In 1994 my husband, Chuck, and I pulled up stakes and ran away from home.
After a truly difficult year of the exacerbation that led to the diagnosis of MS and the end of my neurosis, we felt the need to change our air.
I was unable to do a lot of the things that we had done together, Chuck needed to fulfill his desire to return to his familial home. Our children had reached the age of majority and we were afraid that at one, maybe two were going to be permanent residents.
Charles W [Chuck] and I met in early 1970, from the first date were constant companions. We were matched emotionally and mentally. He was divorced and I was divorce and looking for compatible companionship. We found it and joined his five children and my one son into the state of Holy Matrimony. Soon there was a set of twin girls added. Our house was full, and had a revolving door for his children, they came and went on their whim or their mothers whim. This is difficult for any relationship, our was no different. We were committed to each other and we survived the children. If nothing else it drew us closer, we became joined at the hip so to speak.
The years of my neurosis [That was doctor speak for my many undiagnosed symptoms] were trying. I had spent many months with constant headaches working full a full-time job and trying to raise our blended family. There were times of unexplained numbness and extreme fatigue that would come out nowhere and be gone into nowhere just as quickly. I had just about given up and accepted the neurosis explanation, when I forgot how to walk in a straight line. I even asked the diagnosing neurologist if it was terminal neurosis that I had. He assured me that it was MS and I should just go home and be glad that I wasn’t any worse than I was. Easy for him to say. He got fired right there on the spot. I had lived with these unexplained things since before we buried my mother who died from complications of MS twenty years earlier. I found a good and sympathetic Neurologist. I’ve kept her for all these years. They tell me MS is not inheritable. Tell that to my daughter that was just diagnosed with MS a few years ago.
Anyway, back to running away. I was not able to do a lot of things that we had spent our married lives doing anymore and moving to Montana was a lot better than staying in the city. He had inherited the childhood home of his mother, the Central Hotel in Radersburg. This was our destination.
The hotel was more a boarding house than a hotel by current standards. It was built in about 1867 of hand hewed logs and grafted scavenged buildings. At one time in the heyday of the mining boom the number of guests was in excess of 20 men. This, in a small 6 room space, and the family of 6 lived there. The only way I can figure the accommodations working out is that they slept in shifts and shared beds.
We bought an adjacent property, the closed grocery store. We re-opened the store and ran it for 10 years.
In Montana driving long distances is not a problem, everything is a long drive away. The closest gas station is 20 miles away, we did OK until the wild fires of 2000. The fires forced the closure of public lands, this stopped the summer traffic for two summers due to fire danger and smokey conditions. Summer traffic was the mainstay of the business, losing that was more than we could tolerate business wise or financially.
Then, cancer joined our family. Esophageal cancer to be precise. What a terrible disease cancer is. My big strong husband of almost 40 years did not have the strength to fight this demon. His 6 ft., 200 pound frame dwindled to a frail shadow of his former self, it took him less than two years to lose the battle.
I am happy that he had the opportunity to make it back to the family home, it is too bad that he didn’t live longer to enjoy more of it.
I took his middle daughter to decorate his grave today [Memorial Day], she will be buried alongside us in the family plot of the pioneer cemetery that is the resting place of two of his aunts, his grandparents, one uncle and his sister and brother-in-law. His niece and great nephews are talking about sites there also.
I became a widow in a place that I was not native to but allowed me to be part of. I am grateful for their quiet acceptance of this vagabond girl from nowhere in particular. [Born in Utah, left at three weeks of age and lived in the back seat of a car always headed to the next grand adventure]
That was 6 years ago, I am still on the great adventure. I do like where I have ended up. I am looking to see what is in store for this girl from nowhere in particular.