A Path Less Taken
By: Lois Requist
I went to Datil, New Mexico, population 75, to meet my friend, Anne. When I called to say I’d arrived, she said, “Go into the café. We’ll leave your vehicle. We’ll drive here together in mine.” I was traveling alone in an RV.
The woman at the café knew Anne; they did emergency preparedness training together. Anne is a fire fighter, a member of the search and rescue team, and on the county arts council.
Before long, Anne, a white-haired lady in a big, winter coat came. She’d grown up in New York City, where she was a stage manager for many years, working with, among others, Angela Lansbury and Lena Horne. A graduate of Smith College, she’d traveled around the world in the 1950s.
Where did Anne live now? A mile or so up a dirt road. It was mud season. We slipped and slid through water and mud to reach her home, a large four-bedroom house built in 1928 of hand-hewn logs.
“It’s the tightest house I’ve ever lived in,” she said.
Eighteen years into her Datil sojourn, she didn’t miss New York City, though she still likes to go and visit.
Anne’s an only child and never married.
“I always knew I wouldn’t,” she said. “I watched a movie when I was a kid. There was a woman who didn’t marry and lived this great life. I always thought that would be me.”
Her boon companion was her dog, Sylvia. They wrote a weekly column for the local paper.
“Sylvia has opinions on everything,” Anne said.
Her house was stuffed with books, pictures, papers, and a collection of over 200 bears. She subscribed to the Sunday New York Times. A stack of New Yorkers awaited reading. I read contentment all over her.