This wonderful new life in Arizona drifted by in soft, stress free days and nights. Always something to do. Always something new to see. This pinon pine scented town with the glorious snow covered even in summer San Francisco peaks in the distance had grabbed me and didn't want to let me go. The Grand Canyon was a stone's throw away. The Petrified Forest. Sedona. And these lively college students were always doing something. And going somewhere. And the back of those VW vans were filled to the brim with these happy, laughing teenagers ready and willing to find the next adventure. And they were from all over the country. All over the world! San Francisco. New York City. Seattle. India! . A black one. A brown one. A gay one. All I ever knew were people from my own home town. White people. Straight. Catholic or Protestant. No one came from anywhere else. Born and raised in our little city. Lived and died there. Didn't go anywhere or see anything or do anything out of the ordinary. The only people going somewhere were the young boys that were going to Vietnam. but some of them never did come back. They came home zipped up in plastic bags. eighteen, nineteen, twenty year old boys whose only venture out of our little town was a swampy, smoky hell hole that they wished they never layed eyes on but they had no choice. Their number was called and they were gone and the mothers wept and the fathers tried to be brave and say it was for the good of the country but we all had our doubts because what good would this do for us and what good would this do for anyone. My brother was one of the lucky ones. His asthma kept him home. He wanted to go cause his buddies were going and it seemed like the right thing to do if you didn't know any better and at least it got you away from home and the dull, boring factory that was looming in the distance if that was all they said you were good for. if you weren't smart enough or had enough money or your parents didn't push you or encourage you to do or be anything else. Because the factory was good enough for us so why wouldn't it be good enough for you. Why be anything more or achieve anything more because who do you think you are one of the Kohler kids? So my brother got smart... He wasn't pushed to go to college. He didn't have the grades for college. He didn't have the money for college. But he did his homework and found a college that would take him and off he went when I was a Sophomore in high school. And then he came back and got me because I was factory bound as I knew nothing else and I too wasn't encouraged for anything else and maybe I'd get married and have kids and my husband would support me or maybe I'd get that factory job and just live at home and take care of my mother which was how it was suppose to go. But my brother came and he got me out because he knew I deserved more than this and he wanted to show me that there was more out there and if I wanted it I could have it and if I wanted more it was there for me and if he could do it so could I...
I was born again in Arizona and my soul rose out of that murky dark spot inside of me and no one was going to make me leave it and I would find a way to stay cause not for one single second was I going back to that hell hole that was my life now that my spirit was illuminated by this new found freedom
and no way was I going to live and die in the same place and marry someone that I didn't love just to get
out of the house and have children I couldn't take care of cause I couldn't even take care of myself...I was prepared for nothing. I only knew how to dodge the bullets that were verbal and abusive and maybe not
the bullets of Vietnam but bullets just the same and when my number was called I dodged and I ran and I kept running and no one was going to stop me now. Because when you taste freedom it is the most delectable thing and the thing you want more than you even knew you wanted and once you tasted it there was no turning back. So I decided to stay in Flagstaff. And I dropped a dime with trembling fingers into the payphone slot and I reversed the charges and I called my parents. and I told them I was not coming home. and they told me not over their dead bodies. and i hung up the phone. and i walked away from that phone booth. and they were not going to get me back. not over my dead body cause i would rather be dead then go back to that hell hole of a house and the anger that lived there. and the fear that lived there. and the no hope and no future and no promise of better things to come. and so I walked away from that phone and i walked away from them because the softness and the tranquility and the pinon pine scented mountain top town was where i wanted to be and that is where i was going to stay.