Thursday, June 3, 2010

Conference of spirits on memoirs covering the 'old' days in the wild west

Header made by Connie reminds me so much of the kind of life my uncles and my father led on their father's cattle ranches in Boulder. I have reported to them a great deal of difficulty writing my memoirs of the 'old days' because of the homosexual activities I perceived that were practiced among some of the cowboys spending many long days camped out on the distant cattle ranges. Better roads and 4-wheel drive pick-ups made some of this camping out no longer necessary with I am sure a corresponding drop in such activities. My Uncle Max who I remember talking to me when I was about 3 was killed not long after in a rodeo in Escalante. Even though he had been raised on a horse if anyone was he was thrown and his head hit a stone. He never regained consciousness. He was only 21 years old.
MAX: Yes, I remember being thrown and that was my last memory. It was a very hard blow for me to accept at my young age, but I have spent many years on this side acting as a guardian angel to my living relatives, going about listening to conversations, studying the issues that would so impact the family during those years. I was joined a few years later by my nephew Stewart who was killed in an alcohol related death when he was only 22. He and I became close companions still riding the cattle trails of Boulder, trying to understand our western heritage, our lives as cowboys whose wild reckless ways led to our early deaths.
GERRY: Yes, Max and Stewart who were legends to me. Tall red haired Stewart racing the mail truck riding a horse across Death Holler trail while the first truck to carry the mail went over the mountain past Posy Lake. You had a great deal to do with the mail, too, with you and your brother Reed with a contract to carry it between Escalante and Boulder to one of the last towns the US mail was delivered by mule train in the US. This indeed was rugged country not even destined to acquire electricity or running water until I was fifteen years old.
MAX: The machine age had barely begun to arrive when I was killed. We spent our lives on horses and as it turned out I died being thrown from one. I have naturally taken a big interest in your memoirs but I am aware of how difficult your view of the King family is going to be to get published, get past all the people who have an interest in keeping the truth suppressed. I will tell you why. It is about image. Many do not want to know that any tough cowboys would turn to each other as a sexual outlet when women were missing in their lives for weeks on end. Do not want to believe that younger teens were taken along to satisfy these needs, who knew that is what was going to happen to them and accepted it to get work or because they were high pressured into it. This is a dark part of history in our western past, so that is why it is going to be hard to get it written. But I know what a toll this has taken in the King family alone. I consider that this is the issue that helped get both Stewart and me both killed. We were so depressed with what was going on, what it was doing to our families and our lives, that we didn't really care whether we lived or died. I planned to be a lawyer, but I despaired to think of how I could ever surface what I knew was happening even in my own family. In a sense I felt I was sacrificed to keep the secrets of the shadow men secret.
GERRY: I have managed to stay alive despite having witnessed enough of this behavior as a child to grow suspicious about the part my own dad and your brother played in these secret ceremonies. I had to keep quiet about him for many years to protect people in the family as well as myself. Now with great difficulty I am trying to reveal what things I saw and suspected in my memoirs.
MAX: You will be counseled as much as possible by those beyond who want these things told so as to restore health to the family that will not disappear all too easily in suppression, secrets, and lies. Restore greater mental health to a west plagued with alcoholism. To Utah which has been the scene of other unhealthy practices to do with polygamy which is why they are so protective of those who cross the line, as long as they keep it secret. There is a lot of pressure not to reveal such truths and as long as they are suppressed, violations of teens and children rights will not get stomped out. I am speaking as one who studied the law from this vantage point and know how the law has been violated.
GERRY: Our rights were violated from not being able to accuse. We did not dare. There would have been too many repercussions.
MAX: If child molestation cannot be reported there are serious problems in a society. I knew why you did not dare report Bill Isabel even though he was a stranger, a wanderer. It was because your dad was involved with him. I saw that from this vantage point. I saw when it happened. I knew my brother. It made me sick at heart. But I also knew that my brother's involvement went way back to when he was a kid and his rights were violated. This was generational. He grew up and did what had been done to him. That's the way it happened there. Rather than do that, I think I submitted to my own death. I was too sick at heart to live, too disillusioned.
GERRY: I can see that happening. It almost happened to me. It almost took my death to take a stand, to try to change something. My dad had to know that I would die before he could break me. I was going to tell the truth and he could not stop me.
MAX: Oh, I saw this happen. Clyde was terrified of mental illness. He could see for himself something terrible had happened in there to you. You were barely alive when you came out.
GERRY: They tried to break me with terror of electric shock. I had to stand up to them, say you are the ones who are crazy, I am just trying to get the guts to tell what happened, and you are trying to stop me, close my mouth, call me crazy. I told it for the first time in there. I named Bill Isabel and I told what he did to me. I guess the doctor told Daddy and Mother and he had to face it for the first time. He could not brow beat me any more. I had been brow beat clear into the ground. Daddy could see it in my eyes, that I would die before he broke me.
MAX: It was terrible to see what it was going to take to back your dad down, so he could let you tell the truth. You had to be willing to die to defy him. We all sat wondering if you would live through it, if you were strong enough. Just to get the words out. My dad took bull whips to people for a reason. It was his message about what he would do to us if we violated his law, which was deny, do not tell. He broke his sons, one by one. We could not stand up to him when we drank. The only way you were going to be able to stand up to your dad was not to drink. After you started coming out of it, I thought well, she is strong, she is going to live to tell her story. Someday. I knew it would take a long time for you to do it, you had to build the strength, you had to survive, get past all the obstacles.
GERRY: What has happened to Daddy?
MAX: What happens to all criminals in this world, what happened to our dad. He has had to do retribution. And repentance. He is coming along. He has finally accepted his behavior as wrong no matter how many excuses he had for it. He brought a predator into his family life through his own indulgences. There was no way he was not partly responsible because of his lies and his violations of trust. He loved you but he put you in harm's way.

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