Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Year To Call My Own

Of my fifty years on this earth, I have lived only one of them on my own. That was 1979 to 1980. Even though I was the only person paying the rent on my humble abode, I was never truly alone and in reflection all of these years later, I wish I would have taken advantage of the short time to really get to know myself. Instead, I was on the cusp of making choices that would form the path the rest of my life would journey down. But for that one year, I was all mine.

When I want to end a love relationship I find it difficult to just say, “We’re over.” I’m too gullible and I find myself back and forth, unable to break the ties for good. My solution, then, is to physically remove myself; basically I flee the state hoping that geographic distance can do what my heart cannot. That’s what happened in 1979. It was time to break it off with Michael but he wasn’t making it easy.

I’ll show him I said. Using what little money I had I purchased a 1970 Willy Jeep truck, a camper that fit over the bed, packed up all my belongings, which included my dog Babe, my cat Natasha, Zeppo my cockatiel, and headed north.

Once again I was optimistic that everything would turn out alright. I had nothing but a location to go to; no job or friendly face awaited me; as usual I leapt first and hoped for the best. In Jacksonville, Oregon I had heard about Dogs for the Deaf. Wally Ross, one of my mentors during my EATM years told me that a fellow animal trainer by the name of Roy Kabat had started a program in Oregon and that I might be able to get a job there. That’s all the motivation I needed so off I went.

Getting settled took a bit of doing, but once again things just fell into place and soon I had a job and a place to live. Of course I don’t do things the normal way; my “home” was in my camper (I soon traded up and rented a travel trailer) and parked myself on the Applegate River. The property I stayed on belonged to one Harlan Paige Bosworth, an old man whose land was used for the annual summer jazz festival and who graciously allowed my presence. I literally had the river, a campfire, and the sounds, sights, and smells of nature right outside my front door. It was heaven.

Can't you just hear the sound of the river?

Babe, my constant companion
The first job I acquired and kept throughout my time there was at a steak house. I also talked my way into the Dogs for the Deaf job so everything was working out just as I’d hoped. If only Michael, the jilted love I’d left behind in California would have left me alone. Instead, he was a constant presence in my sanctuary and eventually he would once again wear me down.

Within a year I would find myself packed up and heading south. I would be a wife by summer and a mother by next fall. My year alone on the river would become a sweet memory lost to the years of making a life that was ahead of me.

It’s when I look at the pictures of that time in Oregon that I yearn for the simple life I led; aside from all the emotional turmoil I was in, it really was a year of wonder. And it was all mine.

I'll find my way back there again someday, soon.


Dee said...

Enjoyed your blog thoroughly. Reminded me of . . . . me! Thanks.

Donna B said...

Hi Lisa, awesome post. Let's have lunch soon so we can talk about our single independent adventures. My youngest daughter was due to have her son on the I am waiting THE CALL...
hugs to you.