Storms on the Horizon

Pat's transition period in Doug and Gen's apartment went on for a long time, extending into Gen's recovery. Pat was still living with Doug and Gen when I moved back to Utah in early 1975. With all that togetherness, I can't figure how Doug and Pat ever managed to have their trysts, but tryst they did.

A coming stormAfter I'd been living in Utah for a couple of months, I got a gloomy phone call from Becky, who bore some startling news. First, our sister Susan was only our half-sister. Second, Doug was having an affair with Pat, right under Gen's nose. Gen found out about it, had taken off with Doug's car, and nobody knew where she was.

Where Gen was was on the road. She called me shortly after Becky called. Gen was lead-footing it west on I-80, back to Utah, headed for my house, filled with indignation and venom, high on justifiable anger, fleeing from overwhelming stress now that she didn't have kids under her control on whom to relieve herself.

I was married to Robert Kaiser by then. We had bought a house on the southwest side of Logan, Utah. We lived there with our friend, Bruce, Bruce's border collie, and our two Siamese cats. Bruce lived in the basement. Robert and I lived upstairs, where we had two bedrooms--one of which served as an office--a bathroom, and a spacious kitchen that held a cobbled-together table with two chairs, as well as a living room made from an enclosed front porch. We had no living room furniture because--as disciplined yoga students--we sat on the carpeted floor. We gave Gen our waterbed and made a bed for ourselves on the office floor. The accommodations weren't ideal for a woman recovering from a debilitating back injury, but Gen didn't complain. We fed her on fresh homemade whole wheat bread, herbal tea, and vegetarian fare. We made her part of the family, even to the point of teaching her to smoke pot when she expressed an interest.

Gen and I drove down to Ogden to visit my stepsister, Larkann, who had recently given birth to her first child, whom Larkann named Genevieve. Gen had a tender moment in an easy chair in Larkann's tidy living room, holding a sleepy tiny Genevieve over her shoulder and enjoying every nuance of the experience. It surprised me. I hadn't seen a lot of affection for children in Gen in recent years.

Gen stayed a couple of weeks and began to get her head together after a fashion. We drove to Salt Lake City and Bear Lake and all over the Wasatch mountains in between, pondering Gen's options while I absorbed her grief and rage. As the raw emotion dissipated, she began to make phone calls to Doug. Pat had quit the AFGE job and returned to her husband in Salt Lake. Doug wanted to reconcile. Gen wanted to reconcile. I thought it was the stupidest thing either of them could possibly consider.

Gen began to prepare for the trip back to Virginia. I was dubious about her ability to make it safely. She was no longer bouyed up by the energy of emotional trauma and she was prone to falling asleep at the wheel. I decided to quit my job at Utah State University so I could accompany her back to Arlington and stick around for the next thing. We plotted a route back east along southern back roads to avoid winter weather and interstate highways.