I, too, followed my passions from mathematics to writing. When I landed over my head at Rice University, I turned the math major into a double major in psychology, with a lot of English Literature thrown in. That was the start of my shift away from becoming a scientist like Gramps and Daddy.
Baby-boomers on the tail end of the flower child movement, Jim, my future and present husband, and I abandoned our likely big oil opportunities in Houston. Over the protests of his parents, we left the city driving a bomb of car, our 1963 Ford Galaxy, and pulling a U-Haul trailer. Our plan was to head to Santa Fe where we’d heard one could get good-paying jobs in restaurants. As we drove away, a double rainbow formed behind us. Encouraged by this omen, we pulled into Santa Fe two days later and searched the want ads for a place to live.
At that point, Guadalupe street (today a thriving neighborhood full of restaurants, boutiques, and alternative cinemas) was dirt, lined with auto body shops, and the area west of it was clearly non-gentrified. Anglo residents were a rarity. We were young enough not to worry much about infiltrating the old Hispanic neighborhood, and the price of a rental was right. Fifty-five dollars a month.
This picture was taken in 1977, a month after our son was born. By then we’d gotten married in a mountain meadow, cleaned up the condemned upstairs portion of the house, and I’d given birth there by kerosene light. We’d probably already been told we needed to move out, infant or no. The improvements we’d made, such as the carpeted ladder set in a downstairs closet that led to the still primitive upstairs where we slept, the murals on the fireplace, painted by Marek, an English artist we’d met on the plaza and temporarily adopted, the plastic solar greenhouse on the upstairs balcony—Jim’s first—and the vegetable garden, dirt improved with truckloads of manure and compost and double digging, were all left behind.
All but the garden dirt, that is. Jim filled his pickup and hauled it away to our new home. The landlord was not amused. He threatened to kill Jim if he ever set foot on the property again.