by Bob Gardner – written to me in an email 03/14/2007
I was three or four. We lived in a farmhouse in Chugwater, Wyoming. Linda was seven or eight. The rooms were huge. Linda and I ran the length of the house without fear if hitting anything. I recall sitting in my wagon and Linda would push me as fast as she could and we would scream from room to room; through large doorways and into the living room. Mom and Dad would laugh as the dogs would run and bark at us while we ran. I remember worrying about smashing in to the large glass doors in the house but it never happened.
Nothing bad ever seemed to have happened there. We had no running water; only a well with a pump out front which we used for dishes. I remember more than once men waking through our property and asking for a drink from our well, Mom would let them drink [from the well], but for our drinking water, we would walk for what seemed like miles down to the clear spring near the river which ran out back behind our house. We dipped water out of the clear spring and brought it home in large gallon jars that Mom brought home from the restaurant she worked at. The water then had to be boiled for drinking.
I loved that house. Dad would come home, and Linda, Mom and I would go to the river and swim. (Well, I would wade.) Linda would paddle and Mom and Dad would swim. I felt very protected there. Mom was happy. Dad was normal and Linda and I were the best of friends.
One day the river ran dry and the fish in the river lay there dead and dying. We had to move, and left what seemed to me to be a paradise behind.