forgiveness

Stories of an American tourist’s encounter with the secret police in 1970s Iran, overcoming hate in the grocery store, An Eastern African girl’s first experience in America and an American tourist in Paris just trying to find some relief.
Marc Moss hosts Tell Us Something Radio, in which you'll hear four stories recorded during live Tell Us Something events held in Missoula. The stories in this program include a young Jewish boy struggling to please his father, a second-generation immigrant who takes his family to a lake in Michigan as a result of a family story, an important discovery in the basement of the New York City Public Library and a theatre director whose car breaks down on a mountain pass during a time of great chaos. This special Father’s Day edition of Tell Us Something Radio features stories about fathers and sons shared by your community -- regular everyday Montanans with a story to share. Stories were recorded in front of a live audience. Steven Begleiter “My Father and Football” (June 2015) Alex Alviar - "Invisible Scripts (June 2015) Ed Stalling “A Gift For Dad” (February 2015) David Mills-Lowe “Fixing Windmills” (or) “Saying Goodbye to Dad” (May 2012)
In this week's podcast, you'll hear a forgiveness story about a young student’s misbehavior, a young woman’s survival story, the kindness of strangers on a train and a lifetime of love stories.

Transcript : Didn't See That Coming (part 1)

00:08
welcome to tell us something
00:10
every tell us something event is focused
00:12
on a theme
00:15
tonight’s theme is didn’t see that
00:17
coming
00:20
aaron parrott is a professor of english
00:23
at the university of providence
00:25
he and his most recent book he he
00:29
has his
00:32
he’s an author and his most recent book
00:36
is maple and lead it’s a collection of
00:39
short stories with woodcuts by seth
00:41
robey
00:42
he also runs the territorial press in
00:44
helena montana
00:45
devoted to fine letter press editions of
00:48
handcrafted montana literature
00:50
please welcome aaron parrott i used to
00:53
be a really bad kid
00:56
uh and worse than that i hung out with a
00:59
lot of other really bad
01:00
kids and in eighth grade
01:04
it was sort of this perfect storm of
01:06
badness
01:07
and that we all ended up in the same
01:09
eighth grade homeroom and worse than
01:12
that the regular teacher
01:14
about a third of the way through the
01:15
year
01:17
i think she got sick or there was a
01:19
death in the family or something and she
01:20
left and so we got a substitute teacher
01:22
for the rest of the year
01:26
you can already see where this is going
01:30
um and we just treated this
01:33
poor teacher horribly miss
01:36
porzig was her name uh
01:40
and two things i remember really vividly
01:42
my friend rod storley
01:45
i think we all got into chewing
01:46
copenhagen around this time
01:48
and her strategy was the the worst kid
01:50
in the class she would put behind her
01:52
at her desk facing the rest of the class
01:56
but then she couldn’t see what that
01:57
person was doing
01:59
and so he’s sitting at her desk chewing
02:01
copenhagen and opening the drawers and
02:03
spitting into the drawers told you we
02:06
were bad
02:08
um and i ended up in the principal’s
02:11
office
02:12
because i think i discovered william
02:14
burroughs around this time also
02:17
and i would sit in my in my desk and
02:20
just
02:20
shake like this and say i need a fix i
02:22
need a fix
02:24
and so i ended up in the principal’s
02:26
office
02:28
but the thing was we go to the
02:29
principal’s office and the principal
02:30
says so what’s he doing
02:32
and then my teacher says i need
02:36
and it was so goddamn funny seeing my
02:38
teacher do this
02:39
but of course i laughed but the
02:42
principal didn’t think that was very
02:43
funny
02:45
and the really ironic thing is i don’t
02:47
remember what punishment i got
02:49
i do remember he called my parents and
02:50
that was probably
02:52
punishment enough but i don’t recall
02:56
what the punishment was relative to the
02:58
class
02:59
and that was really the last i
03:03
remembered of the class
03:04
those two highlights and then i went on
03:07
to high school
03:08
and became an even worse person
03:13
but then my biggest crime there was i
03:15
just skipped school a lot
03:17
and finally i got expelled or i was
03:20
about to be expelled
03:21
and instead of kicking me out i tried
03:23
the project for alternative learning
03:26
which changed my life it really
03:29
turned me around in the following way
03:32
the first day i went into this
03:33
project for alternative learning it was
03:35
on the may at the may butler
03:36
center on rodney street i sit in the
03:40
principal’s office there
03:41
and he says well what do you want to
03:43
what do you want to learn
03:45
and because i was kind of a smart ass i
03:48
said philosophy
03:50
and he said well we we don’t teach that
03:52
here but let me enroll you down at
03:54
carroll college
03:56
and he got on the phone and literally 10
03:58
minutes later i was signed up for
04:00
classes at carroll college
04:03
the the most important one and the one i
04:06
really remember was
04:09
i think it was an ethics class or survey
04:11
of philosophy with dr barry first
04:14
and i loved it he he was a great teacher
04:17
and apparently i was a great student you
04:20
know 16 years old in a juvenile
04:22
delinquent at helen high but
04:24
put me in the right atmosphere and
04:26
suddenly i turned around and
04:28
i remember he invited me to his house
04:31
for dinner
04:33
you know i’m 16 or 17 years old and just
04:36
was amazed that you know somebody was
04:39
taking me this seriously
04:41
so my girlfriend and i go to
04:44
to his house and knock on the door
04:49
and the woman that answers the door is
04:51
my eighth grade teacher
04:58
but she was very gracious and invited us
05:00
in and we had a great dinner
05:02
great conversation and at the end of the
05:05
night i think i fumbled some
05:08
some muttered apology for what i’ve done
05:10
in eighth grade
05:12
and to her credit she just said oh
05:15
i don’t think it’s as bad as you
05:17
remember and you seem pretty bored back
05:20
then i’m glad to see that you’ve
05:21
turned it around and found something
05:24
that interests you
05:26
and i guess this story is really about
05:29
forgiveness but also the power of a good
05:31
teacher
05:34
elizabeth rivard grew up in a very large
05:37
family in buffalo new york
05:40
she fell in love with stories at the
05:42
family dining room table
05:44
where they were a regular occurrence
05:48
being one of the youngest siblings she
05:50
was mostly a listener
05:52
her family still shares stories when
05:54
they get together
05:56
it’s one of their favorite things to do
05:58
they’ve got some doozies
06:02
elizabeth has changed the names of some
06:04
of the characters in her story
06:06
a quick warning for some of our
06:08
sensitive listeners
06:10
victoria’s story addresses sexual abuse
06:13
with frank language please welcome
06:16
elizabeth rivard
06:17
oh sorry welcome elizabeth
06:22
as mark told you i’m from a large family
06:25
it’s a large catholic family you know
06:28
usually it’s catholic or mormon
06:30
so um
06:34
i was born in 1962 and i have
06:38
three older brothers six older sisters
06:42
and a little brother who’s five years
06:44
younger than me
06:46
so when i was growing up it was the 60s
06:50
early 70s for this
06:53
story and um
06:56
my older siblings were teenagers
07:00
and my brothers were eligible for the
07:03
draft
07:04
but luckily they had high draft numbers
07:08
um and they were all good liberals
07:12
and out protesting the vietnam war
07:16
occasionally getting arrested and
07:19
on friday nights my parents like to go
07:22
out they played bridge and belonged to a
07:24
bridge club so they would go out on
07:26
friday nights
07:28
and my siblings would put the colored
07:30
light bulbs in
07:32
and have parties at our house
07:35
with music and dancing and drinking and
07:38
getting stoned and
07:39
occasionally tripping and while they
07:42
were babysitting
07:43
me and my little brother and a few of
07:45
the other siblings and whatnot
07:47
so this is this is the environment that
07:49
i grew up in
07:52
it was a great family loving family but
07:55
there was a lot
07:56
going on and not only that but my
08:01
grandmother lived with us so that
08:02
at for a period of years there there
08:05
were 14 people living in our house with
08:07
one and a half bathrooms
08:10
and i was the lucky one that got to
08:12
share a bedroom
08:13
with my grandmother and she was
08:17
going blind from glaucoma and
08:21
senile and not only that
08:25
she suffered from depression um
08:29
after her husband had died a number of
08:31
years before
08:34
and twice she had attempted suicide
08:37
while we
08:37
shared a room together one time
08:41
she slit her wrist and another time she
08:43
overdosed on sleeping pills
08:46
and i do have some vague memories of
08:49
that
08:52
so it was frightening for me
08:56
um so
08:59
fast forward to when i’m about 11 years
09:01
old
09:03
and there was a neighbor an older
09:06
gentleman
09:06
who was a gentleman i used that word
09:08
loosely but
09:10
he was a world war ii veteran and
09:13
he used to sit out on his porch and
09:16
sometimes myself or two of my
09:18
girlfriends
09:20
sharon and julie for this story uh
09:25
we would go on the porch and talk to him
09:27
and
09:28
he would ask us to go and get the
09:30
newspaper for him or a
09:32
quart of milk or something we would go
09:34
to the store for him and he’d give us a
09:37
a quarter or whatever and we would buy
09:39
candy and in those days you could
09:41
get a decent amount of candy for a
09:43
quarter
09:45
and then we started going in his house
09:49
and cleaning for him sometimes
09:52
the house was
09:56
pretty dank the shades were always drawn
09:59
so it was kind of dark in there
10:02
and i remember the furniture being kind
10:04
of sparse
10:05
and there were no pictures i can
10:08
remember
10:09
on the walls but he was kind of fun
10:13
because he would let us smoke his
10:16
cigarettes
10:18
um he had penthouse forum
10:22
magazines there which i don’t know if
10:24
it’s even still made but
10:26
it’s about the size of a reader’s digest
10:30
and i don’t recall there being pictures
10:33
in it but
10:34
um there were dirty stories
10:37
and so we would read the dirty stories
10:40
and some of them were just ridiculous i
10:42
i do remember one specifically i think
10:45
it was one a reader submitted
10:49
and the reader had an ant farm and
10:52
he was sleeping and he woke up and
10:54
having the wet dream of his life and the
10:56
ants had all gotten out and were
10:58
crawling
11:03
so i think even at the time i thought
11:07
that was ridiculous
11:10
but anyway you know things kind of
11:14
progressed
11:15
and um
11:18
at some point he started touching us
11:22
and exposing himself to us
11:25
and we were not always all there at the
11:27
same time you know there could be
11:29
different configurations of the three of
11:31
us there
11:34
um and this went on for about a year or
11:37
a year and a half
11:38
and um you know got a little more
11:43
intense as things progressed and
11:47
um i was going to catholic school at the
11:49
time like i said i was about 11 and so i
11:52
was in about sixth grade
11:54
um so
11:57
[Music]
11:58
i knew that this was wrong and i
12:01
shouldn’t be doing it
12:02
but you know i was a kid and i think i
12:05
had curiosity
12:07
i um maybe some of it felt good
12:10
i was getting some attention which i
12:12
wasn’t really getting at home
12:14
so much because there was so much going
12:16
on with the older kids
12:20
but at a point i just i couldn’t do it
12:22
anymore because i was just
12:24
so anxious and i ended up
12:28
growing up to be an anxious young adult
12:31
i had some anxiety and depression i
12:33
think i you know i functioned quite
12:36
normally i went to school i had friends
12:38
i went out but on the
12:39
inside i i really struggled
12:42
a lot i had a lot of shame and guilt
12:47
and i felt like i had a big secret
12:50
that i just could never tell anyone i
12:53
didn’t tell anyone in my family i was so
12:56
ashamed and i just thought god nobody’s
12:59
nobody would understand nobody’s been
13:01
through this this is just really bad
13:03
what you know and he was eating me up
13:07
inside
13:09
to be quite honest and um
13:14
i even thought about suicide a couple
13:17
you know when i was really feeling down
13:20
that
13:20
i mean luckily i never attempted it or
13:23
anything but that’s
13:24
just the angst that it caused me it was
13:27
like all my emotions were
13:29
tied up in a big ball and i couldn’t
13:33
understand
13:35
them it was only until many years later
13:39
that i
13:39
started to work out the knots of that
13:43
ball
13:43
and and you know
13:47
separate out my emotions and and learn
13:50
to deal with them
13:51
but um
13:54
i was about 21 when i
13:57
one morning i i had an apartment with
14:00
some other friends
14:01
and i woke up one morning
14:05
and while i was in that in between state
14:08
of sleep and wakefulness
14:10
i had this like a voice
14:13
and it was like in my right ear
14:17
and it said all the beauty of the world
14:19
can be found in the human heart
14:23
and it was absolutely a profound
14:26
experience for me i mean it
14:30
came with a flood of feeling and it
14:33
at the time it felt like jesus was
14:35
whispering that in my ear
14:39
and it just totally warmed me and
14:43
because i was i was able to see beauty
14:45
around me in the world you know i would
14:48
ride my bike over the peace bridge to
14:51
canada to the beaches up there by myself
14:53
or
14:54
ride down to the waterfront downtown or
14:58
appreciate the flowers and people’s
15:01
yards and
15:02
whatever but i couldn’t see any beauty
15:04
in myself
15:05
i was just so knotted up with shame and
15:10
guilt
15:12
so it was a bomb for my soul
15:16
you know all the beauty of the world can
15:18
be found in the human heart it was just
15:20
profound like wow
15:21
that’s that’s in me and that’s in
15:24
in everyone and that was the beginning
15:29
of my healing journey
15:32
so thank you for listening
15:35
chelsea rice moved to montana in 2011 to
15:39
join her partner
15:40
and within a year was diagnosed with a
15:42
rare and aggressive bladder cancer
15:45
it was then that she this is
15:48
not what i’m supposed to be reading i’m
15:51
giving away the story
15:53
oh no that’s not true this is what she
15:54
gave me
15:59
she’s an advocate for cancer patients
16:01
teens and misfits is a lover of arts and
16:03
literature
16:04
and writes nonfiction she believes in
16:06
resilience is a survivor and is also a
16:09
crazy bird lady
16:10
please welcome chelsea rice in 2012
16:16
as mark said i was diagnosed with a rare
16:19
and aggressive bladder cancer
16:22
it was october and in the weeks before
16:26
my partner and i had been sitting in the
16:28
capital rotunda
16:30
watching a buddhist monk tap out
16:33
a mandala made of sand and we were there
16:37
for
16:37
multiple days in a row watching this
16:39
beautiful process
16:40
unfold and i’m sure that i don’t
16:45
i’m sure that there was a intention that
16:48
was set for that particular mandala
16:50
perhaps it was compassion but for me i
16:53
just kept thinking
16:55
about impermanence over and over and
16:58
over again
17:01
one of those days we were up there was
17:02
october 5th
17:05
and we were just about a 15th
17:09
dates are really hard to remember when
17:10
you’re about to learn you have cancer
17:14
and we went to go see a urologist over
17:18
at st
17:19
peter’s um
17:23
that day it was a friday at about 4 30
17:27
p.m right before my 35th birthday
17:31
about two weeks before and when a doctor
17:34
tells you to come in on a friday at 4 30
17:36
p.m
17:38
beware
17:42
so from what i remember there was
17:46
my partner and i sitting and waiting and
17:48
i already knew that this was going to be
17:49
a cancer diagnosis but
17:51
when she pulled up the pilogram which is
17:54
basically a
17:54
black and white x-ray that just pulls
17:57
out
17:58
one system of the body and this was my
18:01
kidneys
18:02
my ureters and my bladder and she pulls
18:05
it up on her computer
18:07
and my partner charlie who i’ve been
18:10
with at that time for about
18:12
a decade is sitting next to me
18:16
and before she can even start talking
18:18
about the system as a whole
18:20
i already can see the lump
18:23
the tumor on the side of my bladder and
18:25
everything just
18:26
goes dead silent kind of like charlie
18:29
brown’s teacher
18:29
just but i can
18:33
feel the only thing i can feel is my
18:35
partner’s hand holding my thigh
18:37
just kind of lightly tapping keeping me
18:39
present for
18:41
at least a little bit
18:44
i remember sitting in the parking lot
18:47
after that diagnosis
18:49
thinking how do i go home
18:52
and call my parents how do i
18:55
how do we and i think i even said to my
18:57
partner charlie how does somebody get
18:59
this
19:00
diagnosis and then get in a car and
19:02
drive home
19:04
like how do you do that so i did
19:07
sit on the back porch that day and i
19:09
called my parents and told them
19:10
and delivered this terrible news i think
19:13
what was even more terrible is that the
19:15
bladder cancer
19:16
was a rare cancer that only two percent
19:20
of the diagnoses
19:21
in the united states are the other
19:24
98 are commonly related to
19:29
lifestyle drinking smoking
19:33
working in chemical factories mine was
19:35
due to environmental toxins
19:38
arsenic in groundwater
19:41
that’s a different story though so in
19:44
order to determine a treatment
19:46
for my bladder cancer nobody here has
19:49
the skill really and there are no
19:52
studies to determine how you would treat
19:55
squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder
20:00
so we had to go to a tertiary
20:02
institution
20:04
and what we decided that fall was
20:07
to go over to the mayo clinic what eva
20:10
enzler calls
20:11
cancer town it’s okay you can laugh
20:15
cancer is kind of funny
20:21
we at the time i was teaching part-time
20:23
as an adjunct professor between helena
20:25
college and carroll college
20:26
my partner is a high school teacher so
20:29
we were
20:30
totally making lots of money
20:36
and i was fresh out of graduate school
20:38
so i did not have insurance
20:40
and this is 2012. so
20:44
we didn’t have a whole lot of money so
20:46
we drove on a month after the diagnosis
20:49
we drove up to haver on a frosty
20:52
november day
20:53
to catch the train to rochester
20:57
however have you all been to the haver
21:00
train station it’s
21:03
one room i don’t think this really
21:06
exists but i think that there’s like a
21:08
dilapidated um phone booth on the
21:11
outside maybe by the turning tracks
21:13
yeah and it’s like a clapboard
21:16
exciting that’s all weathered there’s
21:19
like one person who shows up for 30
21:20
minutes and then leaves
21:22
when the train comes in when you depart
21:25
so my partner and i get on the train
21:27
and um you know it boards about midday
21:31
so you drive through
21:32
you go through the night on the train
21:33
and i don’t know if any of you have
21:35
ridden a train lately
21:37
it’s just barely a step above riding a
21:39
greyhound
21:41
just barely it’s cold
21:44
it’s really cold when you if you have a
21:47
seat near the window and you lean up
21:48
against it you can feel the winter
21:50
coming through the vents and against
21:52
your face and
21:54
lots of families in bulk ride with lots
21:56
of kids
21:57
and so it often looks like there’s the
21:59
kids have been like
22:00
licking the glass and then like rubbing
22:04
their snot on it
22:06
it’s pretty spectacular for a sick
22:09
person
22:10
so when we got on i um happened to see
22:13
where the conductors would sit we were
22:14
in the very back train car
22:16
and i noticed that they had lysol wipes
22:18
so i kind of stole a couple
22:20
and like took them to my chair and wiped
22:22
things down i was terrified when your
22:24
immune system is compromised everything
22:26
is scary
22:27
um you know we drove through the night
22:30
and
22:32
it was a solemn ride
22:35
those seats are really uncomfortable
22:37
they don’t go back all the way
22:38
you kind of sit you know scrunched up
22:42
there’s people like yelling there’s
22:44
people getting drunk it’s very noisy
22:46
lots of clamor
22:47
and all i can remember passing through
22:49
the night was going through williston
22:51
and north dakota and seeing the oil
22:54
fields on the horizon
22:56
and they’re really beautiful
22:59
it’s hard to say that but they’re like
23:02
little
23:02
candle wicks like staggered at different
23:05
levels along the horizon they’re
23:06
beautiful
23:08
and the workers from williston were on
23:10
the train with us and i mean
23:11
i’m a liberal i’m crazy liberal of
23:14
course i have a
23:15
same-sex partner um
23:18
and you know i’m pretty just i’m pretty
23:20
concerned about uh
23:22
fracking and oil fields and the workers
23:25
were so pleasant and they were so kind
23:28
and they had these
23:28
really even-keeled conversations with us
23:31
and
23:31
they were just riding the train back to
23:33
their cities
23:35
just trying to feed their families and
23:36
it was really a profound moment talking
23:39
to them
23:40
that night my partner and i had to
23:44
wanted to eat dinner in the dining car
23:45
and if you’ve ever ridden an amtrak
23:47
train
23:48
you don’t get to just sit with you and
23:50
your person they fill the seats up
23:53
and so we sat on one side in the dining
23:56
car
23:57
and amtrak food is very cliche it was
23:59
like pieces
24:01
farmed salmon with like a stick of
24:03
poorly steamed broccoli over it
24:05
you know it was very bland food it
24:08
looked good but it was pretty bland
24:10
but before we started to eat these two
24:12
people they were bringing these two
24:14
people to us
24:15
and i’m not gonna lie again with a
24:18
little bit of judginess
24:19
um there was a tall disheveled looking
24:22
man wearing like
24:24
outdoor gear and a smaller
24:27
woman of some asian
24:30
descent with a gold cross around her
24:34
neck
24:35
and i was like oh man i might have even
24:38
leaned into my partner and said boy
24:40
this is going to be an interesting
24:42
dinner
24:44
and they came and they sat down and
24:46
quite honestly again i don’t
24:48
remember what we talked about it was all
24:49
very superficial
24:51
um but i do remember that
24:54
she had on this really bright floral
24:57
print with like a cardigan and he had on
24:59
a blue columbia coat
25:02
and um it was pleasant we had a great
25:05
meal
25:06
and right at the end he said
25:09
you know what what are you guys doing
25:11
why are you going to minnesota
25:14
i said oh you know i have cancer we’re
25:17
going over there to get another opinion
25:18
and find out what the treatment is
25:20
and she was just immediately like
25:22
empathetic
25:23
and softened oh my god we went
25:26
we went through something similar he you
25:28
know he had prostate cancer
25:30
and you know it was so hard and we just
25:33
will be praying about you we’ll be
25:34
thinking about you and
25:36
you know we’ll our hearts are with you
25:39
and we kind of just tided up dinner and
25:42
said thank you
25:43
and went our separate ways and charlie
25:46
and i we went to the back of the train
25:48
and
25:49
sat down and kind of tried to cozy up
25:51
with those flimsy little amtrak blankets
25:53
and
25:53
get cozy and about an hour passed and
25:57
then we see the two of these people
26:00
walking towards us
26:02
they’re like oh my god we’ve been all
26:04
over this train looking for you
26:06
and trains you know amtrak trains are
26:08
too level
26:09
right you have like upstairs and
26:10
downstairs so these people
26:13
they’re you know they’re up and down
26:15
they’re looking all over for us they
26:16
have their own room
26:18
lucky them you can get a room on an
26:21
amtrak train get one
26:23
but they walk up and say
26:26
you know we just wanted to come see you
26:28
and give you a hug and wish you well
26:29
again and
26:30
we’re like oh thank you you know we got
26:32
up and we gave him big hugs
26:34
and while we were in full embrace both
26:36
of us
26:38
one of the the man shoved something into
26:41
my partner’s
26:42
pocket and the woman shoved something
26:44
into my hand
26:45
and we both pulled back from the hug and
26:48
we knew they had given us money
26:50
i mean it was very clear that they had
26:52
shoved money into our hands
26:54
and we were like oh gosh no no we don’t
26:57
need this we don’t need this at all
26:58
thank you very much
26:59
you know we tried to turn it down once
27:01
right
27:04
generously just once because we really
27:06
we were in a bad spot
27:08
um but no no no
27:11
please take it they said and so we
27:13
thanked them and said we really
27:14
appreciate it you know this is going to
27:16
be a hard time
27:17
off they went and we sat down and
27:20
looked in our pockets and i had two
27:22
hundred dollars in cash and my partner
27:24
had
27:25
a three hundred dollar check in her
27:26
pocket
27:29
um that was one of my first experiences
27:33
during my cancer journey with strangers
27:35
reaching out to us and giving us way
27:36
more than we even thought
27:38
was possible i later because the address
27:42
was on her
27:43
check wrote her thank you card and sent
27:46
it off to seattle where they lived
27:48
and i don’t remember her name and it
27:50
doesn’t matter
27:52
she sent a note back that basically said
27:55
we are so happy to have been able to
27:57
provide for you and you do not have to
27:59
keep up this relationship because of it
28:02
and we wish you well
28:05
[Applause]
28:07
bob yost’s regular daytime career has
28:10
been working with taxes in indiana
28:13
oregon and montana nighttime gib
28:16
gay gigs were spent playing the drums in
28:20
in bands brand x
28:23
jack daniels sodbusters and the last
28:26
resort
28:27
his greatest joys come from his family
28:29
and raising three kids
28:31
please welcome bob yost
28:37
god i love that woman rebecca
28:41
we have great sex
28:45
we do have bizarre arguments
28:48
but really do have great kids i would
28:51
say they are
28:53
they’re very beautifully unique
28:58
as is their mother rebecca she couldn’t
29:00
be here tonight
29:01
she’s an oregon i’ve been married
29:05
38 years
29:10
pretty amazing um i first met rebecca
29:13
and i didn’t actually meet her
29:15
we were both state employees
29:18
and i was sitting just on the other side
29:20
of the cubicle from her
29:22
she was on the other side of the wall i
29:24
could hear her talking
29:27
and she was talking about the new guy
29:30
who had just started work me
29:34
and and it was not very flattering
29:37
whatsoever um
29:41
but just hearing that voice i was so
29:43
intrigued
29:45
she had no i mean there was no filter
29:48
whatsoever
29:49
in whatever she said i learned more
29:52
about my co-workers and my boss
29:55
than i ever would of meeting them
30:01
that was a monday
30:05
the saturday before
30:08
susan who worked downstairs in the same
30:11
department
30:13
she had lived with her parents all her
30:16
life
30:17
that saturday morning she moved into my
30:19
tiny
30:20
little duplex apartment
30:24
that saturday afternoon we were married
30:29
by a pentecostal preacher
30:33
and it was also her
30:36
dad um it was surprising her mom dad got
30:40
that wedding together pretty fast
30:41
we were in a big uh big ceremony
30:44
a lot like this beautiful building and
30:47
just to give you an idea about it
30:49
the four groomsmen and myself
30:53
we are dressed and i’m not exaggerating
30:57
shoe to this
31:00
head to toe in matching rittle
31:04
outfits
31:08
and i was drunker than a skunk
31:12
i mean to the wall because i did not
31:15
love her
31:18
that next saturday in my tiny little
31:21
duplex apartment the phone rings
31:24
now this is way back before any kind of
31:27
cell phone
31:28
you know facts all that stuff right i
31:31
didn’t even
31:32
have an answering machine so my one and
31:35
only
31:36
landline which is attached to the
31:38
kitchen wall
31:40
rings i still love it so funny when you
31:44
think of those old phones right
31:46
rotary it had two
31:49
real metal bells in it with a ringer in
31:51
between
31:54
so i pick it up hello is susan there
31:57
it’s a female voice i say no i’m sorry
32:00
she’s not
32:02
oh is this her husband why yes it is
32:06
oh i hear congratulations are in order
32:10
you’re a newlywed i say thank you very
32:14
much
32:15
she says well this is the nurse from dr
32:19
middleton’s office the tests
32:22
are still all negative
32:26
susan is not pregnant
32:30
yeah i’m an idiot i didn’t see that
32:31
coming i married her because she told me
32:33
she was pregnant
32:35
that evening i was to meet her of course
32:37
her parents
32:39
at her house i show up now this is all
32:42
kind of foggy now
32:45
but i do remember going in the kitchen
32:47
and they’re there with susan i take the
32:48
ring off i set it on the kitchen table
32:50
some things were said
32:52
because it’s come to known i guess they
32:54
knew
32:56
but i didn’t as i am leaving
33:01
susan chases me down
33:04
she goes i can’t believe you did that
33:07
you ruined my mom’s dinner
33:15
needless to say that marriage lasted a
33:17
legal
33:18
90 days
33:21
i’m going back to that little duplex
33:23
apartment to pick up my stuff
33:24
and my brother and my dad come with me
33:26
and my brother he pulls it up and he
33:28
goes
33:29
he’s packing a nine millimeter he goes
33:32
you know just in case we have some
33:34
trouble
33:37
okay george we’re not gonna have any
33:39
trouble
33:40
get inside lo behold there are a few
33:42
things missing
33:43
but thank goodness my pride and joys are
33:46
there i had a
33:48
a big old magnavox tv and it was in a
33:51
wood cabinet man
33:53
and my stereo component system oh god i
33:56
love that thing
33:57
and my brother had made a whole wood
33:59
cabinet you know whole
34:01
records components my turntable you know
34:05
big speakers susan
34:08
had taken a can of spray paint and it
34:10
was
34:13
over everything classic i can laugh
34:16
about it now
34:17
um so we got our stuff loaded up
34:20
and my dad turns to me and god bless you
34:23
dad i love you
34:24
you know that um he turns to me now my
34:28
dad
34:29
loves a a good phrase like you know god
34:32
damn it yeah god damn it
34:34
and he’d use the hell word you know but
34:36
he turns to me and he goes
34:39
that’s the most expensive you’ll
34:41
ever have
34:47
now i will tell you
34:51
that is the only time never again ever
34:54
in my 90-year life with my dad that i
34:56
ever heard him use the f
34:57
word no i didn’t see that coming i’ll
35:00
tell you that um
35:03
fast forward susan out of my life
35:06
luckily rebecca we got married outdoors
35:10
underneath the woods it was glorious
35:12
just perfect wonderful
35:16
day and as i tell this story
35:20
i’m very lucky i’ve had the love of some
35:22
really
35:23
great women in my life for sure
35:28
we got to i got in the car one day
35:32
drove 1750 miles
35:35
from east to west right you know where i
35:36
ended up the mitchell building down next
35:39
to the capitol
35:40
because i had a job interview
35:44
took the interview took the written test
35:46
i did not get the job
35:48
okay two weeks later though another job
35:51
opens up in the same area with the same
35:53
supervisor
35:55
so i got to do it by phone and fax got
35:57
the job
35:58
we’re moving to hell in the montana
36:02
it was glorious pack up the uhaul
36:05
get here and we ran it for a while ended
36:08
up buying five acres out on bird’s eye
36:10
right
36:11
loved it little old trailer that first
36:14
winter
36:14
it hit a 40 below i mean it was 40 below
36:17
and i came into town tonight and i saw
36:20
the ak cafe whatever it’s alaskan cafe
36:22
used to be the red roof cafe remember
36:24
that and they used to have fresh eggs i
36:26
know why because when i used to go to
36:27
breakfast there
36:28
they would serve up a platter of the
36:29
biggest greasy fresh eggs because the
36:31
chickens were right outside the window
36:33
in a pen
36:34
and you know if my wife said hey i’m
36:36
going shopping
36:37
back then it was great oh honey were you
36:39
going
36:41
where was it if you’d been around here a
36:42
while it was the mall or kmart that was
36:45
it
36:45
there was nothing else here loved it
36:48
experience in helena
36:49
was actually a joy i’ll have to say are
36:52
there state employees here tonight
36:55
retired cool yeah i mean because i i’m
36:59
actually one of those
37:01
look at that yeah i so both of those
37:03
women
37:04
i met as state employees so i always
37:07
think that’s
37:08
kind of an interesting you know sidebar
37:10
to it
37:11
and i have to admit that first winter we
37:13
were in a little trailer and i was
37:14
feeding that red stove like crazy
37:16
you know keeping the pipes from freezing
37:18
i think that was my first inclination
37:20
that rebecca probably was not going to
37:22
like montana winners
37:25
at that point so anyway i’m going to
37:27
fast forward to like about chapter 99
37:29
out of all this stuff
37:32
great thing is wonderful kids
37:36
raising them all see them go off
37:40
they’ve done really well for themselves
37:43
and it’s been really nice
37:47
my wife goes you know what we love that
37:49
oregon coast don’t we and i go yeah it’s
37:51
really nice because we go out there to
37:52
visit
37:52
i want to retire there i go that’s cool
37:54
you know i do you know i got
37:56
i gotta wait till retirement health
37:58
insurance oh my god i gotta keep working
38:00
she goes i don’t care i go okay it’s one
38:03
of those yes dear
38:04
um so i go yep we find a little place
38:07
over there she loves it
38:09
and i mean blood sweat and tears we’re
38:10
tearing up stuff out the thing tore off
38:12
walls took out cabinets
38:15
remodeled a bunch of it i mean
38:18
oh gosh all new windows all new
38:20
appliances
38:22
got back had taken the lap what i hope
38:24
was the last 20-foot u-haul
38:27
back from there right because now i live
38:29
in missoula checking the u-haul in
38:32
sunday evening i get a text from her
38:36
i figures for sure it’s going to say oh
38:39
are you out shoveling snow
38:41
because i’m walking on the beach
38:44
she said i’ve been thinking about this a
38:46
while
38:48
okay she’d been to a lawyer’s office
38:52
she told me what the major settlements
38:55
would be
38:56
that i’d be served divorce papers i was
38:59
served divorce papers
39:00
that week at work up front
39:04
but don’t feel sorry for me i’ve been
39:06
very blessed
39:08
you know i didn’t see that coming but
39:10
there’s always two sides to every story
39:12
too
39:14
but thank you
39:30
[Music]
39:40
do
39:42
[Music]
39:53
you
Tricia shares the only story she has about her great grandfather Fred Miller, a schizophrenic who spent his later years in a mental institution in Jamestown, ND. Through this story she traces the mental illness of her family to a place of forgiveness.