they will not die or cease to exist. In fact the greater the pressure, the more assuredly they will burst out some other place or way. This is what I see happening in our society and country today. We cannot ‘fix’ every perceived injustice, wrong or error in a day, a week, a decade, even a century. We must crawl before we walk, walk before we run and run before we leap tall buildings!

Therefore, do not make Nationalism a dirty word. Don’t try to make folks deny and denigrate their country, for all its flaws and shortcomings. Don’t take your frustrations out on the symbols such as our flag and those who have fought and bled and died to try to build and maintain this nation! Humanity needs to have something to honor and revere. The absence of this is so blatant and hurtful in today's world. While less than perfect, one’s nation is about the best we have today besides a few stellar individuals who may be eons ahead of the rest of us. They can lead and teach but even they cannot bypass the natural pace of growth any more than we can take a two year old and make it twenty nine by dint of will or desire. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Truth in Fiction

"Truth in Fiction." That phrase almost sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Perhaps it will make things more clear if I explain what I mean by truth. I think we all understand fiction—a literary work of creative imagination which does not pose as real fact or actual reality, right? So what do I mean by truth? To me, in terms of reading matter, truth is authenticity, honesty, at least a modicum of reality and a general atmosphere of rightness or correctness.

Artistic license gives authors freedom to make wild flights of fancy at times, especially when writing in the fantasy or futuristic/science fiction genres. When we get into contemporary fiction, though, that leeway must be curtailed in many ways. True, most of us know that “happily ever after” is not the fate for many couples and the good guys certainly don’t always win. Since most of us like happy endings that leave us with a warm feeling, we allow writers that detour from truth. After that things get dicey! 

For example, I stay away from writing Medieval historical tales because my study of history has erased all illusions about glamour and romance. Castles were dreary, drafty, dark and dismal. Hygiene and medicine were minimal and even the most aristocratic lived in worse case than all but the poorest of third world citizens today. I can still enjoy a well crafted story at times and will suspend disbelief to allow the heroine to bathe or perhaps assist the hero --to create some sexual tension--but I cannot write in that setting unless it truly is a fantasy.

I can only speak for myself but I’ve been a reader of fiction for over sixty-five years and over those decades have probably at least skimmed several thousand books. On occasion, I have found gross errors of fact and ‘authenticity’ which are likely to make me fling a book across the room although I normally treat any book with utmost respect.

A few examples: I reread a Zane Grey western not long ago and came across a description of a huge herd of steers which had never seen a human being! I jerked up my mental reins very hard.  Say what? For those who may not be familiar with cattle, steers are neutered male bovines, ‘fixed’ if you will, like most of us do our pet dogs and cats  and our male horses. Now how did this operation occur to these creatures out in the wilderness?  Heaven only knows! I didn’t pitch the book—it was on the screen anyway--but I mentally boxed Mr. Grey’s ears and told him I was sure he knew better!!

Even more recently, I picked up a Harlequin title by a well known multi-published category author. On page one I came across the shocking assertion that a small town in Texas was “adjacent to the Navajo reservation.” I did toss that one, literally, right into the dustbin! I could not believe no editor caught this or even that the eastern city dwelling author was so drastically uninformed. I mean everybody has to have read at least one Tony Hillerman or one of David and Ainee Thurlo’s Ella Clah mysteries! In both and elsewhere, the Navajo Rez is very clearly depicted as mainly in northeastern Arizona with a bit in northwestern New Mexico! Texas has not one reservation, certainly not the largest one in the lower forty eight! Yes, I did write a scathing note to the publisher and will probably never pick up a book by that author or even in that line again. That was egregious!

Years ago in a historical, I almost freaked out when I read the heroine had traveled by train from Flagstaff, Arizona to Salt Lake City, Utah. That would be possible but only with an extremely round about journey since even today no railroad track has ever been built across the Grand Canyon! That minor barrier sits smack between those cities.

These are the types of things I am speaking of when I say fiction must have truth. Besides various geographical, anatomical, known historical and other matters of established fact, we also need a level of authenticity in the behavior of the main characters and sometimes even the secondary or lesser ones. We need to be able to trust that although our hero or heroine may approach super-human powers, in other than a clear fantasy or Marvel comic style tales there are still limits to what ‘real’ men and women can do. We need to adhere fairly closely to established reality and ‘common knowledge’ matters such as how various agencies, the military, and other professions function. While we may be persuaded to suspend disbelief in many minor and a few not-so-minor areas when the story is very compelling and these oddities are somehow made to ‘feel’ right, when something totally violates our intelligence, knowledge or ability to stretch belief, the author has failed!

I am sure in my novels and shorter works that I have made some very gross errors. I try very hard not to but it is probably not possible to avoid such things completely. Especially in my contemporary fiction, which is the major part of what I write, I do research and work to achieve and provide realism, authenticity and a trustworthy narrative. I see this as a very key responsibility of an author. As I reader, I feel authors are obligated to do this to the best of their ability; it is almost in the nature of a sacred trust.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Back Again or The Rest of the Story...

Back in the saddle or something! Yes, I’m back and yes it has been awhile again. Things got a bit hectic and topsy turvy for a bit. My last post was about the old house and I added a kind of post script that my stepson had surprisingly offered to buy the house. 

Well that is now over and done. It got wearing as I waited while he had to apparently go thru some “stuff” to get the money he promised.  My brother did not think he would or could which would put us back at square one on the effort. I might add that Charlie is just over a year older than Malcolm and knows him somewhat from the time back in 1973 when Charlie had a huge dust up with our dad and came to live with Jim and me and the two younger kids.

Anyway, Malcolm finally did receive the money. I have no idea the source or process--nor do I want or need to know!-- but we set a tentative date for me to come to Arizona and enact an official deed and receive the check. Then the weather got iffy. On the day I finally planned to leave, Wednesday, March 13, we had a fierce windstorm, part of the “bomb cyclone” that hit the southwest. Thankfully I learned it was coming in time to postpone. A gust over 100 mph was clocked in San Augustin Pass, on Highway 70 between here and Las Cruces. 

So I left the next day and on Friday, March 15, the so called Ides of March, we managed to get the whole process done in about an hour, with absolutely no glitches or problems—although I had  a near panic attack as I sat in the truck (I drove over in RHM) waiting for Malcolm and his wife to arrive.  I started back to Benson where I had a room and kept pinching myself—an eight month odyssey had finally come to an end and probably the best way the end could have occurred. I really did not want to boot my sick stepson out into the street. He has congestive heart failure, COPD and probably type 2 diabetes.  Anyway the worry of what to do with the old home is now his. Maybe actual ownership will kick start some effort to save it. Who knows. So be it. I am in the clear with some money!

I started home the next day, seeing heavy clouds to the east as I left the area that may be our future
Steins Pass--imagine with all white!!
Road is across small valley from tracks. 
home and headed east on I-10. I noticed the rest stop at the top of Texas Canyon was jammed with semis… but just drove on. All the others for many miles were the same. By the far side of Willcox, I could see it looked very hazy on eastward but not like dust, which I had feared. Turned out it was low clouds, very low! I soon hit drizzle, near sleet. Heading up into Stein’s Pass right on the state line, I hit snow. It continued through Lordsburg and all the way to Deming. It was not really sticking on the pavement, just wet and slushy, but at times the windshield wipers barely kept the view clear. There were still semis rolling and a few travelers, some of which who had to go 85+ whether they could see or not!!

A bit stressed, I stopped in Deming and went into Denny’s for coffee and pancakes. The precipitation would go a bit more to rain and then back to white flakes but I decided I could probably get home, so topped off the gas tank and headed on. Well before Las Cruces it stopped and there were even a few peeks of sun. Then as I crossed over I-25 on the east side of town and headed up into that wind-tunnel pass, it started to rain again and soon turned to more snow. Even on the east side down to the valley floor it continued. Finally a few miles short of the White Sands National Monument, I was once more out of anything wet and there was broken clouds the rest of the way home! I said a few prayers of thanks as I pulled into the carport and saw my dogs waiting at the back gate. 

Meanwhile, of course I had been following the two big sled dog races, the Yukon Quest in February and the Iditarod in March.  My special crew of female mushers were in both. Aliy ran and won the short YQ300 while Jessie Royer and Paige Drobney ran the main race. Paige finished sixth, which was really outstanding. Jessie was a few places behind her.

Michelle Phillips in YQ
The Iditarod was wild, heavy snow, over-warm temperatures and nasty winds and a lack of sea ice up the coast to Nome. Nic Petit’s dogs ‘quit’ on him and he scratched. Two older women who had planned to make this their final race also hit brick walls and had to stop. There were thirteen scratches from the original 52 starts. Finally it came down to a very close race between last year’s champ and a guy with a fine record in mid-distance from Bethel and he won.

Jessie Royer came in third, not far behind them, and Aliy a bit later for fourth. Paige ran a very close race with a young man who had won the YQ a couple of years ago, and he beat her by just a few minutes so she finished seventh. For the first time in history, three women made the top ten and I was fiercely proud of them. Some of the rookies and second time women racers made it all the way through many hardships and had some harrowing tales but They Did It and I am proud of them too.

Jessie and Aliy at 2019
 I'rod Awards

So now, with all that in the rear view mirror, it is time to face forward and perhaps make a small turn into the beginning of a new road. Yesterday I texted with a friend who is also a real estate agent in Arizona. In fact she sold brother Alex the home of which he was so proud although he only got to live in it a few months before his sudden and shocking passing. I asked her to recommend an agent in the Benson area and she volunteered, explaining that those who have listings there will be representing the sellers whereas she can represent the buyer, in this case, Charlie and me. He will be heading out early in April to visit that area and also to go up to Kingman and compare the relative merits of both locales before we set our sights solidly on one and begin the real push to locate, buy and move to our new home. It will be hard and hectic but also exciting and something to look forward to!

I’ll try at least for awhile to get back to regular posting, some memoirs and the next two or three to be essays on the art and craft of writing. Those are triggered by a variety of things such as some books I have read recently and a look back at my own efforts. My creative work is a bit inactive for now but I do plan and intend to get back to that endeavor as I can. I must either get into self publishing to get my old Gwynn Morgan books back out to the public or create some new work soon. My racy and LGBT tales from the Amber Quill days are going to all be out with my current publisher, JMS books, soon. I really do not think I can quit forever; I have always written and fiction has always been a bit part of that. Right now though, there is too much else to demand my time and focus. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Reasons Why--catching up again

I was about to miss a second regular Monday post and did not feel any fire to dig back into the memory bank. As most who read this know, I am a huge sled dog racing fan. This past week the Yukon Quest, the “other” big race, has been going on. It also covers nearly a thousand miles and runs back and forth between Canada and Alaska starting and ending in each on alternate years. This year it started in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory and will end in Fairbanks, Alaska with a winner crossing the line later this afternoon. The details are better for my other blog, the  gwynnmorganalaksa one so I will not go into that here.

Walton Home 1983. Porch in front left below. 

As it appeared Aug 2018

Instead I’ll share my other reason for being kind of off  track  lately. Probably no one here knows much of this; if any of you do, bear with me! My late husband grew up in Bisbee, in a neat old fashioned house which had been built in 1916 by Harrison Lavender, for whom the Lavender Pit is named. Mr. Lavender was a Phelps Dodge official. The senior Waltons bought it in about 1935 when Jim was a small kid. He grew up there and after his mother and his first wife had passed away, his dad made him half-owner to simplify inheritance.
When Roy Walton died in 1975 as a result of an auto accident, Jim let his eldest son live there for awhile to take care of the place since we were in Colorado at that time. Well, Malcolm did not keep up his part of the bargain very well. His caretaker duties were low in his priorities and the place steadily deteriorated. After we finally returned to Arizona we chose to live out nearer Fort Huachuca where I worked so the arrangement went on. Jim was very unhappy to see his old home sink lower and lower but he still could never quite issue an ultimatum. Then in 2003 he passed away suddenly, probably having forgotten he left the place in limbo.
I finally realized that fact and also that I was the most logical person to take charge and save it from going to the state as abandoned property or being sold for tax liens. I started with a title search last fall, finding the old Walton family home in Bisbee was still in Jim’s name as he had gained half ownership from his dad a few weeks before our marriage, exempting it from being community property. A probate type action was thus required.
I consulted Nathan Williams who had just started at Cardinal & Stachel when kid brother Alex died and had helped me with the last stages of settling Alex’s estate. Nathan and his current partner specialize in estate type matters so he seemed a good choice. He had a faint memory of Alex and of the work he did for me which was a toe in the door. He determined we could do a “small estate affidavit” which is kind of a mini-probate. Of course legal stuff goes slowly but I finally got the copies of the filed document making me the legal owner in late December.
In the title search I also discovered there were unpaid property taxes and started to try to catch that up but Nathan advised me to wait until the ownership was established. Two of the annual blocks, 2016 and 2017 had already been sold by the county. In Arizona, back tax liens are sold to private investors who over an extended period can eventually get title but that process is very slow; one must pay for a number of years. However once this happens, only the legal owner or a properly/officially designated agent of the owner can ‘redeem’ the property by paying the basic tax owed and some interest.  Alternately one can file an affidavit attesting that s/he is one or the other.
The amount increased from $1850 in September to $2500 in January since 2018 was now due and more interest had accrued. I had to borrow the money to pay this and finally dispatched a cashier’s check from my bank by certified mail on Jan 18th. A county employee signed for it on Jan 22, Jan 21 being a holiday. A few days later I received the check back with an unsigned form note and a copy of a receipt indicating that one Leslie A Walton (my son-in-law’s second wife) had made the payment on Jan 23!!!
I found that exceedingly strange, especially in terms of the timing. I believe someone had surreptitiously notified her or my stepson of the receipt of my payment and gave her a chance to ‘jump in’ illegally by holding mine a day or two. Well, I went ballistic and fired off a big packet addressed directly to the county treasurer.  I included  six supporting documents as enclosures and asked how and why my payment as legally documented owner had been returned while hers, despite her not being the owner or able to present any valid documentation that she was, had been accepted.
The day after that arrived (per the green card coming back) I got an email from the deputy treasurer that there had been an error; my payment was accepted and hers would be refunded.
Meanwhile I had written and sent a certified letter to my stepson and his wife with a copy to the other brother who also lives in Bisbee stating that I was now the legal owner and giving the history of Malcolm having neglected most if not all the conditions his dad had set on his occupancy of the house shortly after his grandfather had passed away in 1975.  The place has never been cared for well and was slowly falling to ruin and now not even the taxes were kept up. The original deal was thus null and void.
In effect he had lived there rent free for over forty years and done almost nothing that he had agreed to do. That all being the case I intended to sell the house before it was totally beyond repair and restoration. I’ve offered it to them for $45,000 with the only caveat that they would have to arrange financing as I would not carry a mortgage due to how my house in Whetstone had been allowed to go into foreclosure after they had sworn to me it would be caught up and taken care of.
Of course that foreclosure is still on my credit record having happened in 2014 and is very damaging.  The other options I offered were to voluntarily vacate or face a formal, legal eviction. They had until the first week of March (45 days) to get back to me or make a counter offer. Nothing has been done thus far.
About the first of February I put it up on Zillow, with no serious intention to sell at once but simply to see if it generated any interest and get an idea of what might be a reasonable price. I set the price at $65,000 for the purpose of this listing.  I’ve had a few nibbles and a ‘finder for speculators’ outfit in Phoenix even wanted to guarantee me $55,000 and try to find a buyer for 30 days. I politely declined for now.
So that is where it sets today. I’m waiting to see what other end run or challenge may come out but feel that my legal status is pretty secure. Occupying a place does not in and of itself confer ownership! And if one has the idea of ownership in mind, certain steps and actions would establish some intent and validity: primarily maintaining the property and keeping it lien free!!
Jim has been gone for over fifteen years and as a surviving son, Malcolm could have filed the same sort of claim I did and probably have gotten it done before I even heard of it –I would not have challenged it at any rate--since I have been out of the state for two thirds of that time. He did not do it apparently thinking he could just sit there in the cabbage patch and it would by some sleight of hand devolve to him. That is not how things work!
I am sure I am coming across and will be talked about in Bisbee if not further afield as the epitome of the wicked, grasping stepmother. Well, TOO DAMN BAD!! I will not make a strong effort at listing and selling the place until my deadline is very close but I do not expect them to respond at all to me. When I went to ask why the payments on the house I had essentially already given to David, making him half owner on the condition he made the payments, had fallen several months behind, they did not see fit to explain or actually to act though both solemnly told me they would.
For some unknown reason I had become a bad person–or they were embarrassed or unwilling to level with me??—but neither has communicated with me in any way since then. Phone calls are not returned and letters are not answered. I was deeply hurt and angry for awhile and did not reach out but felt they owned me something, at least a rationale! I had been the best de facto mom to David that I could and certainly had shared a lot of smaller things of Jim’s to them after his passing: tools, firearms and many other items of considerable value. What more did I need to do??
So yes, I am going to move ahead and put my stepson out on the street. Not literally since his wife has maintained a separate residence for several years and I am sure he could live there and his brother is also in Bisbee in either a rental or a house he may have bought (instead of keeping the home in Whetstone?) and would not leave Malcolm homeless. Am I greedy? Maybe but due to my credit being trashed, I cannot co-sign a loan with my brother for the new home we want and need or it will result in a much higher interest rate, either one limiting what we could qualify for.  I need therefore to make a down payment amount available as my part of this project.
We truly do need to leave New Mexico for both mental and physical health. We have found this town not to be comfortable and congenial and are at ages where good medical facilities nearby are almost a necessity. The hospital and most doctors here are abominable!! And New Mexico is truly a third world country, operating on a near par with Honduras and Valenzuela. Corruption is rampant and open and abuses are very common. So now I march in place a bit and see what happens next. If it were not my own drama, I could laugh and label it a bad soap opera. Maybe it really is.

And a post script: I had just hit save on this document yesterday when my phone rang, the alternate backup tracfone I had used in the Zillow ad. It was Malcolm. He said he could not raise the $45,000 but was sure he could have $40,000 in 10-14 days. I did not hesitate to accept. I may be “too easy” but I was not looking forward to a long drawn out legal hassle to get him out of the property and wanted to be as fair as I could. I think that will be enough to support Charlie and me in our move by providing a decent down payment and some help for the actual costs of moving. I am still not counting my chickens but feel maybe 70/30 certain that this will come to pass. I am hopeful. So we’ll see. Anyway that goes to show you just never know what is going to happen!

Monday, January 28, 2019

More on the Romance Addict

Going through some old papers recently I came across some pages from a notebook, not part of my regular journals, that I had put away goodness knows when. From the date on them, I wrote these short narratives in the spring of 1960, late in the school year I was out of school, when I was seventeen. It jolted to see how little I have changed in many things and also how painfully I reached for what I could not have at that time for many reasons. I am both a bit surprised at the serious and practical views I sometimes held and also at the pain and need I was feeling.That young woman still lives in me in many ways.

Below is a link to the recent post (14 Jan 2019)  on the subject of my romance addiction. I had no name for my malaise then, but it was certainly present! As a Crone or aged woman, it is pretty well conquered. Memories and writing suffice.
LINK: https://deirdre-fourds.blogspot.com/2019/01/memoir-monday-addicted-to-romance.html


I guess I was about fifteen when men started looking at me, not just a glance and away but really looking. I mean really looking, long slow looks that made you feel they were thinking things they probably shouldn’t. If you were a properly raised girl you probably felt a stir of guilt knowing you should be angry but you knew you weren’t. You liked it. If you had some rebel in your blood, you looked back at them and smiled. They’d smile in return, a bright, hungry smile and keep watching you with unveiled insolence until you dropped your gaze and turned away.  Even then, you could feel their stares boring into you, stripping you, taking your measure. You started wondering if something was too tight, critically ripped or your blouse was unbuttoned too far.

I don’t remember who the first one was but there were many after him. I do remember how I felt and how I fell passionately in love with each of them and was grieved and enraged when one after anther turned out to be married. I don’t know what drew them to me: these tanned, hungry-eyed, almost angry seeming and easy-talking men who stayed late in town after work because they were in no hurry to get home.

What was home? A plain little house or a cramped trailer and a frowzy blonde or redhead, probably heavy with child, short tempered and perpetually too tired, nothing like the cute little chick they had married a year or two or five ago. The romance—or maybe the lust—had worn off and it now seemed a terrible mistake so they pretended to be carefree young bachelors again. They drank too much, fought and flirted, raced their cars or their horses or motorcycles while their wives sat home and grew sad faced and bitter, older than their years. That was how young America lived, especially in the west and the south. 

A guy can look at you in a lot of ways. They can compliment your politely and you feel flattered. A guy’s eyes can slide up and down you slowly, insolently, with a leer. With them, you feel like he is mentally taking you to bed. Others strip you, put you in black lingerie, a brief bathing suit or a dancer’s tights that leave little to be imagined. From one you feel valued and from the others you feel cheapened and slandered with an ugly label.

A man can look at you with a personal tenderness, a look as intimate as a touch, a look that tells you you’re the only thing he sees or wants to see. That look can say a lot of things. A man can kiss you with his eyes and even if there is a crowd of hundreds around, no one will know except the two of you.


A person’s honor is an odd thing. I know some wild girls. They are not much concerned about who they date in terms of the guy’s reputation but there are some guys even they avoid. Maybe they would give in to a guy they really liked but they scorn girls who can be bought.

They all stand by one principal though. They hate to see a shotgun wedding where the bride dresses in white and wears a veil, puts on a big wedding show. With brutal honesty they say, “No use trying to pretend to be what you aren’t. If you are not a virgin, especially if you’re pregnant, you have no right to have a fancy wedding. You’ve forfeited that privilege.” It takes some courage to say that—especially if you are trying to decide what color you  are going to be married in, probably eloping or at most having a very small and informal kind of ceremony.


Of course I am not old enough to get married and I don’t want to get too serious but I want someone to care for. Maybe you mature physically more quickly than in other ways. You feel needs and wants that you can’t understand, much less satisfy, but like huger and thirst, they need answering.

At my age some girls are married. At least most of them are going steady and have an outlet for their pent up feelings. You need to know that people care about you. The love of your parents, relatives and friends is good and necessary but there is something about the feel of a special guy’s are around you, his hand holding yours that cannot be replaced.

It is some desperate need to belong to someone, I guess. I think it is in a woman. She wants, like a horse, to be responsive to someone and to count on him to care for and protect her.  At seventeen or so you can be told that all your life is ahead of you and it doubtlessly is, but there are still those voices hollering inside of you. How are you to answer them?

It is an itch, a fever in me, just to touch him. To run my fingers over the planes of his face and feel the roughness of his sideburns and the living hardness of his body, to feel the warmth of his lips against mine and his fingers curled around my hand. To know he is mine and no one else’s. What I want or need is just to share his strength and know the security, the tenderness and the wonder of his love. Is that too much to ask? Too great a wish to want a man of my own? I have so little else; don’t deny me this.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Regressions to Help Phobias

I'm a day late but it was a Sunday Monday yesterday and a Monday Tuesday today so that's my story and I stick to it! Here's the Monday Memoir anyway.

I am aware everyone who reads this is not going to accept there is such a thing as reincarnation. That’s okay. I do believe but even if it is just a quirk of one’s mind, going back to the past, real or imagined, can help to ease the hold of old traumas and phobias that bring you down.

I’ve had a life long fear of water and the idea of drowning. This is one I have not been able to fully resolve or even help. I say it is because the drowning in a recent past life is still too immediate and difficult for me to deal with. No, I am sure I did not go down with the Titanic or anything nearly so exotic. I may have been on a vessel sunk in war, possibly in WWI. Perhaps I can work on this one someday or resolve it before I come back around again.

Another example, I have always had a dislike for high necked shirts, choker style necklaces and the
Melinda and me in Oct 2014
like. If anyone put hands near my throat or around my neck, I freaked out. After having had a couple of professional regressions—my dear friend Melinda Rucker Haynes is licensed hypnotherapist as well as a wonderful writer—I learned how to do some brief ones myself. Some years ago I was cooking dinner and had a flash.

I used Melinda’s opening cue—what do you have on your feet? “Why jackboots, o’ course,” came the ready answer from a voice in my head. Turned out I was in England about Elizabethan times and was a wild younger son of minor nobility. I played at being a highway man and got caught. My elder brother who wanted to rid himself of an embarrassment had me hung as a horse thief. Whoa! That was a shocker. I was not totally cured but from then on the issue was much less of a serious inconvenience. I could wear turtlenecks and necklaces that did not fall to mid chest! I could even stand a gentle touch around my throat or neck.

Then from my teen years on, I was troubled with very severe menstrual cramps almost every month. I could usually force myself to carry on with my “cowboy girl” duties which normally involved several hours of strenuous riding and other heavy work but I spent many nights in tears, with a hot water bottle on my middle and as many aspirin as I dared to take. The agony continued on into my middle years and I occasionally even had to miss work because I hurt so bad I was nauseous.  My husband had learned some hands on healing or pain taking techniques from an old Manx miner he knew as a boy and he could sometimes pull some of the pain for me but I still suffered.

One evening in my early forties I was curled up in my favorite chair listening to some Celtic music, probably the Chieftains, and drifting after downing  a couple of Excedrins when I faded out for a bit. I found myself as a young girl in the Mediterranean area close to 2000 years ago. I was the daughter of a well-to-do Jewish merchant whose home was a walled compound near a major city. I had an older brother and envied his freedom to go off with his friends. One day I sneaked out and followed them. They were drawn to a crowd to hear someone like St Paul speaking. He had harsh things to say about the sins of mother Eve and the dangers of women leading good upright men to sin. I fled, shocked and deeply troubled. Although I made it home undetected, that night my first period came and I was terrified it was punishment for my willful misbehavior and evidence of my sinfulness.  I soon came back to myself but with a vague memory that a couple of years later I was wed to an older man in an arranged marriage and died in childbirth after my first pregnancy.

Wow, that was a jolt! In this life I have borne no children, whether by some deep subconscious choice or just fate. Still, from that time on I did suffer less in the succeeding several years before I came to my end of those cycles and began my time as a Crone or older (wise?!) woman! I’d called it “Eve’s curse” or “The monthly miseries” for some thirty years or more  but after that vision I started to realize how natural female cycles are condemned and denigrated by the paterno-centric society and religious environment in which we live. We are supposed to suffer for the original sin of Eve and the flawed nature of feminine beings! What a foul lie! I weep now for my daughter and granddaughters (step-family but no less loved) who are still struggling with this burden.

While I am mostly supportive of the #metoo movement, the pink pussy hats and all the rest of today’s current women’s efforts, I feel they are really not going to the root of the issues. Until we can go back to full acceptance of a female deity, even a primary female deity, and women can openly express their devotion for a “god who looks like me,” we will continue to have conflicts, disrespect, abuse and contempt from males. True, individual men can be very supportive, respectful and understanding but they too labor under the same notion that “God” is a male and thus males are His favored and most honored, in His image and somehow vastly superior to the female version of humanity. In that view women are almost a necessary evil since man cannot produce the next generation on his own. Yet what else could they possibly be useful for? While half the human race—regardless of color, ethnicity and creed—are considered second class citizens how can we attain the highest goals?

So I hope perhaps some other regressions will eventually lead me to many more ways to work on this myself. Meanwhile all I can do is write, think, talk and pray to MY Female Deity that we can begin to make real progress in this and other related ongoing issues.